Aboveground Oil Storage Tanks by Terrance I. Norton

By Terrance I. Norton

Oil leaks from aboveground tanks have infected soil and water, threatening human future health and flora and fauna. to avoid harm from oil spills, the Environmental defense organisation (EPA) issued the Spill Prevention, keep watch over, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule in 1973. EPA's 10 areas check up on oil garage amenities to make sure compliance with the rule of thumb. EPA estimates that approximately 571,000 amenities are topic to this rule. a few states additionally control oil garage tanks. GAO decided how EPA areas enforce the SPCC application, the information EPA has to enforce and evaluation this system, and no matter if a few states' tank courses recommend methods for EPA to enhance its software. GAO surveyed all 10 EPA areas and interviewed officers in EPA and 6 states chosen at the foundation of specialists' strategies, between different standards.

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EPA regions have also used other strategies to both identify SPCC facilities and target them for inspection. For example, Region 6 has developed its own geographic information system (GIS)—the On-Scene Coordinators Area Response System (OSCARS)—to identify facilities that may pose a high risk of spills into or upon navigable waters and adjoining shorelines. OSCARS provides regional inspectors with a graphics-based tool that integrates basic geographic information with separate locationbased data sets, such as the location of lakes, waterways, and roads with industrial infrastructure, such as regulated facilities and pipelines.

According to an EPA official, the agency’s reliance on incomplete spill data and state referrals does not allow it to target facilities for inspection on the basis of their relative spill risks. EPA officials told us that, to a certain extent, the fact that they know about a facility at all—because of past spills and state referrals—can be an indication that the facility poses a relatively high risk. However, EPA does not have sufficient information to determine with any certainty how the risks posed by these facilities compare with those of other as yet unknown and not inspected SPCCregulated facilities.

Given this confusion, according to state officials, coordinating federal and state outreach activities—such as educating facility owners about SPCC and state regulations through seminars or 34 Terrance I. Norton conferences—is important to provide the regulated community with more complete and comprehensive information. State officials told us that increased coordination by EPA regions with the states on outreach activities, such as educating facility owners on the SPCC program and state regulations, could benefit both the SPCC and state tank programs by making these efforts more comprehensive.

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