EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recently announced the agency will provide $4 million in financial assistance to clean up contamination from leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) around the nation. The pilot project, called USTfields, involves abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial properties with perceived or actual contamination from petroleum that has leaked from underground storage tanks.
The agency expects to select up to 40 pilot projects to help states and cities clean up these properties and foster redevelopment by returning them to productive economic and public use.
As of December 1998, all substandard underground storage tanks - those not meeting requirements for spill, overfill and corrosion protection requirements - were required by the EPA to be upgraded or closed. But underground tanks at abandoned sites or those that are visited infrequently still have not been dealt with.
The EPA is inviting states, territories and federally-recognized Indian tribes, as well as eligible intertribal consortia, to compete for these pilots. Each selected pilot will receive up to $100,000 in Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund monies. The deadline for submitting proposals for the USTfields Pilots is Oct. 22.
"Fostering clean up at these sites not only restores the land but helps protect our water resources from petroleum contamination," Whitman said.