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An underground storage tank UST is defined as any one or a combination of tanks that have 10 percent or more of their volume below the surface of the ground in which they are installed This definition includes the tank connected underground piping underground ancillary equipment and containment system Further this definition specifically pertains to UST systems that contain regulated substances such as solvents methanol and ethylene glycol anti-freeze State and local UST programs began submitting information about their tank populations in 1988 On the average approximately 30000 new releases are reported each yearIn 1984 Congress directed the US EPA to develop regulations underground storage tank systems Many USTs are subject to both Federal and State regulations EPAs Office of Underground Storage Tanks developed the Federal Regulations which delegate UST regulatory authority to approved State programs States with approved programs operate with the Federal regulations There are currently 24 states with approved UST programs In a few instances Federal regulations prior to 1984 did not address underground storage tanks UST systems The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act RCRA of 1976 regulated only tanks containing hazardous wastes not tanks storing petroleum or hazardous products The Clean Water Act CWA of 1972 required owners of large underground tanks greater than 42000 gallons to take certain measures to prevent corrosion and to test tanks periodically These requirements however applied only to those tanks that were potentially direct sources of pollution into navigable waters Because releases from USTs generally contaminated only groundwater and usually affect surface water only indirectly the CWA could not be used as a general basis for regulating most USTs The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 commonly known as Superfund authorized EPA to respond whenever a hazardous substance is released into the environment Superfund however cannot be used to respond to releases from UST systems because petroleum is specifically excluded from the list of hazardous substances defined under CERCLA The Office of
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