A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details concerns over corrosion in diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), which can impact tank system components and potentially lead to releases and groundwater contamination.
The report examines EPA inspections of 42 USTs, 35 of which featured moderate or severe corrosion. But while 83 percent of the tanks exhibited corrosion, less than 25 percent showed any signs of it before the internal inspection. The EPA’s data cannot be extrapolated to estimate rates of corrosion in USTs throughout the country, but the agency is using the report as an opportunity to make diesel fuel UST owners aware of the potential for and risks of corrosion in their tanks.
The EPA states that moderate or severe corrosion can harm components inside the USTs, whether they are steel or fiberglass tanks, and cause equipment failure. This includes release detection and prevention equipment, meaning that corrosion can lead to releases of diesel fuel which can then make its way into the local groundwater, the source of nearly half of all American’s drinking water.
While scientific evidence has not definitively determined the cause of corrosion in diesel fuel USTs, the EPA is working with industry and scientific partners to further knowledge on the subject.