What to Do About UST Releases?

Posted On: July 29, 2018

UST releases and leaks can lead to serious environmental and health issues. If you think a tank has sprung leaks, the first thing you need to do is report the incident to the implementing agency. After that, you should look for the source of the leaks by following these steps:

  • Check how tight the entire UST system is.
  • Check for the source of the contamination.

A quick response will help you respond quickly to any information you get about the leaks that appear on or offsite. Some of the short term actions you can take to prevent bigger problems include the following:

  • Ensure that the leaks do not pose any danger to human health and safety by isolating fire hazards such as vapors. Contact your local fire department to figure out what actions you can take.
  • Take immediate steps to stop the leaks.
  • Report the release within 24 hours to the implementing agency other than releases that are less than 25 gallons. You can get those cleaned up and don’t have to report them either.
  • Remove all petroleum products from the UST site to prevent more leaks.
  • Figure out how far the leak has moved and start recovery processes.

How to Tell if a Release Has Occurred?

Quick reactions can help you prevent them from becoming bigger issues. Here are some signs you should be wary of:

  • You smell the product in the tanks or see an oily patch near the facility.
  • You get complaints of the presence of vapors in the basement or about drinking water that tastes like petroleum.
  • The dispensing pump starts behaving strangely.
  • You get test results that reveal a leak in the system.

If you think the tanks have sprung a leak, the first thing you need to do is let your local implementing agency know about it. In case the tank is present in Indian Country, you need to get in touch with the EPA Regional UST program office. The faster you take action, the more you can do to reduce threats to human safety. Quick action on your part can also reduce the costs that can result from the leak part of which will go into cleanup activities.  

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