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Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

Community Engagement and the Underground Storage Tank Program

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Community engagement at underground storage tank (UST) sites varies and is dependent on many factors including site location; severity of the release; impact to the drinking water supply; or impact to the local community or environment. Many UST releases involve relatively minor or no groundwater contamination and communities may choose not to be involved in cleanup decisions; however, some releases may have significant impacts on communities.  Also, if the site is to be redeveloped or reused, communities may participate in planning and determining reuse options.

Except for UST systems located on Indian lands, states and territories are the primary implementers of the UST program within their boundaries. Federal UST regulations require that states and territories provide notice about corrective action plans (CAP), make site release information and decisions on the CAP available upon request, and hold public meetings if necessary. Additional public notice is required if cleanup levels are not achieved or termination of the CAP is considered.

Many states and territories engage with communities above what is required in the federal regulations.

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As of September 2020, there are approximately 544,000 underground storage tanks nationwide that store petroleum or hazardous substances. The greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater, the source of drinking water for approximately half of all Americans. EPA, states, territories, and tribes work together to protect human health and the environment from potential UST releases.

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Community Engagement Resources

The EPA and state underground storage tank (UST) resources below may be useful when you conduct community engagement at UST sites. EPA welcomes your input and suggestions. We will periodically update these resources when we have more information.

Federal Requirements for Public Participation

Guidelines for Tailoring Community Engagement Activities to Circumstances

State Community Engagement Resources

Notification Letters

Newspaper Notices

State ContactsContact information for state and territorial UST/LUST programs

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