What Do I Do About UST Releases?
You need to call your state or local regulatory authority and report suspected leaks. Then find out quickly if these suspected leaks are actual leaks using the following investigative steps:
- Conduct tightness testing of the entire UST system.
- Check the site for additional information on the presence and source of contamination.
You must respond quickly to any evidence of leaked petroleum that appears at or near your site. Your response to confirmed releases comes in two stages: short-term and long-term.
- Take immediate action to stop and contain the release.
- Report the release to the regulatory authority within 24 hours. However,
petroleum spills and overfills of less than 25 gallons do not have to be
reported if you immediately contain and clean up these releases.
- Make sure the release poses no immediate hazard to human health and
safety by removing explosive vapors and fire hazards. Your fire
department should be able to help or advise you with this task. You must
also make sure you handle contaminated soil properly so that it poses no
hazard (for example, from vapors or direct contact).
- Remove petroleum from the UST system to prevent further release into the
- Find out how far the petroleum has moved and begin to recover the leaked
petroleum (such as product floating on the water table). Report your
progress and any information you have collected to the regulatory authority
no later than 20 days after confirming a release.
- Investigate to determine if the release has damaged or might damage the environment. This investigation must determine the extent of contamination both in soils and groundwater. You must report to the regulatory authority what you have learned from an investigation of your site according to the schedule established by the regulatory authority. At the same time, you must also submit a report explaining how you plan to clean up the site. Additional site studies may be required.
Based on the information you have provided, the regulatory authority will decide if you must take further action at your site. You may need to develop and submit a Corrective Action Plan that shows how you will meet requirements established for your site by the regulatory authority. Also, make sure you implement the steps approved by the regulatory authority for your site.