Leaking Underground Storage Tank

Leaking Underground Storage Tank

A leaking underground storage tank (LUST) occurs when a fuel product is released from an underground storage tank (UST). The fuel can contaminate surrounding soil, pollute ground or surface water, and affect air quality. Early detection of the leak is crucial to begin the clean-up process and avoid excessive contamination. Once a fissure is discovered, it is vital to determine the source and extent of the leak and address it immediately.

The initial response is aimed at ensuring public safety and protecting the environment. Depending on your state’s laws, there are specific regulations and protocols for a response. Clean Fuels Associates has years of experience and understands government policies. Our team can assist you through all stages.

How is a leak determined?

  • A leak or release can be detected in many ways. Many tanks are equipped with detection equipment which may signal a release, or detect unexplained water in the tank.
  • Sometimes leaks are detected through a fuel delivery.
  • A release may be discovered during tank upgrades or replacements.
  • Inventory control may alert to a leak as well.

How is a leak officially confirmed?

  • There is a systematic procedure to confirm a leak has occurred. Recording the process for official documentation is crucial.
  • Make sure all sensors are indeed fully operational, and not malfunctioning.
  • Check all fuel delivery receipts and compare to inventory and usage.
  • After all equipment and paperwork are inspected, test the tightness of the UST system using government and industry acceptable methods. Tank tightness is an indication of leaks, including very small or slow leaks.

Who must be notified when a leak occurs?

The owner and operator of the underground storage tank are the party responsible for investigating, confirming, and informing the authorities of all suspected releases within 24 hours, or the time determined by your state regulations.

It is the responsibility of your facility to record and maintain all records to allow consultants, contractors and regulators access to the information.

What is the response protocol for a leak?

Once you have confirmed the leak, immediate response actions must be taken to minimize or eliminate the source, and reduce the risk of harm to human health, safety, and the environment. Clean Fuels Associates will ensure to adhere to all state requirements to ensure your facility is compliant with all regulations.
Immediate responses may include removing flammable or explosive materials from the area.
Preventing discharges to stormwater utilities, wetlands, and surface waters, as well as ventilation of indoor areas to prevent asphyxiation.

How is the release cleaned up?

  • The cleanup process must be by a state certified tank removal contractor.
  • The first step is to remove the underground storage tank, as a leak is unable to be repaired.
  • All surrounding soil is inspected and tested, and reported to the state.
  • The next step will determine whether the groundwater is also contaminated.
  • All the polluted soil will be dug out and removed, and tested to ensure the area is free of contamination.
  • If the tank is being replaced, it will be installed.
  • On-site inspection performed to verify state remediation regulations and compliance.
  • Once certified, the area will be filled in with clean backfill.
  • The contractor will file state paperwork and obtain an official certification.

The best way to prevent and have early detection is regular tank maintenance. If you suspect that you have a leaking underground storage tank, contact Clean Fuels Associates today. Our expert team of professionals can assist you through every stage of the process from detection to remediation.