Tank releases are an unfortunate reality for storage tank owners in Maryland. Whether due to old, corroded tanks or an accidental overfill, there is always a possibility that an underground storage tank owner will have to deal with a release at some point or another over the life of their tank. Since 1992, there have been more than 12,000 confirmed releases throughout the state and while most UST facilities are under compliance with prevention and release detection requirements, unintended releases can and do still happen.
Detecting a leak in an underground storage tank
All underground storage tanks are required to incorporate leak detection monitoring to ensure that leaks are attended to promptly. However, even with an effective system in place, UST facility owners and storage tank operators must keep an eye on their tanks to safeguard against leaks. You should routinely conduct a visual inspection of the area around your storage tank and watch out for strong odors or an oily sheen on the ground. Both of these signs are strong indicators that your tank has sprung a leak that must be addressed. In addition, unusual activity of dispensing pumps and other related components may also indicate a release.
Reporting the release
All releases must be reported to the state within 24 hours of detection in order to mitigate damage caused. You should make efforts to stop the release as quickly as possible and then a cleanup plan should be put into place. All releases should be reported to the Maryland Department of Environment’s Oil Control program, which can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-866-633-4686. For further information, you can reach out to the program at (410) 537-3442; (800) 633-6101 x3442.
Repairing a leak
A leaking tank can be repaired, but it requires the help of an experienced underground storage tank company to complete. Salvaged and repaired tanks will require proof of inspection within 30 days to ensure that it has been tested according to standard industry codes. You may also need to conduct monthly leak detection monitoring or other approved methods in order to demonstrate the repair was successful.