Large numbers of older USTs are "bare" steel. Tanks that are over 10 years old and unprotected from corrosion are likely to develop leaks. A leaking UST, if undetected or ignored, can cause large amounts of subsurface petroleum product loss. In a recent survey of motor fuel storage tanks, the EPA found that 35% of the estimated 796,000 tanks leak. Abandoned tanks were found at 14% of the surveyed establishments, but the EPA did not conduct leakage tests on these abandoned tanks.
Underground storage tanks release contaminants into the subsurface environment because of one or more of the following factors:
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