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How Can I Choose A Leak Detection Method And Make Sure It Works?

In 2015, EPA revised the underground storage tank (UST) regulations.

2015 Requirement: Beginning on April 11, 2016, when owners and operators install or replace tanks and piping, that equipment must be secondarily contained and monitored for releases using interstitial monitoring. Interstitial monitoring will work for secondarily contained tanks and piping because there is a space between the primary and secondary containment areas that can be monitored for leaks. More information about the secondary containment requirements can be found here.

For UST systems installed before April 11, 2016, there is no one leak detection system that is best for all sites, nor is there a particular type of leak detection that is consistently the least expensive. Each leak detection method has unique characteristics. For example, vapor detection devices work rapidly and most effectively in porous soils, while liquid detectors are only appropriate for areas with a high water table.

Identifying the best leak detection choice for your UST depends on a number of factors including cost (both initial installation cost and long-term operation and maintenance cost), facility configuration (such as complexity of piping runs and manifolded tanks), groundwater depth, soil type, seasonal rainfall and temperature ranges, availability of experienced installers, and other variables.

You should look around extensively for experienced, professional vendors and installers of leak detection. Ask questions that help you find the most reliable, cost-effective leak detection for your type of facility. Some possible information sources are: references from fellow UST owners, oil marketers, equipment suppliers, trade journals, trade associations, state and local trade associations (especially those for petroleum marketers and UST owners), and state and local regulatory authorities. EPA maintains a List of State and Territorial UST Programs on this website.

And once you have chosen your leak detection method, you must operate and maintain (O&M) it so that it functions correctly week after week. Good O&M of your UST system and its multiple parts can help you avoid leaks.

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