As of September 30, 2013, there are 7,954 active underground storage tanks in Maryland, and there have been 11,932 confirmed releases since 1992. Nearly all of these (11,621) have been cleaned up with help from the state’s LUST fund. 71% of Maryland’s underground storage tank facilities are in compliance with both prevention and release detection requirements. Still, underground storage tank leaks are something that many storage tank operators will have to deal with at some point during the lifetime of a tank, whether as a result of an overfill or corrosion in an old, out-of-date tank.
Detecting an Underground Storage Tank Leak
Underground storage tanks are required to have leak detection monitoring in place, and 90% of facilities in Maryland meet the requirements for these systems. In addition to leak detection monitoring, storage tank operators should visually monitor the area around the tank. An oily sheen on the ground or strong smelling vapors are indicative of a release. Operators should also note the unusual activity of related components such as a dispensing pump, which could also suggest a release.
Reporting the Release
Underground storage tank operators are required to report releases within 24 hours to the state’s implementing agency. Efforts should be made to stop the release as soon as possible, after which a cleanup plan can be implemented. Contact information for Maryland’s agency is below:
Maryland Department of Environment
Waste Management Administration
Oil Control Program
1800 Washington Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21230-1719
Repairing Leaking Tanks
Leaking underground storage tanks can be salvaged and repaired provided that within 30 days of the repair, the operator proves that the tank has been inspected internally or tightness tested in accordance with standard industry codes. The operator may also use a monthly leak detection monitoring method or other approved method to prove that the repair has succeeded.