Deadline looms for Florida gas station underground storage tanks

Posted: March 4, 2009 Author: Kurt Niland Environmental

gas station ust 150x150 Deadline looms for Florida gas station underground storage tanksMany owners are worrying about the future of their businesses because of a state law that will go into effect on December 31, 2009. On that day, the law will require all gas station owners with single-wall underground fuel tanks and pipes to upgrade to double-wall tanks or stop selling gas. Industry insiders expect that of the state’s 9,200 , 800 to 1,500 stores will have to close. 3,156 gas stations and other facilities with (USTs) in Florida require the upgrade.

Single wall steel tanks are prone to corrosion, especially when they contain highly caustic liquids such as fuel. With hundreds of thousands of leaking storage tanks buried underground throughout the country, identifying and removing the tanks has been a major initiative of the US Environmental Protection Agency and many state agencies.

The cost of replacing the tanks, however, is extremely prohibitive – especially for the mom and pop operations. The average cost of replacing a single is $250,000. Gas stations with multiple tanks can expect a bill of about $400,000. Aside from the expense itself, the trouble for many small and independent gas station owners is acquiring financing for the job.

“Even banks that our stations have had a long relationship with are not going to loan them $250,000 for an asset that nobody can see,” said one gas station owner to the Orlando Sentinel, adding that in the bank’s eyes, the upgrade would not result in greater income.

The requirement has caused the value of older gas stations to plummet. Any new owners would have to replace the tanks before they could sell gas. If they chose not to sell gas, the new owners would still be liable for the old tanks. Federal law requires station owners to have a $1 million insurance policy. At the same time, many underwriters have stopped insuring stations with single-wall tanks, forcing some stations to stop selling gas or close their doors.

According to Mike Ashley of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, gas station owners have had ample time to prepare for the big switch. He reminded all facilities requiring upgrades that the upgrade rules have been in effect since 1991 – ample time to prepare and comply.

Gas station owners hoping there might be a reprieve or extension of the Dec. 31 deadline are likely to be disappointed. The has not granted an extension for upgrades since 1983, when it became one of the first states to establish UST regulations.

Even a very slow leak from a UST is an . Just one gallon of fuel will contaminate one million gallons of water and the surrounding soil, endangering the health of humans and wildlife.

Related posts:

  1. Iowa’s 6,200 leaking underground storage tanks
  2. Do you live near a leaking underground storage tank?
  3. Feds propose new reg to remove leaking storage tanks from service
  4. leaking fuel tanks: a cold war legacy
  5. Iowa pollution perils lurk among buried fuel tanks
  • GIL

    DOES ANYBODY KNOW OF ANY INSURANCE COMPANY WHO IS WRITING SINGLE WALL TANKS IN FLORIDA? PLEASE LET ME KNOW

    • pat10006

      Ironshore is new company that is made up of AIG's old senior management. They have a really good environmental group, not sure if they would do this or not but they are the best…I used them for a gas station recently but tanks were double-walled.

  • mashuk ahmed

    who is resposible for change under ground tank? operator or the owner of the station?if the owner refuse to change the tank who will be the liable for fine by govt,is there any fine ?how much per day?

    • http://www.beasleyallen.com BeasleyAllen

      Thank you for your comments. The owner and operator of the underground
      storage tank is responsible for its repair or replacement. The owner
      also is supposed to report any problems with leaks to their local
      environmental protection agency. You can visit the EPA's web site at
      http://www.epa.gov to find the contact person for your area. Owners of leaking
      underground storage tanks can face fines for not fixing the problem.
      Contact your local EPA office to find out what the rules are for your
      state and area.

  • Pingback: Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: gas stations illustrate need for tougher environmental regulations | Beasley Allen

  • Leonard Kaul

    Great article! Really answered all of my questions on this issue.

    • http://www.beasleyallen.com BeasleyAllen

      Dear Mr. Kaul,

      Thank you so much for your comment! We are very pleased this site was
      able to provide the information you needed. Please let us know if there
      is anything we can cover in the future that you'd like to know about.

      Sincerely,

      Wendi L. Lewis
      Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.

  • Elltee73

    If I buy a home in nw florida that had a mom and pop gas station on the property, but is closed down, am I responsible to have the gasoline tanks removed? The owner has produced some documents that she says cost $3,000.00 with EPA that has something to do with the tanks being inspected every year, however, I am afraid if I buy the property and then the tanks are inspected and fail, I will be stuck with bill. Any imput will be greatly appreciated.

    Wayne,

    elltee73@yahoo.com

  • Elltee73

    If I buy a home in nw florida that had a mom and pop gas station on the property, but is closed down, am I responsible to have the gasoline tanks removed? The owner has produced some documents that she says cost $3,000.00 with EPA that has something to do with the tanks being inspected every year, however, I am afraid if I buy the property and then the tanks are inspected and fail, I will be stuck with bill. Any imput will be greatly appreciated.

    Wayne,

    elltee73@yahoo.com