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Gas Stations


This Industry Profile Fact Sheet is presented by the EPA Region 3 to assist state, local, and municipal agencies, and private groups in the initial planning and evaluation of sites being considered for remediation, redevelopment or reuse. It is intended to provide a general description of site conditions and contaminants which may be encountered at specific industrial facilities. This fact sheet is presented for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a federal policy or directive.


The largest concern in assessing a gas station is the presence of underground storage tanks containing old gasoline products which could contaminate sub-surface soils and groundwater. These storage tanks, and the lines used to transfer the fuels to the pumps, may erode over time and begin to leak. If the station also provided automotive service, it may also have small containers of various lubricants, degreasers, cleaners, fuel additives, tires, automotive batteries (lead and acids) and possibly compressed gas cylinders.


The main product, gasoline, is brought in by bulk transport (tank truck) and stored in large underground storage tanks (UST) for transfer to the pumping stations. Small containers of materials used to service automobiles is often stored in the garage or storage areas and are often purchased in large quantity, depending on the size of the service center. Below is a list of some materials often found in a gas station with a small service center:

(g) - gas (L) - liquid (s) - solid


The primary environmental hazard involves fuel contamination of subsurface soils and groundwater. This contamination is usually caused by leaking USTs or a long history of minor spills, leaks and tank overflows.

On-site dumping was common prior to the promulgation and enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). Common waste products encountered at Superfund assessment and remediation projects include waste oils, used solvents, old automotive batteries, tires and/or rubber sealing agents, oil sludges, compressed gas cylinders of acetylene and oxygen, volatile organic contaminated soil and groundwater and unused raw materials.

Additionally, contaminated buildings, concrete pads and the associated demolition debris may be encountered at abandoned or inactive sites. Decontamination and wipe testing of this material may be required prior to off-site landfill disposal.


All raw materials encountered on-site should be visually identified and confirmed using immuno-assay, qualitative indicators, or wet chemistry field screening techniques. It should be noted that many of the raw materials containing organic solvents and any compressed gases may represent a significant flammability, direct contact, and/or inhalation hazard to assessment personnel. Visually identified contaminated areas and pressurized containers should be characterized by collecting several samples for laboratory analysis. Surface and subsurface soil sampling should be performed from the suspected contaminated areas outward to the suspected clean areas. Once the primary contaminated areas are established, grid or random sampling may be performed to confirm the suspected clean areas. The application of non-intrusive subsurface geophysics should be evaluated to detect underground burial pits and underground storage tanks.

On-site and local wells may be sampled if groundwater is an environmental concern. Installation of monitoring wells or other groundwater sampling techniques should be evaluated if it is necessary to fill data gaps.


Diesel Range Organics (DRO)

Gasoline Range Organics (GRO)

Heavy Metals Analysis:

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization

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