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January/February 2011
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Underground Storage Tanks

A new ASTM International standard provides a step-by-step procedure that can be used to determine the cause of petroleum releases from underground storage tanks for petroleum as well as to provide clues that will help prevent such releases in the future.

E2733, Guide for Investigation of Equipment Problems and Releases for Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Systems, was developed by Subcommittee E50.04 on Corrective Action, under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action.

“We have made great strides in reducing the frequency and severity of petroleum releases from underground storage tank systems since the 1988 federal UST regulations became law,” says Thomas Schruben, an environmental risk management consultant and a partner in American Cost Recovery Management LLC. “However, we are still having releases, and to reduce the rate of release further, we need to have better data on the major sources and root causes of failures. Having better data will allow the owners, manufacturers, installers and regulators to make the appropriate changes to further reduce the incidence and severity of releases.”

The aim of the standard is to determine why a release occurred, then fix what caused the release so it doesn’t happen in future situations, and if necessary, provide information so that owners/operators can decide if retrofitting existing installations is warranted.

According to Schruben, E2733 will enable inspectors, maintenance contractors, removal contractors, owners and regulators to share an approach to the investigation of underground storage tank releases and equipment problems.

“E2733 provides a common framework to determine the investigation protocol to be used in a given situation,” says Schruben. “The standard will make it easier to conduct an effective investigation, which will hopefully lead to more investigations being conducted.”

CONTACT

Technical Information: Thomas Schruben, American Cost Recovery Management LLC, Kensington, Md.

Phone: 301-613-8858

ASTM Staff: Daniel Smith

Phone: 610-832-9727