Aboveground Oil Storage Tanks:

Status of EPA's Efforts to Improve Regulation and Inspections

RCED-95-180: Published: Jul 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) actions to address weaknesses in the regulation and inspection of aboveground oil storage tanks (AST), and provided information on the age, size, and other characteristics of AST.

GAO found that: (1) EPA has not fully implemented any of its seven recommendations to improve the safety of aboveground oil storage tanks; (2) EPA has only partially implemented the recommendations because it gave higher priority to implementing new legislative requirements and had difficulty obtaining Office of Management and Budget approval to collect data for a national inventory of regulated facilities; (3) EPA has partially implemented one of three recommendations to strengthen its regulations governing storage tank construction; (4) proposed regulations emphasize, but do not require, that tank construction comply with certain standards and recommend that tanks be periodically tested; (5) EPA has required the facilities that pose the greatest environmental risk to develop response plans to minimize damages from spilled oil, but it has no plans to extend the requirement to other facilities; and (6) EPA expects to implement three recommendations on improving inspection procedures and documentation, training inspectors, and establishing penalties for noncompliance by 1996, but it does not know when the fourth recommendation on targeting inspections will be implemented.

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