May 13, 2021

Leaky Underground Storage Tanks

Leaks in an underground storage tank can be environmentally dangerous and may result in costly fines and repairs, therefore it is important to be aware of the causes.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: A Costly Predicament

A leaking underground storage tank (UST) presents significant challenges for any company. The financial burden extends beyond the repair or replacement of the tank itself, encompassing substantial expenses for cleanup efforts and the potential for state or federal legal actions. Shockingly, some businesses may have USTs on their premises without even realizing it. As defined by federal law, an underground storage tank is any tank with just 10% of its full mass buried below ground. This means that even partially buried tanks could be subject to legal scrutiny.

Causes of Leaky Underground Storage Tanks

While environmental factors like earthquakes or landslides can lead to a leaky UST, corrosion is the most common culprit. This is particularly true for USTs installed before the mid-1980s, as they offered minimal protection against corrosion.

Consequences of Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

The consequences of a leaking UST are substantial and can include:

  1. Repair Costs: The expense of repairing a leaking UST can range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on factors such as the tank's size, age, and the source of the leak.
  2. Cleanup Costs: Cleanup expenses vary widely based on the extent of contamination, ranging from $10,000 to over $1,000,000 for a single tank, with an average cost of approximately $130,000.
  3. Legal Fines: Penalties for UST violations differ from state to state, but at the federal level, companies may face fines of up to $37,500 per day for non-compliance.
  4. Customer Relations Backlash: In today's environmentally conscious society, news of a leaking UST and its associated environmental concerns can severely damage a company's reputation and customer relations.

Preventing Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

Fortunately, several methods can help prevent the occurrence of a leaky UST, saving your company valuable time, effort, and financial resources. Common prevention methods include:

  1. Cathodic Protection: This technique involves installing sacrificial metal to bear the brunt of corrosion, thus safeguarding the UST.
  2. Carbon Fiber Lining and Wrapping: Utilizing carbon fiber, either by lining the inside or wrapping the outside of an underground storage tank, offers reinforcement and a non-corrosive barrier.

HJ3's Expert Solutions

HJ3's experienced and certified technicians are well-equipped to help you avert the costly and embarrassing consequences of a leaking UST. If your USTs have already begun to leak, we offer expert repair services. For dependable and proven protection, contact HJ3 today.

Don't let a leaking underground storage tank compromise your business. Trust HJ3 for reliable solutions that safeguard your investments and environmental responsibilities.


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