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Working Paper: Prevention, Cleanup, and Reuse Benefits From the Federal UST Program

Paper Number: 2014-05

Document Date: 11/2014

Author(s): Robin R. Jenkins, Dennis Guignet and Patrick J. Walsh

Subject Area(s): Motor Fuels

Keywords: human health benefit; ecological benefit; aesthetic improvement; recreational improvement; increased land productivity

Abstract: The EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) was created in 1985 to implement a new federal program to prevent, detect, and clean up releases from USTs. A wide variety of social benefits are associated with the regulatory program, running the gamut from health and ecosystem improvements to better aesthetics and increased land productivity. Not all the benefit categories are applicable to all UST sites; indeed, the nature and magnitude of relevant benefits can vary significantly and should be considered case-by-case. This paper describes the regulatory program and the population of regulated systems and facilities. It provides a detailed qualitative description of the social benefits possible from prevention and remediation of UST releases, and from reuse of formerly contaminated (or potentially contaminated) UST sites. Finally, four brief case studies of UST release sites are presented to illustrate the diversity of contamination events and associated social benefits.

This paper is part of the Environmental Economics Working Paper Series.

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