SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1993

Characteristics of Non-Petroleum Underground Storage Tanks


It is generally acknowledged that a small fraction of the total underground storage tank population is used to store substances other than petroleum fuels. The detailed characteristics of these tanks, however, are not well known. Additional information is required if competent decisions are to be made regarding leak detection, tank upgrading, and tank management practices. In order to obtain more detailed information regarding these tanks, a survey was conducted to determine the primary features of tanks containing non-petroleum substances. Databases were generated that were based on information from 14 states covering a wide geographical area. The results of this survey suggest that, of the non-petroleum tanks, approximately 50%, either by number or tank volume, contain hazardous substances. Acetone, toluene, methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, and xylene were found to be the most commonly stored hazardous substances, comprising approximately 30% of hazardous materials stored in tanks. Tank age was found to average 18 years, with over 85% of the tanks being fabricated from steel. Roughly 60% of the tanks in the state databases had capacities between 1 000 and 10 000 gal (3 790 and 37 900 L), with the average tank size from all states being 7 205 gal (27 307 L).

Author Information

Hillger, RW
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Releases Control Branch, Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory, Edison, NJ
Starr, JW
Vista Research, Inc., Mountain View, CA
MacArthur, MP
Vista Research, Inc., Mountain View, CA
Maresca, JW
Vista Research, Inc., Mountain View, CA
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Developed by Committee: E50
Pages: 175–188
DOI: 10.1520/STP25085S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5224-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1858-4