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Underground Storage Tanks - Summary

Experience has shown that the filling and use of underground tanks for the storage of hazardous materials such as petroleum may result in the accidental release of the stored material. A number of studies have found that approximately 50% of all underground storage systems begin to degrade and fail within fifteen years after installation. Furthermore, tanks with a smaller volume and constructed of a lower gauge or thickness of steel tend to fail sooner than larger thicker tanks. The release of hazardous materials by these tanks may adversely impact the local environment by contaminating local soils, groundwater, and surface water. These impacts may create public health issues while also establishing state and federal regulatory responsibility and liability for the tank owner. As the owner and operator of underground storage tanks, it is imperative that we properly monitor and manage these systems to prevent the release of hazardous materials so that we can protect the health of the local citizenry and environment, and avoid unnecessary regulatory costs.

prepared by Todd H. Dresser, Environmental Engineer
(formerly of)
Burlington Board of Health, 29 Center Street, Burlington, MA 01803


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