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50 Ways Farmers Can Protect Their Groundwater
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47. Have Old, Underground Fuel Storage Tanks Removed

leaking fuel storage tank

Leaking tanks not only threaten groundwater. When petroleum gets into the soil, vapors can sometimes build up in confined spaces, such as septic tanks, sewers, and basements. This raises the risk of explosion.

Tanks leak for many reasons. Piping may be improperly installed, the tank may be overfilled, or the tank walls may corrode. If an underground tank is more than 10 years old, and if it is made of bare steel or coated steel, the chances for a leak are increased dramatically.

do you have a leaking tank?

If your answer to one or more of these questions is "yes," you may have a leaking tank:

  • Are you putting more fuel in than you're getting out?
  • Is the soil near your underground tank saturated with petroleum?
  • Is there a sheen of petroleum on the surface of nearby ponds or streams?
  • Can you smell a strong petroleum odor from the soil or water around your underground tank or home?
do you have a leaking tank?
  • Do neighbors complain about a petroleum odor—in sewer lines, sumps, or basements, for example?
  • Have you noticed a strange taste or smell to your water?
  • Is your suction pump rattling, or does petroleum flow from it unevenly?
  • Is there water in the tank of your car or tractor?
fire truck If you find that your underground tank is leaking, check with the local emergency response agency and consider evacuating the area.
fuel tank Do not use water and do not smoke. Also, extinguish all open flames and turn off electrical equipment in the area. Any source of heat or sparks can cause an explosion. Call your local fire department and ask officials to test for explosive conditions. They can also help you to decide what to do next.
removeal of an underground storage tank If you want to remove an underground storage tank, check with the Illinois Fire Marshal's office to find out about safety procedures and what regulations govern these actions.
an underground storage tank Illinois requires that all installations, repairs, or removals be done by a contractor registered with the Fire Marshal's office.

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