Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. Air Force, New Jersey Air National Guard, and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service also will pay a penalty of $115,000 for the violations. The military installed proper corrosion protection, overfill protection and lead-detection equipment, and it has improved annual testing and record-keeping at the 20 federally regulated tank systems it uses to store fuel for vehicles at the base.
Underground storage tanks historically have been the nation’s number one source of groundwater contamination, with more than 30,000 leaks and spills from tanks reported annually. Tanks range in capacity from a few hundred to 50,000 or more gallons. They store gasoline, diesel, heating oil and other fuels, waste oil, and hazardous substances at gas stations, marinas, government facilities, and large industrial sites. Petroleum releases can contaminate drinking water from groundwater sources, making them unsafe or unpleasant to drink. Releases also can cause fire and explosion hazards and produce short- and long-term health effects.
The EPA regulations require owners and operators to maintain underground storage tanks to avoid releases into the environment. The regulations also require owners and operators to clean up leaks to restore and protect groundwater resources and to provide a safe environment for those who live or work around these sites.
For more information about EPA’s underground storage tank program, click here.