Storage tanks for vehicle fuel and heating oil are common on farms and rural residences nationwide. These above-ground and Underground tanks historically have been constructed of steel, and over the years tens of thousands of the tanks have corroded and leaked petroleum products into the soil and groundwater.
While underground tanks present the greatest threat to health and the environment, above ground tanks can fail too, as weathering corrodes the tanks and associated piping. Both above ground and underground tanks are subject to spills when refuelling or pumping.
Obviously farmers and other rural home owners need to pay close attention to the installation and maintenance of fuel storage tanks.
ON SITE FUEL STORAGE – WHY YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED
Leaking tanks can be a source of groundwater problems for you and your neighbors. Petroleum based fuels contain benzene, toluene, xylene etc these compounds pose a number of health risks
Very small amounts of these compounds in drinking water may not produce noticeable tastes or smells, but can have serious health effects if injested over many years.
If fuel has leached into the groundwater, the location, type and depth of your or your cattles drinking water will be contaminated. Shallow wells that tap into the water table near the surface have a greater risk of contamination than deeper wells, because the well will be withdrawing water near the level at which the contaminants have entered the soil. Deep properly constructed wells with steel casing will help keep contaminants from entering the well because petroleum products FLOAT near the top of the water table.
Large spills and overflows can also contaminate nearby surface waters. Less visible, but equally a threat to surface waters is petroleum that seeps down to the water table and then travels horizontally underground into a nearby stream or lake
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