Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

30th Anniversary of the Underground Storage Tank Program

November 8, 2014 marks 30 years since Congress created the national underground storage tanks (UST) program by adding Subtitle I to the Solid Waste Disposal Act.  Over that time, the UST program’s dedicated partners have made continuous progress in protecting our groundwater and land from underground storage tank leaks.  EPA and our state, territorial, tribal, and industry partners work to prevent releases, detect leaks early, and clean up leaks when they do occur.    

Gasoline and other fuels keep our cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats moving; but when fuel is not properly contained, it presents a hazard to the environment and people living nearby.  Even a small amount of petroleum released from underground storage tanks can contaminate groundwater, which is a source of drinking water for approximately 50 percent of U.S. citizens.

As of September 2014, approximately 571,000 active underground storage tanks at 205,000 facilities nationwide store petroleum and other fuel products.  Underground storage tanks are located in every community:  at gas stations and other non-retail facilities, such as school district bus fueling stations, police and fire stations, marinas, taxi fleet facilities, postal and delivery service facilities, and federal facilities such as military bases. 

See UST Performance Measures for data about the number of active and closed tanks, releases confirmed, cleanups initiated and completed, facilities in compliance with UST requirements, and inspections. 

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