Equity, Sustainability and Resilience

Environmental Justice and Equitable Reinvestment

National Leaking Underground Storage Tank Backlog Project

Situation

Across the United States, leaking underground storage tanks are a significant threat to groundwater resources. Thirty-nine states and territories have identified LUSTs as a major source of groundwater contamination. As of March 2016, there have been over 529,000 releases from these tanks nationwide; about 72,000 of them have not yet been cleaned up. These releases make up what is referred to as the cleanup backlog.

Solution

Skeo worked with EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks and 14 state underground storage tank agencies to analyze tank data 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. We then used statistical techniques to detect data patterns and identify the traits most commonly associated with older cleanups. Findings are presented in a series of reports available on EPA’s website.

 

Outcomes

EPA gained a better understanding of the backlog and site characteristics that can 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 of state underground storage tank programs.

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt