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Basic Information About The Underground Storage Tank Program

In 1985, EPA created the Office of Underground Storage Tanks to carry out a Congressional mandate to develop and implement a regulatory program for underground storage tank (UST) systems. EPA works with its state, territorial, and tribal partners to prevent and clean up releases from UST systems. For the legislative history of the UST program, see "What Is The History Of The Federal Underground Storage Tank Program?"

What Is An Underground Storage Tank System?

An underground storage tank system is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply to only underground tanks and piping storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

Who Implements The UST Program?

The underground storage tank program is primarily implemented by states and territories. Your first point of contact is the state or territorial regulatory agency that has jurisdiction where the USTs are physically located. See state and territorial UST program offices for a list of contacts.

If you have a question that involves USTs in Indian Country, contact your EPA regional office. EPA has responsibility for, and authority over, USTs in Indian Country.

How Do Underground Storage Tanks Affect Groundwater?

Leaking underground storage tank systems pose a significant threat to groundwater quality in the United States. It has been reported that groundwater supplies drinking water to approximately 50 percent of the nation's overall population and 99 percent of the population in rural areas. The following resources provide information about underground storage tanks and groundwater.

EPA's 2008 Report on the Environment
2008 report about recent trends in human health and the environment

National Water Quality Inventory 2000 Report
2000 report prepared under Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. See Chapter 6 for information about ground water quality and underground storage tanks.

The Ground Water Report to the Nation: A Call to Action (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer (164 pp, 15.7MB, About PDF)
2007 report from the Ground Water Protection Council. Section 7 addresses groundwater and underground storage tanks

Where Is More Information Available?

This Web site provides accurate and frequently updated information relevant to the federal underground storage tank program. An overview of the program as well as program facts, an alphabetical subject index, and links to more information related to underground storage tanks may be particularly helpful in learning about the UST program.

Need More Information?

EPA's Underground Storage Tank Program Directory provides contact information for EPA headquarters and regional personnel as well as contact information for state and territory programs. A list of headquarters staff and our addresses is available at Contact Us.

EPA's Underground Storage Tank Indian Country Program Directory provides information about tribal UST program contacts, tribal UST contacts with federal credentials, EPA headquarters tribal UST contacts, EPA regional UST/LUST offices, and UST technical assistance contacts for tribes.


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