How To Effectively Recover Free Product At Leaking Underground Storage Tank Sites - A Guide For State Regulators

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Over 315,000 releases from leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) were reported by state and local environmental agencies as of March 19961. EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) anticipates that at least 100,000 additional releases will be confirmed in the next few years as tank owners and operators comply with the December 22, 1998, deadline for upgrading, replacing, or closing substandard USTs. Each release represents a potential threat to human health and the environment, appropriate remedial steps must be taken to assess the risk and minimize the impact. The Federal regulations (40 CFR 280.64) state that at UST sites where investigations indicate the presence of free product, owners and operators must remove free product to the maximum extent practicable as determined by the implementing agency. Typically, the implementing agency is represented by the state environmental agency or local fire prevention office. Where the threat is imminent (e.g., seepage of free product into basements or parking garages) an appropriate reponse would be immediate emergency action to prevent explosion or fire. Even where the consequences of the release are not immediately hazardous (e.g., contamination of groundwater resources) expeditious recovery of free product will contribute to minimizing the costs and time required for effective corrective action.

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