The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) $2,576,000, to prevent and respond to petroleum and other products stored in underground storage tanks (UST).

Leaks from underground storage tanks allow toxic fumes and vapors to escape and collect in areas such as parking garages or basements where they can cause explosions or respiratory illness. Toxic contaminants can also leak into groundwater sources that people depend on for drinking water. Regularly monitoring tanks and pipes minimizes contamination risks.

USTs contain petroleum products like diesel fuel, gasoline and kerosene. Some USTs are used to store hazardous substances. The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that these contaminants can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans, making water unsafe or unpleasant to drink.

EPA regularly works with state, local and tribal governments to ensure that UST systems are installed, operated, maintained and closed safely. UST compliance prevents harm to others and the environment. EPA UST grants help provide technical assistance, outreach, training, inspections and enforcement.

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Activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.htm