$197 M Targets Cleanup of Petroleum USTs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will distribute $197 million to assess and clean up underground storage tank petroleum leaks, according to an April 8 press release. The funds for this were appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The agency estimates that the project will create or retain significant numbers of jobs and contribute to at least 1,600 cleanups around the country.

“We’re providing immediate growth opportunities for communities across the nation, as well as long-term protection from dangerous pollution in the land and water,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The greatest potential hazard from a leaking underground storage tank is that the petroleum or other hazardous substances seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, which is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans.

The funds will be used for overseeing the assessment and cleanup of leaks from underground storage tanks or directly paying for assessment and cleanup of leaks from federally regulated tanks where the responsible party is unknown, unwilling, unable, or the cleanup is an emergency response.

States and territories will get $190.7 million of the total funding in the form of cooperative agreements to address shovel-ready sites within their jurisdictions. EPA will use $6.3 million of the total funding to assess and clean up shovel-ready sites in Indian country.

EPA regional underground storage tank programs will enter into cooperative agreements with states and territories in spring 2009. These cooperative agreements will include more detailed descriptions of state spending plans.

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