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Environmental Protection: Recommendations for Improving the Underground Storage Tank Program

GAO-03-529T Published: Mar 05, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 05, 2003.
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Nationwide, underground storage tanks (UST) containing petroleum and other hazardous substances are leaking, thereby contaminating the soil and water, and posing health risks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which implements the UST program with the states, required tank owners to install leak detection and prevention equipment by the end of 1993 and 1998 respectively. The Congress asked GAO to determine to what extent (1) tanks comply with the requirements, (2) EPA and the states are inspecting tanks and enforcing requirements, (3) upgraded tanks still leak, and (4) EPA and states are cleaning up these leaks. In response, GAO conducted a survey of all states in 2000 and issued a report on its findings in May 2001. This testimony is based on that report, as well as updated information on program performance since that time.

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Environmental monitoringstate relationsHazardous substancesInspectionPollution controlProgram evaluationTanks (containers)Storage tanksEnvironmental protectionIndian lands