Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Backlog Project

EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks

Nationwide

Situation

Across the United States, leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) are a significant threat to ground water resources. In surveys of state water programs, 39 states and territories identified LUSTs as a major source of ground water contamination. As of September 2010, nearly 495,000 releases from LUSTs have occurred nationwide, more than 93,000 of which are yet to be cleaned up. These releases make up what is referred to as the cleanup backlog.

Solution

While working under contract for EPA's Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST), Skeo Solutions worked with EPA and 14 state underground storage tank agencies to analyze data on LUSTs and identify opportunities to reduce the cleanup backlog. This project involved the compilation of states’ storage tank data, identification and resolution of data quality issues, and development of user-friendly databases. Skeo then used various multivariate statistical techniques to detect patterns within the underlying data and identify the traits most commonly associated with older LUST cleanups. Findings are presented in a series of publicly available reports, which are available on EPA's website.

Outcome

As a result of this project, EPA gained a better understanding of the national cleanup backlog and the site characteristics that tend to slow the pace of cleanup. EPA will use this information to collaborate with states and EPA regions to develop strategies to reduce the backlog and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state underground storage tank programs.

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