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Why buildings with underground storage tanks need to be properly handled and managed?

Why buildings with underground storage tanks need to be properly handled and managed?

Underground storage tanks are a necessity. They are better than most overground storage tanks due to their capacity and due to their ability to supply water and other liquids to a whole building. Overhead storage tanks do work but their capacity is usually limited. This is why underground storage tanks turn out to be the best.

But there is a problem. Unused underground storage tanks having some sort of chemicals stored in them not being used need to be cleared. A potential leak coming from the storage tank spells disaster.

It can reduce the property’s value. Numerous construction claims experts in the Middle East and North America explain that the removal process of underground storage tanks is not as easy as it seems.

A lot of buildings only have lined areas with bricks and cement/concrete, and then labeled them as tanks. Construction claims have addressed numerous concerns and questions regarding the potential environmental hazards they posed. Underground storage tanks (USTs) need to be removed carefully because removing them improperly is an environmental hazard.

What will be discussing here?

This post will discuss the process of removing a UST properly along with managing buildings having these tanks. It will also discuss compliance with regulatory reporting requirements regarding UST management and removal.

Should an unused underground storage tank (UST) be properly emptied?

Unused underground storage tanks (USTs) are rarely emptied. They are only worth using if they are properly installed and are in proper working conduction. As their condition goes down, they start leaking fluids. Water tanks are not a problem but tanks carrying sewerage and other harmful chemicals can become an envinronmental liability.

There are inherent dangers associated with the process for removal of waste from USTs as well as removing these tanks too. Releasing contaminants and contaminated liquid into the environment can be a problem. This is why numerous environmental and regulatory bodies across the world decided to issue regulations and ask for licensing requirements to ensure these tanks are removed properly.

A little bit about Underground storage tanks 

What are they?

Underground storage tanks (USTs) are used for storing water and various liquids, especially chemicals, petroleum products and other hazardous materials underground. USTs are often made of either fiberglass or steel. They also range in sizes ranging from a few hundred gallons to several millions of them.

A key advantage of having them

A key advantage of having an underground storage tank is that it helps protect these materials from weathering, evaporation as well as leakage into groundwater. However, these tanks can also be difficult to clean up. Their clean up costs are also massive, especially if they leak. Hence it is key to have them inspected and maintained by professionals regularly.

Why should underground storage tanks and systems be regulated?

Underground storage tanks and systems are regulated heavily. They are sadly a threat to the environment. These tanks are often used for storing petroleum products and chemicals. If they leak into the ground, they can contaminate the soil and groundwater, plus other water resources.

Additionally, leaking USTs can also release harmful vapors into the environment. The air becomes a health risk to residents nearby. As a result, the state and federal governments of numerous countries across the world have enacted strict rules and regulations, pertaining to the construction, operation and maintenance of underground tanks and storage systems.

Such regulations are able to help reduce the chances of a leak. They even ensure that any and all leakes are detected and fixed, quickly and accordingly. Protection of envrionmental resources helps these regulations keep our communities healthy and safe.

Are underground storage tanks and systems regulated?

In 1984, the United States Congress ordered the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations for underground storage tanks. The federal government further issued the directive effectively in December 1988 that delegated the regulatory authroties overseeing construction and maintenance of storage tanks to pre-approved state programs instead.

States are primarly responsible for executing the UST program. Also, their requirements can be more stringent in comparison to federal legislation.

Each underground tank and storage system should be able to meet requirements of the United States EPA – Yes or No?

Here are some tanks which are not subject to regulations of the US EPA:

  • Tanks holding motor fuel which are of less than or equal to 1,110 gallons and are used for non-commcercial puirposes on farms or in residential areas.
  • Those for heating oil used on properties where the tanks are present.
  • Tanks which are on the floor or above it in underground areas (basements, tunnels).
  • Septic tanks used for collecting either stormwater, or wastewater (or both).
  • Process thanks having a flow-through mechanism.
  • Tanks having a capacity of less than or equal to 110 gallons.
  • Emergency overfill and spill tanks.

Some local and state authorities however do have rules about such kind of tanks. Those who have these kinds of tanks in their homes, businesses, warehouses or buildings, they should immediately search for the local, municipal, county and state regulations regarding these tanks.

Main reasons for removing underground storage tanks

There are various reasons for removing underground storage tanks.Project advisory professionals state the following as common causes of removing them:

Out of use tanks

At times, property owners dfo not use their underground storage tanks anymore. Perhaps their business does not require the use of such a tank anymore. At times a new tank is made, added and put into use, putting the old one in neglect, yet underground. Unusable tanks are a threat to the environment. It is wise to get them removed.

Tank replacement

Some old underground storage tanks need removal because they’re not only obsolete but also have crossed their lifespan. Bringing them into compliance with updated regulations is not an easy job. Newer regulations state that new age underground tanks need to have two to three walls. They are in line with modern regulatory requirements.

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