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Underground storage tanks: regulations and the law

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Environmental Law |

Underground storage tanks, or USTs, provide a storage vessel for hazardous materials, including gasoline, ethanol or diesel fuels, buried below the ground and out of sight. While USTs are an effective, space-saving solution for companies storing large amounts of volatile substances, they pose certain risks to individuals and communities alike.

Without adequate compliance with state and federal regulations, USTs may leak and pollute the surrounding environment. Should this happen, the owner or operator may face legal action.


Those who own and maintain responsibility for an underground storage tank must adhere to specific training, storage, maintenance and cleanup requirements to prevent ground and soil pollution. The care and keeping of a UST must meet minimum standards outlined in federal law. These include:

  • Appointment and training of designated Class A, B and C operators
  • Installation of secondary containment features
  • Interstitial monitoring for all tanks and components
  • Periodic testing requirements
  • Approved corrosion protection
  • Environmental monitoring for release detection
  • Mandatory notification and reporting of maintenance and testing

If a UST does not meet compliance standards, an enforcement agency may intervene.

Your community

Regulations around USTs exist for public safety. Whether a tank failed a compliance check, environmental testing demonstrates pollution or disclosure requirements are not met, governing bodies get involved.

Though these fail-safes exist in the interest of community safety, alleged instances of non-compliance often grow complex when the matter becomes a legal issue.

Understanding these regulations, as well as how to evidence gather environmental evidence for a case, can halt harmful operations in communities with underground storage tanks.