Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years
Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks Begins
In 1983, CBS’s 60 Minutes aired a story titled “Check the Water,” which focused national attention to families suffering from the effects of a leak of gasoline or heating oil from an Underground Storage Tank (UST). Even a small amount of petroleum released from a UST can contaminate groundwater, which is the drinking water source for many Connecticut residents. Connecticut regulations for USTs became effective on November 1, 1985. The regulations were designed to prevent new releases and clean up existing releases in order to help safeguard our states drinking water supply and protect the overall environment.
Since Connecticut’s regulations became effective, more than 33,000 USTs have been removed from service as they no longer met the requirements of the law. Prior to the regulations, the majority of USTs were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time and allow UST contents to leak into the environment. Tanks are now made out of fiberglass or steel that is specially treated to make it suitable for underground use. Faulty installation or inadequate operating and maintenance procedures also can cause USTs to release their contents into the environment. To date, thousands of leaking UST sites have been cleaned up and restored.
Future challenges faced by Connecticut in protecting human health and the environment from releases from USTs include, assuring that USTs have protective, functioning release prevention technologies in place and that UST owners and operators understand how to handle malfunctions of these systems. To that end, Connecticut has proposed enhancements to the UST regulations to ensure protection from UST releases and well trained UST owners and operators.
What You Can Do To Help
If you see or suspect a release from a UST, make a report to DEP immediately by calling
860-424-3338 or Toll Free 1-866-DEP-SPIL (1-866-337-7745) 24 hours per day.