New England Interstate
Water Pollution Control
Boott Mills South
1OO Foot of John Street
Lowell, Massachusetts
Bulletin 39
A Report On Federal & State Programs To Control Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
USTs-   A  View  frem iurope
by Jamie Thompson

     For some 60 years, fuel storage systems remained
     virtually unchanged. During those years, the oil
     industry made vast progress aboveground in mod-
ernizing their retail gasoline sites. But below ground/
where the fuel storage system is buried, it was quite
another story. In Europe, we estimate that a mere 5 to 7
percent of the total development cost of a gasoline station
was spent on underground tanks and pipes—"out of
sight, out of mind." More recently, however, spurred on
by regulators and public opinion, the oil industry has
recognised the need to safeguard the environment.
   In the 1980s it appeared that the UST situation in the
U.S. was far worse than in Europe—U.S. standards of con-
struction and installation were such that leaks were rela-
tively common. Federal UST legislation and the resulting
regulations enabled manufacturers to provide some
unique solutions to the industry, some of which we were
also able to  consider in Europe. We found ourselves
"cherry picking" the best solutions from the U.S., using
them along with some of the tried and tested systems
developed in Europe.

The European Union
In the late 1980s, many of us in the U.K. were taking our
first tentative steps into Europe. Although we had some
knowledge of what was going on in the U.S., we knew far
less of what was happening right on our doorstep. The
fact that each country in Europe had completely different
standards of installation came as a surprise to some of us.
Others in the industry who'd been trying to build the
same filling station design across national boundaries had
suffered with this issue for many years.
   Perhaps the most important unifying catalyst in the
early 1990s was the issuing of a number of Directives (the
same as federal law in the U.S.) from the European Union
(EU). In addition, there was the formation of Central
European Norm (CEN), the largest regional standards
body in the world, which was given the task of develop-
ing standards for the effective international operation of
              the industrial and service sectors, breaking down trade
              barriers, and stimulating competitiveness in the largest
              emerging trading block in the world—Europe.
                 In addition to this harmonization of standards, the
              industry itself was also changing. Oil companies were
              becoming more European (rather than national) in their
              outlook. Many began forming European operations in
              which common standards of construction, purchasing, and
              operations were to help in the harmonization process.

                                          • continued on page 2

                     !uel Oxygenates in the European Union
                   Lvedder-Ropt Discriminating Sensor Reclassified

                    tMTBE Taste and Odor Thresholds
                   jS/STJBELLiUgation Frenzy
                    EPA Issues Boutique Fuels Report        ___
                      licrobes and Fuel Systems
                   /.The Missing Link in Overfill Protection
                         'LHP 1O07 Recommended Practices^	
                    Continuous or Isolated? - CP Systems^
                   kjPay-for-Performance Public/Private Partnership
                    South Dakota's Antidote to Abandoned Tank Anxiety
                    USTfields at Brownfields in 2001

LUSTUne Bulletin 39
m USTs—A View from Europe
from page 1
    In my opinion, Germany had one
of the more advanced systems as far
as tank standards were concerned.
They have required double-walled
steel tanks with proactive leak detec-
tion since 1968, although they later
inherited many single-walled instal-
lations in the East following reunifi-

Reflecting on Change
No matter how  odd  some might
appear, each of  the varying stan-
dards and methods of construction
and installation of tanks and pipes
among European countries had been
developed for a seemingly good rea-
son...or other. One such oddity  was
the U.K.'s insistence that all under-
ground tanks  and  pipes  be  sur-
rounded by concrete. Research now
confirms that although the concrete
surround did delay corrosion, it  was
only  a  delay, and eventually  the
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   ;azardou '   i1' • ' •' "'"'
                                             ttfion equipment.	
    There is now a European stan-
 dard on underground gasoline tanks,
 both fiberglass reinforced plastic
 (FRP)  and  steel. Equipment  stan-
 dards  are being written on overfill
 prevention   devices,   dispensers,
 fuelling  nozzles,  leak  detection
 equipment, submersible pumps, tank
 gauges, oil  separators  and under-
 ground pipe work. All of these, when
 completed,  will  replace  all  the
 national standards.

 U.S.A. Versus Europe
 I'll discuss the European experience
 with UST systems in a future issue of
 LUSTLine. In fact, if you have any
 questions that you'd  like me to
 address, please send them on, and I'll
 include them in my discussion. For
 now, to whet your interest, I'll pro-
 vide a brief comparison between
 European and U.S. UST systems.

 • Tanks
The development of European stan-
dards for both FRP and steel USTs
effectively provided a choice for the
 industry. It is a fact, however, that
 FRP tanks, though widely used in the
 U.S. without much problem, have not
 succeeded  in Europe. In the U.K.,
 2,000 FRP tanks were installed over a
 15-year period. Now, no major oil
 company or user  is installing these
 tanks. I can give no reason as to why
 the technology has not  transferred
 across the Atlantic, as the manufac-
 turers made tanks under licence from
 U.S. manufacturers.
     The preferred UST is a double-
 walled steel tank that has  dished
 ends,  unlike the flat-ends standard
 on U.S. counterparts. These tanks
 have a corrosion-protective coating
 that is applied to the outside, and
 they are installed  with a backfill of
 gravel or sand. Leak detection in
 double-walled tanks is accomplished
 by filling the interstitial space with
 liquid and  monitoring the  level of
 this liquid over time or by establish-
 ing a pressure or vacuum in the inter-
 stitial space and  watching to see
 whether the pressure or vacuum can
 be maintained over time.
    These types of leak detection sys-
 tems have the advantage of monitor-
 ing both walls of the tank rather than
 just the inner wall, as is often the case
 in the U.S. I  am not aware of any inci-
 dent where a leak from such a stor-
 age tank has found its way into the
 environment, and this technology
 has been in use for over 30 years in
 parts of Europe.
    One area where the U.S. is more
 advanced is the  development of
 aboveground storage tank technol-
 ogy. At present, the demand for such
 tanks in Europe is  quite small, but I
 do envisage a growth in this market,
 and no doubt the technology will be
 imported from the U.S.

 • Pipe Work
 With the exception  of  Germany,
 underground steel pipe work is no
 longer used in Europe. German offi-
 cials appear to have an aversion to
 anything plastic, but they will be
 compelled to look at the alternatives
 once the standard  on underground
 pipe work is completed.
    The use  of FRP pipe was popular
 15 years ago as the alternative to
 steel. This  was followed by the
import of U.S.-produced flexible pip-
ing systems, some more successful
than others.  The first flexible piping
systems coming out of Europe were a

                                                                                            LUSTLine Bulletin 39
polyethylene type with fuel-resistant
linings. At present, European indus-
try has found these to be the most
cost-effective way of meeting their
own requirements and those of the
environment and safety agencies. I
believe that these pipe types will be
seen in the U.S. market in the future;
they have proven to be robust and
liquid-tight over a 20-year period.

• Dispensing Systems
The  most  significant  difference
between the U.S. and European UST
technologies is that the U.S. almost
exclusively uses pressurized pump-
ing systems, whereas in Europe the
vast majority  of fuel dispensing is
accomplished with suction systems.
    The suction system  is seen  in
Europe as a better safeguard against
product loss into the environment. If
a breach appears in a pipe, and the
nonreturn valve is positioned under
the dispenser, then the dispenser will
fail to work and the product will
drain back to the tank.
    When first used in Europe some
decades ago, the pressure system was
not well understood, and some large
product releases caused their popu-
larity to drop. In 1987, a site in Den-
mark  with  pressurized  piping
systems leaked, resulting in an explo-
sion that killed  the manager and
injured eight customers. Earlier this
year, a pressurized system in Spain
pumped  200,000  liters  into  the
ground as a result of poor installation.
    There is, however, a trend by
some of the major oil companies to
move in the direction of pressure sys-
tems. These systems are more popu-
lar in some European countries than
others. The use of double-walled pip-
ing is the norm for pressurized sys-
tems, while suction systems may still
use single-walled piping.

• Drainage
In Europe, drainage requirements for
gas stations have  been in force for
many years. All sites must provide
drainage, and all areas such as the
refueling area and the road tanker
delivery stand must be  effectively
drained to a separator. These separa-
tors must be sized to accept a 7,600-
liter spill. An independent test house,
in accordance  with the European
Standard, must test the efficiency of
operation of the separator. These sep-
arators must be cleaned regularly to
ensure that no pollution enters the
sewer or water systems. In some
European countries the use of gaso-
line-resistant paving systems are an
additional requirement.
The Future?
In most developed countries, the
number of gasoline stations has been
               shrinking.  Within
               the U.K., for exam-
               ple,  there   were
               50,000 gas stations
               in  the  1950s.  By
               2000 that number
               had fallen to 13,043.
               This reduction  is
               also reflected across
                   I  believe  the
               trend    will   be
               toward larger, more
               efficient sites where
               the  investment  in
               the   underground
               facilities can be bet-
               ter justified. We are
               still left with con-
               cerns  about  the
               operation of the site.
               From the informa-
               tion I have learned,
               both across Europe
               and the U.S., this is
               frequently   where
       In Memoriam

      As we endeavor to heal tine
      wound that pierced our
      collective soul on
      September 11, 2001 ...

      We extend our thoughts
      and prayers to the
      victims, their families, and
      those who survived and

      Our unending gratitude to
      those who risked their lives to
      save others and those who
      continue to provide aid
      and comfort.
we share the  common problem of
people not understanding the facility
for which they are responsible.
    One thing for sure, the world is
much smaller and the exchange of
information provides us all with the
opportunity to examine alternatives
so that we can try to make petroleum
storage and dispensing as safe as
    For more information about the CEN
standards, go to The
Web site does not allow you to view the
standards, but it shows what is standard-
ized, what work is in progress, and how
the standards can be purchased. •

   Jamie Thompson was the Principal
   Petroleum Inspector for the London
 Fire Brigade from 1961 to 1999. He is
   now a  consultant to the petroleum
   industry. He has been involved in
 writing the European Guidance on
 Petrol Filling Station Installations.
  He sits  on various British standards
   committees and European technical
 committees, and is chairman of a num-
   ber of European Standards (CEN)
 committees that are writing standards
 for Europe on equipment to be used at
 petrol stations. Jamie can be reached at

 LUSTLine Bulletin 39
 The Use of Fuel Oxygenates
 in the European  Union
 by Jeff Kuhn, Martin Bittens, and Mario Schirmer
   In light of the national debate in
   the  United States,  European
   researchers have recently begun
focusing efforts on  studying the
impact of oxygenates  within the
European Union (EU) as well as for-
mer East Block countries. The sever-
ity of  contamination  from  fuel
oxygenates in Europe has been the
subject of recent discussion.  It is
widely perceived  that  fuel  oxy-
genates are not a significant issue in
most European countries.
    For the most part, the enforce-
ment of strict environmental laws in
western Europe  has  rninirnized
petroleum contamination of soil and
groundwater. Suction systems and
mandatory installation of double-
walled  tanks and lines in western
Germany has helped prevent the
magnitude of problems seen in the
U.S. Furthermore, most western
European countries have relied more
heavily on diesel than on gasoline to
fuel a large portion of their vehicle
    On the other hand, there is cur-
rently no requirement to test for fuel
oxygenates in soil or groundwater in
most EU countries, with the excep-
tion of the United Kingdom (U.K.)
and Denmark. Germany uses MTBE
up to 15 percent by volume, depend-
ing on the brand and grade of gaso-
line. We should note that octane
ratings in Europe are typically much
higher than the octane ratings of
gasoline sold in tihe United States.
Typical octane ratings for unleaded
gasoline sold in Germany and other
European countries are 92,96, and 98.
    As there has been no comprehen-
sive testing program in most EU
countries, estimates of MTBE conta-
mination are probably speculative. In
view of this, there is a high probabil-
ity of finding some concentration of
MTBE at many European service sta-
tions, even though releases have  been
minimized due to more tightly regu-
lated tank storage systems.
    Political  changes  in
Europe since the fall of the
Soviet Union have also led
to a greater focus of atten-
tion on many environmental
issues. Many western Euro-
pean countries, with the support of
the EU, have begun to prioritize and
cleanup industrial sites  in former
East Block countries, such as the Ger-
man Democratic Republic (GDR), the
former East Germany. These coun-
tries have had a substantial number
of petroleum releases at both retail
service stations and large refinery
and petroleum  distribution  sites.
Poor environmental standards and a
lack of more sophisticated cleanup
technologies are significant obstacles
to remediation.
   comprehensive testing program in
   most EU countries, estimates of

      MTBE contamination are
         	i1 "T ,;,  ""'. '' vff'^.i: .;L: : I1.1.,!
       probably speculative.
Through the efforts of the Center of
Applied Geosrience at the University
of Tuebingen,  Germany, academic
contaminant  research   work  in
Europe has recently been organized
under an oversight group called
ANCORE—The Academic Network
for Contaminated Land Research in
Europe. ANCORE is a unique part-
nership of academic researchers who
are focusing on soil and groundwater
contamination issues.
   ANCORE maintains  close con-
nections to European regulators (the
CLARINET Network) and industry
(the NICOLE Network). These three
groups work  closely together to coor-
dinate oversight and direction on
contaminated soil and groundwater
issues throughout the EU. An impor-
tant component of this
work includes address-
ing petroleum-conta-
minated  sites  that
contain fuel oxygenates. ANCORE
also hopes to provide training to for-
mer East Block countries (Central
East  European  (CEE)  Accession
States) to develop local technical
expertise, and thereby enhance reme-
diation capabilities.

European MTBE Workgroup
A European MTBE workgroup led by
Dr.  Mario  Schirmer  of the  the
Environmental  Research  Center
(Umweltforschungszentrum, or UFZ)
in Leipzig,  Germany, includes  the
UFZ, the University of Sheffield
(U.K.), the  Finnish Environment
Institute (FBI), the U.K. Environment
Agency, the Technical University of
Denmark, the University of Tuebin-
gen (Germany), EAWAG (Swiss Fed-
eral Institute  for  Environmental
Science and Technology), the Trans-
port Research Centre (TRC) in  the
Czech Republic, VTT Biotechnology
(Finland), Risk and Policy Analysts
Ltd. (U.K.), EFOA  (European Fuel
Oxygenate Association), and CON-
CAWE, the oil companies' European
organization for environment, health,
and  safety. The European MTBE
workgroup  receives technical sup-
port from North American groups,
such as the  University  of Waterloo
(Canada) and Sierra Environmental
Services, Inc.
    Goals of the workgroup include
the following:
• Determine  the  current  extent,
  future development, and signifi-
  cance of water contamination by
  MTBE in Europe;
• Assess and develop cost-efficient

                                                                                          LUSTLine Bulletin 39
  remediation   technologies   for
  MTBTEL contamination of ground-
  water and water supply wells;
• Improve the science, information,
  and knowledge  base  used in
  environmental impact and risk
  assessment and integrate socio-
  economic factors into risk man-
  agement for fuel components in
  the EU; and
• Disseminate   the  results  and
  knowledge gained from the pro-
  ject and  provide  a forum for all
  key stakeholders for the discus-
  sion of the regulatory, industrial,
  and policy implications of MTBE
  in the European environment

    A proposal entitled the "Assess-
ment of  the  Long-Term  Behavior,
Environmental Risk, and Remedia-
tion  Technologies   for   MTBE"
(ALBERICH) is  currently  under
review by the European Commission
(EC). If the proposal receives fund-
ing, ALBERICH will be responsible
for  establishing cleanup standards,
implementing cost-effective remedia-
tion technologies, and examining the
socioeconomic impacts of contamina-
tion from MTBE. The EC is reviewing
a draft of the Finnish Environment
Institute's (FBI) assessment of MTBE.
(Contact Timo Assmuth at FEI  for
more information—Timo.Assmuth Further decision from  the
EC on the use or potential banning of
MTBE in the EU may occur in  the
near future.
    One  European  country, Den-
mark, has already moved forward
to ban MTBE. The ban was sched-
uled  for implementation  for the
summer of 2001. MTBE has recently
been discovered at a large percent-
age of petroleum release sites in the
country. It will be interesting to  see
what effect the ban of MTBE in Den-
mark has on other EU countries and
what Denmark will use to replace

JeffKuhn is with the Montana Depart-
 ment of Environmental Quality and a
member of the ASTSWMO MTBE and
 Fuel Oxygenates Workgroup. Martin
    Bittens is executive director of
  ANCORE at the Center for Applied
Geoscience at University ofTuebingen,
 Germany. Dr. Mario Schirmer is with
  Umweltforschungszentrum (UFZ)
        in Leipzig, Germany.
  . ,^,f I- jillEBpK^
 «:DT£p^e -i'i •&'» fcsaii'B*;4^i!£BSSiwii-.i.1'ti'4^iRSi'>i; ii--:v - v" 'cvp. /iS;'.11»;:'S;;:"l?f'j»*'iS««ii!«!SSS:i'»;,isfiv
   !; i  • Connecticut DEP, provides technical guidance Jin Cflndu,cting :»w*^
 ::fp;;;  ' J;r'=';'<:r ijexpedite^
  ||! i   For h>bfe informtion visit:  /rt^w£e^               •'&£•
Veeder-Root Discriminating

Sensor Reclassif ied
      Veeder-Rogt has discovered that a small percentage of 794380-341
      Discriminating Interstitial Sensors for fiberglass tanks can incor-
      rectly report fuel conditions as liquid alarms in some instances.
The affected sensors will alarm where liquid is present; however, they
may not distinguish between fuel and water. The sensor has undergone
additional third-party certification in a nondiscriminating mode and
has beeri reclassified in the list compiled by the National Work Group
on Leak Detection Evaluation.
    In the listing, the vendor has made it clear that it has identified "a
failure mode in the sensor that sometimes results in an inability to deter-
mine if the liquid is fuel; the default mode of this failure is water. Thus,
any alarms initiated by the 794380-341 sensor should be treated as
nondiscrirninating."   -
    The vendor is curently upgrading installed 794380-341 sensors but
cautions that those that have not yet been upgraded remain in the field
under the following conditions:
« The TLS-350 console has software version 20B or higher, which can
  handle any alarm generated from the 341 sensor as a liquid alarm;
• Water alarms generated by the 341 sensor are responded to in a fash-
  ion equivalent to a fuel alarm.

California Concerns
Currently, California discourages the use of discriminating sensors, in
general, for new installations. The State Water Resources Control Board
(SWRCB) has been coneerned_about inconsistencies with third-party cer-
tification results of such products and the applicability of the standard
third-party protocol to these systems.  There are also concerns about the
wide range of response and recovery times observed by local agencies in
the field, the reusability of. sensors, possible incremental deterioration of
sensors upon repeated exposure to fuel, and the reliability of the dis-
crimination feature.
    While not suggesting the removal of existing discriminating sensors
at this time, the SWRCB says that if a sensor is discovered nonfunc-
tional or is not performing in accordance with third-party testing results,
it should be replaced, preferably with a nondiscriminating sensor. As
•with the Veeder-Root 341 sensor, the SWRCB suggests that it is appro-
priate to reprogram discriminating sensors so that the alarm response to
hydrocarbon and water is identical, or nondiscriminating. Reprogram-
ming should only be done if the manufacturer of the equipment autho-
rizes it, and a factory-trained contractor performs the reprogramming. •

    For more information about the Veeder-Root 794380-341 sensor,
     contact Alan Betts at (860) 651-2782, For more information on
    California's List of Leak Detection Equipment and Methods for
         USTs (LG113-15), go to

LUSTLinc Bulletin 39

                                                                     "a dimension	as	vast as space
                                                                     and as j fimeletss	as" innnity^'T^^
                                                                    -tfte.	c
 MTBE  Taste and Odor Thresholds
 The  Myth of Protectiveiiess
     Two often-touted "beneficial"
     characteristics of MTBE are its
     low taste and odor thresholds,
reputed to be significantly lower
than levels to which exposure might
produce  toxic effects (if any) in
humans. While  taste  and  odor
thresholds vary from person to per-
son, several studies  indicate that
most people can detect MTBE in
water by either taste or odor (or
both) at concentrations in the range
of 10 to 40 parts per billion.
    Such a range must surely be low
enough to provide a high degree of
protectiveness from  exposure  to
MTBE-contaminated drinking water,
right? As a prelude to answering this
question, consider the following sce-
nario, which is based on two real-life
cases (and embellished only slightly
in order to meld them together):

  In Somewhere, U.S.A, a  com-
  munity where drinking water
  comes from domestic ground-
  water wells, some of die resi-
  dents have noticed that unless
  they shower with  their  win-
  dows open, they  experience
  dizziness, headache, and nau-
  sea. Beyond this inconvenience,
  however, no one has noticed
  anything out of the ordinary
  about his or her water. But, over
  a holiday weekend, one family
  is visited by in-laws from out-
  of-town. Upon their arrival, the
  guests are given  refreshing
  glasses of ice water and immedi-
  ately gag in response to the tur-
  pentine-like taste. As their visit
  progresses, they become dizzy
  and nauseous any time any tap
  in the house is turned on.
  At the insistence of their guests,
  the homeowners  contact the
  state health department, which
  promptly dispatches a crew to
  investigate. Water samples are
  collected and analyzed and
  found to contain several tens of
  milligrams per liter of MTBE—
  several  hundred times higher
  than  the supposed taste and
  odor   threshold  and  high
  enough to account for the dizzi-
  ness,  nausea, and headaches
  experienced by many in the
  neighborhood. By the time the
  investigation is  completed,
  many households in the neigh-
  borhood are found  to have
  MTBE-contaminated water.

   Many of you who work in state
leaking  underground storage tank
programs can probably recall similar
examples from your own experience.
And  many of  you  may have
scratched your head and wondered:
Considering the low taste and odor
thresholds for MTBE, how is it possi-
ble that people living with MTBE-
contaminated water  can blithely
drink water that must obviously have
an offensive taste and smell?
   The  answer to this question is a
function of dispersion and desensiti-
zation. In our scenario, MTBE con-
centrations in the domestic wells
increased gradually over time so that
the  people in  the  neighborhood
became desensitized to the foul smell
and taste of their water. Even when
showering, the neighborhood resi-
dents didn't notice  a bad smell,
although they did experience physi-
cal illness caused by exposure to high
concentrations of MTBE, symptoms
that  were somewhat relieved  by
opening the bathroom windows. The
out-of-town guests, who were not
desensitized, were immediately able
to recognize that the water smelled
and tasted bad.

Transport of Dissolved
Now, let's get a bit more technical.
First, it is important to understand
that dissolved contaminants migrat-
ing in the subsurface through porous
media do not travel as a concen-
trated, discrete slug that ultimately
enters a  well and instantaneously
raises the  concentration of  the
extracted water  to that of the slug.
The leading edge of a contaminant
plume is typically very dilute, with
concentrations increasing upgradient
back  toward  the source. As the
plume continues to expand, concen-
trations  gradually rise in the wells
located   downgradient  from  the
   This basic behavior holds true
even if the plume detaches from the
source.  A  detached plume will
migrate as a "pulse" or slug, but con-
centrations will still be lower around
the periphery and higher in the core.
If  a  detached plume continues to
migrate past wells that intersect it,
then at some point concentrations in
these wells will decrease  as the
plume moves even further downgra-
   Transport of dilute  dissolved
contaminants is a function of advec-
tion, hydrodynamic dispersion, and
other chemical, biological, and physi-
cal reactions. Advection refers to the
movement of molecules (or particles)
imparted by flowing groundwater.
The  advective rate of transport is

                                                                                            LUSTLine Bulletin 39
generally defined (imprecisely, as
•will be shown later) as the average
linear groundwater velocity.
    Hydrodynamic dispersion occurs
as a result of molecular diffusion and
mechanical mixing and causes the
dissolved  contaminant  plume to
spread out with distance from the
source. Molecular diffusion is gener-
ally only significant when groundwa-
ter  movement  is  very  slow.
Mechanical mixing occurs as ground-
water  flows  through the  aquifer
matrix, twisting around individual
grains and passing through intercon-
nected pore spaces at differing veloci-
    The movement of some  dis-
solved contaminants may also be
affected by chemical, biological, and
physical reactions, such as sorption
and biodegradation,  which  act to
decrease the transport velocity and
reduce concentrations in the plume.
MTBE is only minimally affected by
sorption processes and degrades very
slowly in many (but not all) subsur-
face environments—as such, in some
environments its behavior is substan-
tially similar to that of a nonreactive

Calculating  Travel Time
Classical tracer studies devised to
study advection-dispersion phenom-
ena typically  employ a cylindrical
column that is filled with porous
media. A continuous supply of tracer
at a specified concentration is intro-
duced at one  end of the column
under steady-flow  conditions,  and
outflow concentrations are measured
at various times after the tracer is
    A graph of the outflow concen-
tration with time  is known as a
breakthrough curve (Figure 1). Ini-
tially concentration of the tracer in
outflow samples is zero. Beginning
with the time of first arrival of the
contaminant front, tracer concentra-
tions increase gradually at first then
accelerate before reaching a steady-
state equal to the concentration of the
source. The inflection point of this
curve (the vertical dotted line) repre-
sents the hypothetical arrival time of
an undiluted  slug  of contaminant
moving at the average linear ground-
water velocity.
    There are two problems with the
comparison of true contaminant
transport and  an undiluted  slug.
First, due  to  the presence of the
porous media, slug (or plug) flow is
impossible. Even at a relatively small
scale (i.e., these cylindrical columns)
the "plume" of tracer would be dis-
persed with distance in the column
due to  molecular diffusion  and
mechanical dispersion.
 f Wo matter how low the MTBE-
 conlaminant thresholds, they cannot
 pe relied on to provide any measure
 _  of protectiveness from exposure.
    Second, some of the tracer mole-
cules are moving faster than the aver-
age linear groundwater velocity, and
some are moving slower. This is also
true for the water molecules—if s just
that we do not measure the velocity
of  individual   water  molecules.
Hence, a common misconception is
that due to dispersion, contaminants
may move faster than groundwater.
A more correct statement is that some
contaminants may move faster than
the average linear velocity of the
    This    distinction   concerning
velocity is very important. It  also
leads us to another realization:  if
some contaminant molecules  are
traveling faster than the average lin-
ear groundwater velocity, then the
maximum linear groundwater veloc-
ity rather  than  the average linear
groundwater velocity should be used
to calculate the time it will take con-
taminants to first reach a receptor.
(How significant a difference this will
                        actually make will be discussed in a
                        later article written in collaboration
                        with Jim Weaver of the EPA's Office
                        of Research and Development.)

                        Take-Home Message
                        So, back to the original question of
                        the protectiveness of taste and odor
                        thresholds. The take-home message
                        is that no matter how low the MTBE-
                        contaminant thresholds, they cannot
                        be relied on to provide any measure
                        of  protectiveness from exposure.
                        •  Contaminants  initially arrive at
                           receptors at low concentrations
                           and increase gradually, and  the
                           rate  of  increase  may be  slow
                           enough to  allow those affected to
                           become desensitized. Then, when
                           the presence of contamination is
                           finally  realized, concentrations
                           may  be high  enough to  cause
                           adverse health effects.
                        •  Contaminants may be transported
                           at rates that exceed the average lin-
                           ear groundwater velocity. In order
                           to  calculate contaminant  travel
                           time  (i.e.,  the  time required  for
                           contaminants  to  first reach a
                           receptor), it is the maximum linear
                           groundwater velocity that is rele-
                           vant, not the average velocity. •

                          This article was written by Hal White
                            (EPA OUST/HQ) in his private
                            capacity. No official support or
                          endorsement by the Environmental
                         Protection Agency or any other agency
                          of the federal government is intended
                         or should be inferred. Mention of trade
                         names or commercial products does not
                              constitute endorsement or
                              recommendation for use.
First Arrival

The  MTBE Litigation  Frenzy

by Patricia Ellis

Toxic trespass! Public and private nuisance! Negligence!
Strict liability! Fraudulent misrepresentation! Civil conspir-
acy! Personal injury! Property damage! Unfair competition!
Known or should have known! Conspiracy! These are just a few
of the claims in the multitude of lawsuits involving MTBE.
    In a March 2001 article in the Journal of Environ-
mental Forensics, titled "Salem Revisited: Updating the
MTBE Controversy," authors R.O. Faulk and John S. Gray
decry the current frenzy of MTBE lawsuits, the class-action
suits in particular. They consider the current MTBE con-
troversy to be "an example of American regulatory and
legal hysteria," rather than a real public health and envi-
ronmental  crisis, "an unsubstantiated crusade destined to
waste millions of dollars and unnecessarily preoccupy judi-
cial resources."
    They believe that the MTBE crisis has been created by
the pending and future class-action lawsuits that allege—but
do not document—nightmarish scenarios, and that seek, through premature class certifications, a
"rush to judgment" that precludes a reasoned and measured evaluation of the situation. The
authors state that there are very few demonstrated instances where water supplies have been truly
    I thought it would be easy to sit down and summarize this current "frenzy" of MTBE litigation,
until I realized how much of it there really is, and how many different types of cases there are. So I've managed to summarize a
representative (and certainly not exhaustive) chunk of cases to give you some idea of what's going on out there. Please keep in
mind that I am a mere geologist/hydrologist and unhampered by any real legal knowledge or training. My information does not
come from a search of any legal database, but primarily from newspaper articles and press releases. At the end of this summary,
I've thrmvn my oion hoo cents into the frenzied fray.
                                                                                  Strict liability!
                                                                                  Negligence!  ...
Methanex, a Canadian corporation,
has filed suit against the U.S. State
Department because of the California
phase-out  of  MTBE.   Methanex
alleges that under Chapter 11 of the
North American Free  Trade Agree-
ment (NAFTA), the California ban
violates the foreign investment guar-
antees of NAFTA. An amendment to
the claim also contends that ethanol
producer Archer Daniels Midland
(ADM) misled and improperly influ-
enced the State of California to ban
MTBE in favor of the ethanol indus-
    Another suit that came out of the
California MTBE ban is the Oxy-
genated Fuels Association (OFA) v. Cali-
fornia  Governor Gray Davis and the
California Air Resources Board. In Janu-
ary 2001, a federal judge tossed out
the lawsuit, ruling that there is noth-
                                    ing in federal Air Quality regulations
                                    that precludes the ban. Federal legis-
                                    lation exempts California from the
                                    law that precludes states from impos-
                                    ing their own rules on fuels and addi-
                                    tives   because   the   state's   air
                                    regulations preceded federal regula-
                                    tions. OFA plans to appeal the ruling,
                                    arguing that Congress's grant of
                                    autonomy to California  does not
                                    apply to the MTBE ban because it
                                    was enacted to protect water, not air.
                                       Also related to the California
                                    MTBE ban is a suit filed in August by
                                    the California Air Resources Board
                                    against the EPA because of its deci-
                                    sion in June mandating the continued
                                    use of oxygenates  in reformulated
                                    gasoline. The suit  had to be filed
                                    within 60 days of EPA's announce-
                                    ment of its rejection of California's
                                    waiver request. The suit argues that
                                    EPA overlooked scientific evidence
                                    that California  gasoline does not
                                    need oxygenates to  meet federal pol-
                                    lution reduction standards.
Other Cases
Continuing with California litigation,
a California State Superior Court
judge signed off on an agreement in
August 2001 in Communities for a Bet-
ter Environment (CBE) v. Unocal, forc-
ing five major oil companies to clean
up MTBE-contaminated sites  that
they own. CBE, a San Francisco-area
environmental group, charges  that
the companies violated the state's
Unfair Competition Act by using
MTBE in such a way that it contami-
nated groundwater.
   In  1998,  CBE  sued  Shell,
Chevron, Texaco, Equilon Enter-
prises, Unocal, ARCO, Tosco, Exxon,
and Mobil under that act because the
chemical is not on a list for the state's
Safe   Drinking  Water and Toxic
Enforcement Act. Had it been on the
list, the state would have been able to
force the companies to clean up their
sites.  The first five companies have
settled.  ARCO, Tosco, Exxon,  and
Mobil are still in litigation.

                                                                                           LUSTLine Bulletin 39
    Current California law requires
companies to clean up MTBE leaks,
but the regulations lack any penalty
provisions. Under  the  settlement,
state agencies will be able to enforce
their  compliance orders and  ask
courts to impose penalties of up to
$6,000/day for cleanup costs. Many
confidential memos from, the compa-
nies were filed under seal in 1998, but
the presiding judge has unsealed the
documents, which provide  many
new details about industry and EPA
knowledge of the potential dangers
of MTBE use.

South Lake Tahoe
Trial began in early October 2001 in a
lawsuit brought by the South Tahoe
Public  Utility  District  (STPUD)
against a group of gasoline produc-
ers, distributors, and dealers, and
Lyondell  Chemical, the country's
largest MTBE producer. The water
district holds  seven  companies
responsible for contaminating 12 of
its 34 wells.
    Among other payments, the util-
ity is demanding $40 million to cover
the costs of removing MTBE from its
wells. Twenty-four of the original 31
defendants in the case have  settled
with STPUD for a combined $32 mil-
lion. Chevron settled recently for $10
million, and Exxon settled for $12
million. The remaining seven defen-
dants are Shell, Lyondell, Texaco,
Tosco, Ultramar, and two Tahoe gas
stations, Tahoe Tom's and Terrible
    According to subpoenaed inter-
nal corporate records, Shell, Texaco,
Exxon, and Chevron had mounting
evidence during the 1980s that MTBE
posed a greater threat to drinking
water than gasoline's other compo-
nents. The companies did not dis-
close this information to the EPA in
response to the agency's mid-1980s
call for information on the chemical's
environmental and health effects.
Industry officials even assured EPA
that its concerns were unfounded in
deciding whether to regulate MTBE
as a contaminant in drinking-water
supplies. The companies had docu-
mented dozens of sites in New Jersey
and in several other states  before

Santa Monica
The City of Santa Monica filed suit in
June 2000  against 18 oil industry
companies, including refiners, manu-
facturers, owners,  operators, and
suppliers responsible for contaminat-
ing city wells at the Charnock well
field. The city  worked extensively
with several companies to devise a
plan for cleaning up the contami-
nated wells, but in January 2000, the
oil companies walked away from the
negotiating process.
     Cleanup of the five Charnock
wells,  which produce 60,000 gal-
lons/minute, is anticipated to cost
between $150 and $200 million and
take at least 10 years to complete. In
1998, the City of Santa Monica settled
a suit with Mobil Oil Corporation to
pay  for the cleanup of its Arcadia
well field wells  and  to buy residents
water piped in  by the Metropolitan
Water District.

In 2000, New York Governor Pataki
signed a law  banning the sale of
gasoline containing MTBE starting in
2004. A federal judge upheld the ban
on MTBE, paving the road for a full-
blown court battle. The OF A, which
represents   MTBE  manufacturers,
argued in federal court that the state
measure conflicted with the federal
Clean Air Act. In May, a U.S. District
Court judge ruled that federal laws
controlling vehicle emissions do not
preclude a state law designed to stop
groundwater from being contami-
nated by MTBE. He denied a request
for summary  judgment by  OF A,
which had  sued to  have the law
declared invalid. A trial date has not
been set.
Numerous class-action suits concern-
ing MTBE have been filed. A number
of lawsuits have been grouped into a
consolidated complaint by private
well owners against nearly  every
major petroleum company. The con-
solidated complaint charges oil com-
panies with strict liability for design
defect, failure to  warn, deceptive
business acts and  practices, public
nuisance, negligence, breach of notifi-
cation duty under the  Toxic Sub-
stances  Control Act (TSCA), and
conspiracy to market an unsafe prod-
uct. The plaintiffs seek damages for
contamination or threatened contam-
ination of their well water by MTBE,
and seek a court-supervised program
of MTBE testing, monitoring, educa-
tion, and where necessary, the provi-
sion for clean water and remediation.
The defendants have sought to dis-
miss all claims except the federal
cause of action under TSCA.
    Originally,   there  were   five
classes of plaintiffs:
• Berisha - Two New York property
  owners who claim their properties
  have been devalued due to exist-
  ing or past contamination in their
  well water. This is an individual
• Berrian - Three New York prop-
  erty owners whose wells contain
  MTBE and who seek to represent
  a class of well  owners in  New
  York whose wells contain MTBE.
• England - Two Illinois property
  owners  whose  wells  contain
  MTBE, a California well owner
  whose wells  contains MTBE, and
  two  Illinois  property  owners
  •whose wells have been tested but
  were not found to contain MTBE.
  The first three seek to represent a
  class  of well owners in California,
  Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois,
  Indiana,  Kentucky,  Maryland,
  Massachusetts,  Missouri,   New
  Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsyl-
  vania, Rhode Island, Texas,  Wis-
  consin, and Virginia, whose wells
  are contaminated with MTBE. The
  last two seek to represent a  class
  of well owners in the same states
  whose tested wells have not been
  found to contain MTBE.
• La Susa - A New York property
  owner whose well has  not  been
  tested for  MTBE,  who seeks to
  represent a class of well owners in
  New York  whose  properties,
  while allegedly at risk for MTBE
  contamination, have not yet  been
  tested for MTBE.
• Young - A Florida property owner
  whose well is contaminated with
  MTBE, who seeks to represent a
  class  of private well owners in
  Florida where wells have  been

    One portion of the class-action
lawsuit was  dismissed in August
2001 by a New York judicial panel on
                • continued on page W

LUSTLinc Bulletin 39
m MTBE Litigation from page 9

multidistrict litigation for lack of
standing. The remaining four classes
of plaintiffs will be permitted to pro-
ceed. For the plaintiffs to have stand-
ing in court, they must prove that
they have suffered an injury-in-fact,
the injury must be traceable, and it
must be likely that the injury will be
remedied by the court.
    Portions of the lawsuit involving
La Susa, Bauer, and McMannis (the
wells  without  MTBE)  "have  not
alleged a present threat of imminent
harm," wrote the court in dismissing
the entire La Susa class and the por-
tion of the England class pertaining
to the two Illinois well owners whose
wells were tested but found unconta-
minated.  The  suit  names 20  oil
companies and 100 "John Doe" de-
fendants. The judge in the  case has
established  a Web site (www.MDL that contains many of the
court documents. Fascinating read-

North Carolina
In January 1999, five people sued 13
major oil companies and distributors
in a class-action suit on behalf of all
North Carolinians  who get their
water from private wells (Maynard v.
Amerada Hess Corp.). They called the
action an effort to combat water cont-
amination that they characterize as
"one of the greatest wrongs ever vis-
ited upon the people of this state."
The plaintiffs said that the oil compa-
nies conspired to distribute a poten-
tially dangerous chemical through a
system of underground storage tanks
and pipes they knew to be leaking.
They allege negligence, strict product
liability  for failure  to warn,  and
fraud. Certain in-state distributors
were dismissed by agreement after
early discovery.
    In June  1999, the judge granted
the plaintiffs' motion to divide the
proceedings. Under the resulting case
management plan, the first phase of
the case will decide questions of the
defendants' liability  to the state's
well owners and whether to certify
for water testing only. Certification of
a class of owners of contaminated
wells for damages will be addressed
in a subsequent phase of the investi-
gation. Half of the state's 7.4 million
residents get their drinking water

from private wells, according to data
from the N.C. Division of Environ-
ment and Natural Resources, hun-
dreds of which are known to be
contaminated with  MTBE. Of the
state's 100 counties, at least 82 have
wells  with  MTBE  contamination,
according to the lawsuit.

In March 2001, a judge denied forma-
tion of a class action in a case involv-
ing a 1997 automobile accident in
Standish, Maine, that caused MTBE
to leak  into  well water (Millet v.
Atlantic  Richfield).  Millet  sued
Atlantic Richfield, Lyondell Chemi-
cal, API, and the Oxygenated Fuels
Association following an automobile
accident in which 8  to 10 gallons of
gasoline were spilled in front of the
home of Michael Millet. MTBE conta-
mination as high as 6,000 ppb was
found in his well water. At least a
dozen other wells in the area were
also found to have MTBE-contami-
nated water, with the accident as the
likely source. An out-of-court settle-
ment was reached, with the driver's
insurance  paying   $25,000   and
Atlantic  Richfield paying $10,000.
Millet received $22,000, another party
whose well was contaminated by an
unknown source received $10,000,
and two other individuals received
$1,500 each to cover the costs of test-
ing their well water.

New Jersey
A New Jersey class-action suit filed in
August 2000 (Holten et al v. Chevron
U.S.A. et al) named 1,000 plaintiffs
and "John Does" seeking to create
funds to remediate spills and cover
medical monitoring for MTBE and
BTEX exposure. The judge granted
Chevron and Gulf Oil's motion for
summary judgment, explaining in
part,   that  "because   Congress
required that gasoline  contain an
oxygenate  and  specifically desig-
nated that MTBE would be one of the
most  common and effective  oxy-
genates... gasoline containing MTBE
cannot be deemed a defective prod-
    In October, the judge agreed to
reconsider her grant of summary
judgment to Chevron and Gulf on the
negligence claim because she  may
have "overlooked"  the defendants'
duty to warn service station owners
such as Cumberland Farms, Inc. of
the properties  of  gasoline  with

A Connecticut suit filed in 1999
(Catherine Martin v. Shell Oil Co. et al.)
sought status as a class-action suit.
The suit alleges that contaminated
well water caused diminished prop-
erty and personal damages. The com-
plaint alleges  that Shell Oil knew
about a release from USTs at a service
station and failed to stop it or alert
the public and government agencies.
   Shell asked for summary judg-
ment. In a response, at the end of
September  2001,   the  plaintiffs
requested that the court impose the
burden of proof on the issue of causa-
tion on the defendants because of
their egregious  failure to test  the
product before putting it on the mar-
ket and to test the marketed product
after they had  clear  evidence  of
human health hazards.
   The plaintiffs  cite  that when
gasoline with MTBE was introduced
in 1979, the defendants knew that
UST systems routinely leaked, that
the defendants learned "almost at
once" of the propensity of MTBE to
spread "like lightning in groundwa-
ter,"  and  that the   defendants
"learned very soon that MTBE might
have  adverse  health  effects   on
humans." Despite their knowledge,
the defendants "made a conscious
corporate decision to leave the prod-
uct on  the market,  presumably
because it was profitable."
    Because  of  the  "egregious"
behavior of the defendants, the plain-
tiffs requested that the court modify
the Daubert principles and allow evi-
dence used by toxicology and hydrol-
ogy experts to formulate the court's
opinions that the plaintiffs have been
exposed  to  gasoline  containing
MTBE in well water contaminated by
a known leaking UST.

Another major  type of litigation
involving MTBE concerns suits filed
by municipalities or water districts
over impacts to water supplies (e.g.,
the Tahoe and Santa Monica cases).
The following are examples of such

                                                                                           LUSTLine Bulletin 39
• A case  was filed in  Orange
  County, California, by county
  officials against Atlantic Richfield
  and others and Lyondell Chemical
  for conspiring with API and the
  petroleum industry to sell MTBE
  with  knowledge of its  risks to
  water quality.
• The City of Dhraba, California,
  filed suit against Unocal and oth-
  ers in 1999  for impacts to the
  water supply of more than 15,000
  Dinuba  residents,  seeking  to
  recover costs for alternative water
  supplies  and water treatment.
• The City of Cambria, California,
  filed suit against Chevron alleging
  the  company contaminated  a
  source of its drinking water.
• The Village of East Alton, Illinois,
  has filed suit against companies
  that  manufactured  and   sold
  MTBE when they knew or should
  have  known that it would reach
  groundwater and  pollute public
  water supplies.
• The Plainview Water District in
  Nassau  County, New York/ has
  filed suit against ExxonMobil. The
  water district is worried that the
  company's  1997  gasoline  spill
  may result in MTBE entering its
  drinking-water wells. The lawsuit
  contends that the company's use
  of MTBE was negligent because
  the company "knew or should
  have  known" that the chemical is
  water soluble and  is a  potential
  carcinogen inappropriate for use
  in the kind of underground tanks
  where it  was stored."
• The Town of Sturbridge, Massa-
  chusetts, filed suit in December
  2000 against Mobil, Atlantic Rich-
  field, and Shell for contaminating
  one of the town's three wells.

    A Marysville, California, law-
suit, filed by two Marysville property
owners  who alleged that their land
was contaminated by MTBE  and
other chemicals from a leaking gas
station,  was dismissed in July by a
federal  judge.  William and  Billie
Kuneman sued the Marysville  Water
Service  Co., two oil companies, and
others,  alleging that  leaking USTs
had contaminated one well that sup-
plied water to city residents. The suit
sought damages and a fund so that
Marysville could own and operate its
own water supply. In dismissing the
case, the federal judge said that the
Kunemans had mistakenly sought
recovery of cleanup costs under the
federal CERCLA Act of 1980, which
excludes petroleum-related contami-
nants, and that they failed to give 90-
day notice of their intention to sue
the EPA and the California Attorney
General under provisions of RCRA.
Since no case remained under federal
law, the case was also not continued
on the state claims.
    Due to a release at a gasoline sta-
tion in Pascoag, Rhode Island, the
state's Department of Environmental
Management (DEM) filed suit in Sep-
tember 2001 against the owners and
operators of  a Mobil gas station,
charging that they  have not  done
enough to address a gasoline leak on
their property that might be contami-
nating Pascoag's drinking water sup-
ply. They are already under order
from the DEM to investigate and
clean up the spill.  The leak is the
prime suspect in the contamination
of the district's wells, which lie about
1,700 feet away. The complaint asks
the court to force the  defendants to
do more to investigate and clean up
the gasoline and to fine the defen-
dants up to $25,000/day dating back
to September 13, 2001 for failing to
obey DEM's  original orders.  The
water district may become a party to
the case, rather than filing separate
    In August 2001,  two Hyde Park,
New York, residents filed suit in state
Supreme Court, seeking $1.76 billion
each, alleging that MTBE leaked from
nearby gasoline stations and created
a health hazard. Sixteen companies
were  named  in   the  suits   and
amended claims were expected to
name additional codefendants. The
suits state that the families will suffer
health problems as  a result of their
exposure and that their properties
have been devalued to the point
where they are "worthless." The suits
ask that the companies be found neg-
ligent for contaminating the ground-
water and for failure to warn of the
potential dangers of MTBE exposure.
Toxics Targeting, an environmental
consulting firm that  specializes in
MTBE matters, stated that govern-
ment agencies discovered extensive
contamination in 1979 and never told
the community about the problem.
The state was not named as a defen-
dant in the lawsuit due to restrictions
placed on lawsuits against govern-
ments and because the state didn't
cause the contamination. In February
2001,  five residents in the affected
area filed a class-action federal law-
suit against 11 major oil companies,
claiming that their drinking water
had been contaminated with MTBE.
As  of August 2001, 77 homes have
had carbon filters installed.
    The Suffolk County, New York,
legislature has retained a law firm to
force major oil companies to clean up
the county's water  supply.  The
county has chosen the law firm of
Weitz and Luxemberg, who recently
won a settlement against Exxon in
the Tahoe area. The firm will work on
a contingency basis, footing the bills
and taking its fee out of any settle-
ment  that may be reached.  Long
Islanders are totally dependent  on
groundwater. Last year, former EPA
Administrator Carol Browner said
the island "faces one of the worst sit-
uations." There are at least 300 indi-
vidual spills in Sussex County alone.
In August, a Manhattan judge han-
dling several MTBE cases rejected an
oil company motion to dismiss a case,
deferring until a trial this question of
fact: Were there safer additives to
use? Suffolk  County may join this
    In the Doylestown,  Pennsylva-
nia, area, Tosco Refining and Exxon-
Mobil are facing two lawsuits over
groundwater  contaminated  with
MTBE. Local lawyers filed a class-
action suit over  contamination at
Pools Corner in 2000. The owners of
32 private wells near the gas stations
filed the suit,  and the lawyers hoped
to represent  a class of as many as
10,000 plaintiffs.
    In August 2001, another suit was
filed in a Bucks County Court by the
Texas law firm that recently won a
major  California settlement.  The
recent suit, filed on behalf of the
owners of four properties, said Tosco
and Exxon, the owners of the stations
that impacted their wells, should pay
them  at least $300,000 for violating
state and federal environmental laws
and putting their health at risk.
    According to the latest lawsuit,
Exxon officials knew as  early as the
mid-1980s  that putting MTBE  in
gasoline was  potentially dangerous.
The suit claims the companies failed
               • continued on page 12


 LUSTLine Bulletin 39
 m MTBE Litigation from page 11

 to properly monitor wells around
 two gas stations at Pools Corner. The
 suit also names a local environmental
 firm, Groundwater Technology, Inc.
 of Philadelphia, as liable.
    In   November   2000,   the
 Doylestown Intelligencer published a
 three-part series on MTBE, and  at
 least 50 additional articles within the
 next few months. The  series dis-
 cussed recent discoveries of well con-
 tamination in eight or nine towns
 north of Philadelphia, where large
 numbers of domestic wells have been
 impacted by MTBE. I expect that
 many other lawsuits have been  or
 will be filed in these towns.
    In November 1983, 300 to 400
 gallons of gasoline leaked out of an
 UST at a Conoco-owned gasoline sta-
 tion in Wrightsboro, North Carolina.
 In May 1995, MTBE and  benzene
 were found in 11 of 12 wells that pro-
 vide  water to two  mobile home
 parks, with some 178 of these resi-
 dents reporting illnesses.  In  1997,
 Conoco settled out of court for $36
 million. The jury had already found
 Conoco liable for negligence and
 fraud in covering up gasoline spills at
 its Wrightsboro station. This was one
 of the first MTBE cases to be decided.

Obviously  the water  supplies of
Santa Monica and Tahoe have been
seriously impaired, and  scores of
"smaller" examples can be cited. The
Maine study, for example, shows that
approximately 15 percent of public
water  supplies  tested contained
detectable levels of MTBE, and 1 per-
cent exceeded  the state drinking
water guideline. Costs for treating
impaired water sources should fall to
those causing the contamination, not
the innocent customer, and these
treatment costs can run to millions of
    Consider the number of domestic
wells that are in close proximity to
gasoline stations—wells  that may
never have been tested for MTBE and
other gasoline components. Whether
or not health  risks effects  can be
demonstrated  from exposure to
MTBE or its breakdown products, the
American consumer should have the
right to drinking water that is uncon-

taminated by unnecessary chemi-
cals—water  without a  turpentine
taste or odor. The consumer should
also not have to face a  lifetime of
worry over whether the chemical that
they have consumed for an unknown
number of years may  have some
long-term effects that haven't yet
been identified.
   As a member of EPA's Blue Rib-
bon Panel, which issued its recom-
mendations in July 1999 and its final
report in September 1999 calling for
the elimination or substantial reduc-
tion of the amount of MTBE in gaso-
line, I had great optimism that we
would quickly  see  some  action
towards that end. But it wasn't until
March 2000 that EPA Administrator
Carol Browner or Dan Click of the
Department of Agriculture first com-
mented on the report, and here it is
November 2001 and there has still
been little progress made towards
eliminating MTBE.
   So here we sit, in our oxygenate
rollercoaster, anticipating action on
eliminating MTBE, only to be disap-
pointed again. Actions that seem to
be pending in Congress  tend to be
politically rather than scientifically
influenced. As much as I dislike
lawyers and lawsuits, they seem to be
the only way to move the process
ahead, keeping the issue in the public
eye and potentially bringing compen-
sation to  those  who have  been
impacted.  If we were to manage to
eliminate MTBE tomorrow, we will
still be dealing with MTBE cleanups
10 years from now. Some of the law-
suits attempt to shift the costs of the
cleanups and water-supply replace-
ments to those who are responsible
for the problem. •

   Pat Ellis is a hydrologist with the
 Delaware DNREC UST Branch. She is
  a technical advisor and regular con-
   tributor to LUSTLine. She can be
 reached at

   The ASTSWMO MTBE and Fuel
 Oxygenates Workgroup Newsletter
 contains a section on MTBE litigation
   that attempts to keep current on
 MTBE litigation activities. References
 to most of the cases cited can be found
 in the newsletters, which are posted at
EPA  Issues


Fuels  Report

       On October 24, 2001, U.S. EPA
       released its "Study of Bou-
       tique Fuels and Issues Relat-
ing to Transition from Winter and
Summer Gasoline" (EPA420-R-01-
051) The study was conducted in
response to a May 17, 2001, directive
contained in the National Energy
Policy Report requiring EPA  to
"study opportunities to maintain or
improve the environmental benefits
of state and local 'boutique' clean
fuel programs while exploring ways
to increase the flexibility of the fuels
distribution infrastructure..."
    In its report, EPA identifies sev-
eral regulatory changes that can be
made in the near term that could
help  to  moderate gasoline price
spikes during future transition peri-
ods when fuel producers switch from
winter- to  summer-grade cleaner-
burning gasoline. In both 2000 and
2001, gasoline prices rose sharply
during this transition period, particu-
larly in the Midwest.
    In examining the current situa-
tion and future outlook for boutique
fuels, EPA  consulted with over 40
stakeholder groups, including gaso-
line refiners, distributors and mar-
keters,  pipeline  operators,  auto
manufacturers, state and local gov-
ernment officials, and environmental
and public health organizations.
    EPA identified two issues that
need to be addressed. The first is the
need  for greater flexibility in the
process by which fuel marketers
make the transition from winter- to
summer-grade reformulated gaso-
line (RFG).  The second issue is the
number of state and local boutique
fuels programs and the challenges
that this presents to the gasoline dis-
tribution system.
    The report discusses the actions
that EPA will take in the near term to
ensure a more orderly  transition
from winter- to summer-grade RFG.
EPA is prepared to act quickly on
this set of administrative and regula-
tory actions to provide new flexibil-
ity to refiners in  advance of next
               • continued on page 25

                                                                                         LUSTLine Bulletin 39
Microbes and Fuel Systems
The  Overlooked Corrosion  Problem
by Fred Passman

        Microbes play an indispens-
        able role  in cycling both
        organic and mineral mole-
cules essential to maintaining life on
earth. We depend on the activities of
microbes to breakdown wastes and
convert them into nutrients to sus-
tain the food chain. We use microbes
to produce foods ranging from bread
to sausage. Microbes  within our
intestinal tracts enable  us to derive
nutrition from the foods we eat. Suf-
fice it to say we derive  tremendous
benefit from the various processes by
which organisms break down both
organic and inorganic materials.
   When discussing material break-
down in positive terms, we use the
terms of either biodegradation or biore-
mediation. Biodegradation includes all
processes by which organisms break
down  materials.   Bioremediation
specifically refers to processes with
which microbes or other organisms
are used to  fix a  problem.  Wit
respect to leaking underground std
age tanks (LUSTs), bioremediatiq
uses microbes to degrade fuel
has seeped into the ground.
   It's a short leap of understand
ing, then, to recognize that the sanw
processes that serve our needs may
also cause problems. The same bio-
logical processes that enable us to
clean up spilled fuel using bioreme-
diation can also degrade fuel stored
in tanks. This undesired biodegrada-
tion is called biodeterioration.
   During the past decade, govern-
ment and industry have directed con-
siderable effort and resources toward
reducing the risk of soil  and ground-
water contamination from LUSTs.
Although leak prevention technolo-
gies don't overtly presume that tanks
fail from either inside or outside,
most  of the preventive measures
address mitigation of the risk of fail-
ure due to corrosion or other insults
working from a   tank's  outside
towards its interior. In particular,
leaks  caused by galvanic corrosion
have received considerable attention.
                                       But there is another underappre-
                                   ciated corrosion process that I'd like
                                   to discuss. It takes place in all types
                                   of UST systems, and microbes play a
                                   key role. It's called microbially influ-
                                   enced corrosion (MIC).

                                   Fuel and Corrosion
                                   The first report of gasoline biodeteri-
                                   oration was published in 1895 [1].
                                   Subsequently, researchers  demon-
                                   strated that microbes could degrade
                                   crude oil and all grades of liquid fuel.
                                   (See Davis's excellent 1967 mono-
                                   graph [2] and the 1984 compilation of
                                   papers edited by Atlas  [3].)  Fuel
                                   biodeterioration can be grouped into
                                   four general  groups of processes:
                                   •  Microbes  can attack the hydrocar-
                                      bon and  non-hydrocarbon fuel
                                      molecules directly, thereby chang-
                                      ing the fuel's chemical and perfor-
                                       mance properties.
                                         robes  growing in  bottoms-
                                         2rs or within biofilms (more on
                                          in a  bit)  produce  biosurfac-
                                       _ils—detergent molecules—which
                                      caih transport water-soluble mole-
                                      cules into fuel and disperse fuel
                                      molecules into water.
                                   •  Low molecular weight molecules
                                      excreted as microbial wastes may
                                      react with  fuel  molecules and
                                      accelerate  particle   formation.
                                      Some of these waste molecules are
                                      acidic and can make the fuel more
                                   •  Microbial metabolism of sulfur
                                      molecules can make fuels  more
                                      sour  (fuel  souring is  directly
                                      related to  the effect of reactive sul-
                                      fur on its  corrosivity as measured
                                      by the Doctor Test [4]).

                                       Clearly,    several   of   these
                                   processes change the chemistry of
                                   fuels to make the fuels potentially
                                   corrosive to materials used in UST
                                   construction. These are examples of
                                   indirect MIC.
    Much of the seminal research on
MIC was conducted in the 1940s. In
1945, Professor John Starkey pro-
posed a model for MIC [5]. Starkey's
model assumed that during MIC,
iron ions dissolved from the metal at
anodic sites on its surface. Electrons
flowing from the anodic site to the
cathodic site would attract hydrogen
ions (protons), which would accumu-
late at the cathode. Were this hydro-
gen layer left undisturbed, electron
flow would be arrested and the gal-
vanic cell passivated.
    According to Starkey, sulfate-
reducing bacteria  (SRB)  used the
hydrogen ions that would otherwise
have accumulated at the cathodic end
of a  galvanic  cell. This process,
known as depassivation, accelerated
the galvanic corrosion rate. As with
most models, Starkey's was an over-
simplification of the process; how-
ever, it was a major contribution to
our understanding of MIC.
    Research  on the  causes and
dynamics of  MIC  remains  a vital
branch of microbial ecology. Today,
we recognize a variety of processes
that contribute to MIC. A number of
microbes, in addition to SRB, depas-
sivate metal surfaces. All of these
microbes share a common class of
enzymes called hydrogenases. The
very process of colonizing surfaces
creates chemical and electropotential
gradients that drive corrosion. More-
over, weak organic acids can react
with dissolved chloride salts to create
locally  high   concentrations  of
hydrochloric acid that can acid-etch
metal surfaces [6, 7]. Microbes most
commonly create patterns of corro-
sion pits, as illustrated in Figure 1.
    Microbial   communities   can
attack polymers used in composites
such as fiberglass-reinforced plastic
(FRP) used for UST construction. As
the polymers are attacked, gaps form
between resin and fiber. Fluid seeps
into  these gaps and  subsequent
weakening of fiber integrity follows
               • continued on page 14


LUSTLine Bulletin 39
 • Microbes and Fuel Systems
from page 13	

as the fluid goes through repeated
expansion and contraction (freeze-
thaw) cycles [8]. In contrast to the pit-
ting pattern seen in steel tanks, MIC
in FRP tanks is more likely to cause
structural failure along a line of activ-
ity (more on this below).

How Do Microbes Get into
Fuel Systems?
Microbes can get into fuel systems in
various ways:
• Vent lines: All tanks are vented. As
  product is drawn from the tank, it
  creates a vacuum. Air drawn in
  through the tank's vent restores
  the air pressure within the tank to
  equilibrium with the air pressure
  (atmospheric pressure) outside
  the tank. Normal atmospheric air
  is full of water droplets and dust
  particles that carry microbes. Con-
  sequently, tank venting, essential
  to  keep tanks from collapsing
  under atmospheric pressure, is a
  major entry route for contaminat-
  ing microbes.
• Fuel transport: Microbes can be
  transported from refinery tanks or
  barges through pipelines and ter-
  minal tanks throughout the fuel
  distribution system.
• Water in the system: Relatively
  small volumes of water can sup-
  port localized pockets or niches of
  microbial growth wherever a few
  milliliters of water can accumulate
  in the system.
• UST Jill-pipe sumps: These are an
  excellent source of water contain-
  ing  high numbers of microbes.
  When surface water fills the sump
  and  is  subsequently  drained
  through the  overflow   return
  valve, the fuel within the UST
  receives a significant dose of bqth
  water and microbes.,
Where Do Microbes
Fuel Systems?
Once a microbe has arrivi
fuel system, water is
vival. Good fuel may carry as^mucn"
as 0.1  percent water. Most orTfas"
water remains dispersed in the fuel
as bound  or associated  water. The
amount of bound water that dissoci-
ates from  the fuel depends on the

  Figure 1. Corrosion pit pattern in UST. Notice concentration of
  pits in rows at the approximate low inventory level. Flash evapo-
  ration typically prevents biofilm development above this level.
  fuel's additive package, its residence
  time in the tank, and the fuel's tem-
  perature. Some  additives,  such as
  ethanol, increase water's solubility or
  dispersiblity in fuel.
     As product  stands, water will
  continue to dissociate—the longer the
  residence time in a tank, the greater
  the volume of water that is  likely to
  fall out. Water's solubility in fuel
  increases with temperature. As fuel
  cools, it tends to reject water. It's the
  nature of fuel,  then, to transport
  water into tanks at each stage of dis-
  tribution, from refinery to end-user
  service tank.
     Most of the water that dissociates
  from fuel  during storage in a tank
  will fall to the bottom. Some will con-
  dense on the interior tank shell sur-
  face. If the surface is free of biofilm,
  the condensed water will run down
  the sides of the shell and accumulate
  as bottoms-water. Where biofilm is
  present, the condensed water is more
  likely to become entrained within
  this film.
     If we were to follow our newly
  arrived microbe, we would see tRat
  initially it  settles  slowly  down
  through the fuel, along with the par-
  ticle with which it rode into the tank.
  If  the particle's  specific  gravity
«J$w.eight relative to that  of water) is
  *" ?ater than that of the fuel, but less
     m that of water, the particle may
      " to rest at the fuel-water bound-
       Iternatively,  convection cur-
   •e'nts within the fuel may transport
  the particle to the fuel-shell interface.
  If the microbe is a slime-former, it
  will attach itself to the surface and
  begin reproducing. Similarly, at the
  fuel-water interface, it will begin to
            form a biofilm layer,
            sometimes referred to
            as a skinnogen layer.
            The  slime enables the
            microbe to  create  a
            microenvironment that
            permits further growth
            and  proliferation. The
            slime also traps other
            microbes that may be
            settling through  the
                Over time, a con-
            sortium develops.  A
            consortium is a group
            of unrelated  microbes
            that form a community
            that is able to carry out
bioconversion processes that none of
its individual members could carry
out alone. For example,  the SRB,
mentioned earlier, require an oxy-
gen-free environment in  order to
grow. Microbes that require oxygen
do at least two things to create condi-
tions favorable for SRB. First, they
consume the available oxygen, creat-
ing the requisite oxygen-free condi-
tions  deep  within the   biofilm.
Second,   they  metabolize  large
organic molecules that SRB can't use
as food and excrete the smaller mole-
cules on which SRB thrive. By con-
suming these small molecules, SRB
prevent  them from accumulating
within the biofilm and becoming
toxic to the microbes that generated
them as wastes.
    For  microbes to thrive within
fuel systems, they need to aggregate
within biofilms that can form consor-
tia, trap water and nutrients, and
protect  the resident populations
from the potentially hostile outside
environment. Biofilm communities
are most likely to develop at the fuel-
water interface, lower portions of the
tank shell surface,  and within bottom
sludge and sediment.
    In diesel and  heavier grade fuel
tanks, biofilms can cover the entire
tank  surface.  Gasoline  is  more
volatile.  In this case, as product is
drawn from the tank, exposing sur-
faces, gasoline evaporates from those
surfaces  fast enough to also dehy-
drate them. Consequently, biofilms
tend to form at and below the tank's
normal low ullage level. At most fuel
retail sites, this is the bottom third of
the tank (assuming 3,000 gallon
[11,340 liters] minimum inventory in
a 10,000 gallon [37,854 liter] UST).

                                                                                             LUSTLim Bulletin 39
Heaviest biofilm development is typ-
ically at the level where the fuel-
water interface intersects with the
shell surface. Most often this is the
zone between  10s and 20s arc, on
either side of bottom dead center.

How Do Microbes Attack Fuel
System Components?

Steel USTs
With an understanding  of how
microbes  enter fuel systems  and
where they tend to accumulate, we
can  revisit  the  biodegradation
processes mentioned earlier. Some
microbes can use fuel hydrocarbons
as their sole source of organic nutri-
tion. Others can use fuel additives
and other non-hydrocarbon fuel mol-
ecules as food. Some microbes that
thrive in fuel systems may not be able
to use any molecules in fuel as food.
As I illustrated above, for the SRB,
these microbes rely on the byprod-
ucts  of other microbes for nutrition.
   In steel tanks, MIC is primarily
an incidental consequence of micro-
bial activity. Biofilms create chemical
and   electropotential   gradients,
thereby inducing galvanic corrosion.
Conditions within biofilms are typi-
cally acidic and reducing, contribut-
ing further to metal dissolution.
   Within   corrosion  tubercles,
strong inorganic acids, particularly
hydrochloric, can form from the reac-
tion between chloride salts and weak
organic  acids. The tubercle crust pre-
vents the   aggressively corrosive
hydrochloric acid from diffusing into
the system outside the tubercle. Con-
sequently, severe acid etching pro-
ceeds within the tubercle.
   Additionally, if SRB are present,
they generate hydrogen sulfide. The
hydrogen sulfide then reacts with
free iron ions to form ferrous sulfide.
The net result is a characteristically
spherical corrosion pit, resulting in a
pinhole leak as the outer margin of
the pit  breaks  through  the  tank's

Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic USTs
As mentioned earlier, the dynamics
of FRP UST biodeterioration are quite
different. At this point, it is not cer-
tain whether microbes use composite
polymers  as food  or if enzymes
intended to break down other mole-
cules (actually used  as food) attack
the polymers.
    In the studies performed to date,
 other nutrients  have always been
 available to the microbes degrading
 FRP. In the case of fuel USTs, the
 point is perhaps moot. Microbes colo-
 nizing FRP surfaces have the same
 cornucopia of nutrients available as
 those colonizing steel tank surfaces.
    Regardless of whether FRP poly-
 mers are used as  food, the end result
 is shortened polymer chain lengths.
 This translates into weaker structure
 and increased brittleness. It's possible
 for the bottom few inches of an FRP
 UST to separate from the rest of the
 tank (recall  my comment about maxi-
 mal biofilm development at the level
 where the fuel-water interface meets
 the tank shell).

 Lined USTs
 Steel USTs that have been lined with
 a coating are subject to a third type of
 biodeterioration. If a coating has even
 a single holiday (break in  the
 coating's uniformity), water and
 microbes can gain access to the coat-
 ing-shell boundary.  Colonization
 begins at the holiday and spreads out
 from  there.  Biofilm  development
 between coating and shell is particu-
 larly insidious because it's so difficult
, to detect until the coating begins to
 blister away from the shell. Although
 the process has  not been studied
 thoroughly, it is likely that the biode-
 terioration  mechanisms  described
 above for both steel and FRP USTs
 are   active  when  microbes live
 between coating and tank shell mate-
, rials. Both the coating and underly-
 ing steel are attacked.

 Detecting Microbial
 My  earlier discussion  of  where
 microbes tend to grow within fuel
 systems also illustrates the difficulty
 of recognizing microbial contamina-
 tion before  system components are
 destroyed. It is nearly impossible to
 retrieve swab samples of slime from
 tank  walls  without gaining  direct
 access to the tank.
    The methods  described here can-
 not provide information as conclu-
 sive as that obtained by entering a
 tank, making observations, and col-
 lecting samples directly.  However,
 the preentry process of making a tank
 safe for entry is costly and time con-
 suming. Moreover, it destroys much
 of the evidence that would be useful
. to a microbiologist. The only practical
 alternative is to  pull fluidj
 and use them as surrogate
 what may be happening
 shell surface.
    Samples tradit
 for fuel quality
 information about either tnepreserice
 of microbes or whemersignificant
 biodeterioration in underway within
 the tank. Moreover, many of biodete-
 rioration's symptoms mimic those of
 non-biological deterioration.  Not-
 withstanding these challenges, it is
 possible to monitor fuel systems for
 both microbial contamination and
    I refer readers to ASTM's Stan-
 dard Guide to Microbial Contamination
 in Fuels and Fuel Systems (D6469 [9])
 for a more detailed discussion of the
 topics covered in this section.

 Monitoring begins with collecting the
 best possible sample. A full chapter
 of the forthcoming ASTM Manual on
 Microbial Contamination of Fuels and
 Fuel Systems (due to be published in
 early 2002) is devoted to sampling
 strategies  and techniques. Bottom
 samples from the low end of a UST
 are most likely  to provide  useful
 microbiological information. This is
 often the first challenge.
    Regardless of the intentions of
 UST installers, many USTs settle by
 the tank's turbine (submerged pump)
 end. A well-designed system will
 have a sampling port or other access
 fitting near the turbine distribution
 manifold to permit both sampling
 and water removal from this end of
 the UST. I am always delighted on
 the rare occasions when I encounter
 such systems. More often, the turbine
 must be pulled in order to get  a bot-
 tom sample from this end of a UST.
    Unless the UST's trim has been
 measured (fuel ullage at fill and tur-
 bine ends) and determined to be trim
 (low) at the fill-end, bottom samples
 should be taken  from both ends of
 the UST.
    Samples should be collected with
 a Bacon bomb or similar true bottom
 sampler. Each sample is dispensed
 through  a clean funnel into an
 unused  glass  sample  bottle. The
 advantage of using glass will become

                • continued on page 16

 LUSTLinc Bulletin 39
m Microbes and Fuel Systems
from page 15	

evident in the next section.
    If dispensers calibrated to deliver
10 gpm (38 liters /min) are delivering
< 7 gpm (27 liters/min), pull the dis-
penser filter and save it for examina-
tion. Test the dispenser flow rate after
installing a fresh filter. If the rate
hasn't returned to normal (the actual
rate may be < 10 gpm if customers
are taking fuel while you are running
the  test),  corrosion  may  have
degraded valve operation. (Hint: if
you discover corroded components
between the UST and the dispenser,
suspect UST biodeterioration.)
      .r Rag (invert emulsion) ia
 Figure 2. Fuel tank bottom sample showing
 haze 5 fuel over bottoms-water. Note the rag
 layer that has developed between the fuel and
 water phases. Similar to the tank shell biofilm,
 the rag layer is home to dense microbial pop-

 Gross Observations
 There are a number of simple obser-
 vations that provide excellent indica-
 tions  as  to   whether  significant
 biodeterioration is occurring within a
 particular system. Figure 2 illustrates
 a heavily contaminated bottom sam-
 ple. Note the well-defined region
 between the bottoms-water and fuel.
 This invert-emulsion (water in fuel)
 zone is called the rag layer. If s caused
 by the production of biosurfactants
 and skinnogens at  the fuel-water
    Rag layers may also be caused by
 chemical incompatibilities within the
 fuel. However, rag layers produced
 by microbes will (a) tend to adhere to
 the jar's side if you tilt the jar gently;
 (b) have stalactites of slime protrud-

ing into the water phase, stalagmites
of slime  projecting into the  fuel
phase, or both; and (c) will often be
membranous or difficult to disperse.
A well-defined rag-layer biofilm is a
strong indicator of biofilm develop-
ment on tank walls.
   To determine if the sample's sed-
iment contains lots of rust particles,
dip the magnetic end of a stirring bar
retriever into the sample bottle and
swirl it gently on the bottom of the
bottle for  a few seconds. (A stirring
bar retriever is a long, plastic-coated
wand with a magnet that is encapsu-
lated into one end; lab technicians
use stirring bar retrievers routinely to
pull  magnetic stirring bars from test
flasks.) Remove the retriever from
the bottle and look for magnetic par-
ticles on its tip. If magnetic  debris
covers more than half of the bottom
of the stirring bar retriever, then rust
accumulation  is  significant  and
should be  investigated further.
   Bottoms-water  samples  from
heavily infected tanks may also have
distinctive odors. Strong sulfide or
ammonia odors are characteristic of
sulfate and nitrate reduction, respec-
   Open plugged filters for inspec-
tion. If the filter is plugged with rust
or if the housing is corroding, suspect
MIC activity within your system.

Other Tests
A complete diagnostic evaluation of
biodeterioration in a UST requires a
battery of physical, chemical, and
microbiological tests [9]. Of these, the
traditional  microbiological tests—
inoculating growth media to see
what grows—are often the least use-
ful. Many microbes that are perfectly
content and thriving in the contami-
nated  system may  (a) not get cap-
tured in the sample; or (b) not grow
in the medium into which we trans-
fer   them.  Negative  test  results
obtained with the various commer-
cially available growth test kits may
provide encouraging but misleading
information. If MIC is suspected, a
microbiologist trained in fuel and
fuel  system biodeterioration should
be called  in to perform a thorough

Controlling Microbial
Good housekeeping goes a long way
toward preventing UST biodeteriora-
tion. Recognizing that water and j§4v'»
iment is going to be defeej-*51**^*-1*-' ''
product, UST owners shoji"~*
regular monitoring anc
programs.  As noted
effective, samples and water*dra\
need to be taken from the tank's low-
    Although dry tankage is theoreti-
cally possible, it's impractical. Even
in the aviation industry where fuel is
filtered and dewatered at each step of
the distribution process, water still
reaches aircraft fuel tanks where it is
dealt with through the use of deicing
additives.  Even   if   USTs   were
designed to permit water draw from
the their  lowest point, tank wall
biofilms will entrain significant water
(a 1/8-inch thick biofilm, covering
30 percent of the  surface of a 10,000
gallon UST, can hold several gallons
of water—a veritable ocean from the
perspective of microbes). This means
that over  time,  most tanks  will
develop microbe biofilms.
    In fuel  systems,  biofilms may
take three to six months to develop
[10]. Since UST biodeterioration is
unlikely to occur in the absence of a
biofilm consortium,  it makes sense to
minimize the risk of biofilm forma-
tion.  Periodic  treatment  with an
antimicrobial pesticide can prevent
biofilm maturation. I generally rec-
ommend treating tanks two or three
times per year,  depending on test
data. All treatments should be data
driven. If there's  no evidence of
biofilm development, the interval
between treatments can be extended.
If samples  show that  a  rag  layer
forms within two months after treat-
ment,  I recommend treating  more
    The U.S. EPA approves only a
limited number of antimicrobial pes-
ticides for use in fuel systems. Before
treating a UST with an antimicrobial
pesticide, contact either a manufac-
turer or manufacturer's representa-
tive who is knowledgeable about
treatment  protocols,  dosing, han-
dling (all antimicrobial pesticides are
treated as hazardous materials), and
product selection.
    Some products are primarily fuel
soluble; others are  only water solu-
ble. The most effective products have
at least some solubility in both fuel
and water. Products also differ in
their respective ranges of microbici-

                                                           LUSTLine Bulletin 39
 cfal activity. A few of the products
 approved for use in fuel systems
 have a secondary function as corro-
 sion inhibitors. A reputable profes-
 sional can help you determine what
 products and treatments are most
 likely to give you successful control.
     If a tank is already heavily conta-
 minated, chemical treatment alone is
 unlikely to be satisfactory. First, all
 antimicrobial pesticides are used up
 as they kill microbes. If a tank is
 coated with  a thick biofilm, the
 microbicide is probably going to be
 used  up  before  the tank is  disin-
 fected. Some microbicide molecules
 will get trapped in the biofilm with-
 out ever  coming into contact with
 their targets.
     Second, a successful microbicide
 treatment will disrupt the biofilm
 sufficiently to cause large pieces
 (floes) of biofilm material to slough
 off of the  tank's walls. A significant
 percentage of these floes will be
 transported to the dispenser filters,
 which will consequently plug prema-
     Heavily   contaminated   tanks
 should be cleaned within 24 hours
 after an initial "shock" treatment.
 There are a number of commercial
 systems for cleaning tanks.  Some
 require direct access; others use tub-
 ing or hoses that are inserted into the
    The most effective systems recir-
 culate  and polish the fuel at high
 (> 200 gpm) flow rates and use direc-
 tional nozzles to scour tank surfaces.
 Systems designed to operate at < 100
 gpm  are  fine for pulling water,
 sludge, and sediment off of tank bot-
 toms, but are ineffective against tank
 shell biofilms. Aggressive tank clean-
 ing, as a biodeterioration control mea-
 sure, should only be needed once
 every five to ten years, if if s accompa-
 nied by periodic preventive treat-

 Microbes ... in a Tank Shell
 Left  undetected  and untreated,
 microorganisms can infect fuel sys-
 tems, develop consortia communi-
 ties,   and  cause   fuel   system
 component  failures ranging  from
 premature dispenser filter plugging
 to leaking  USTs. Most UST installa-
 tions do not make it easy to pull the
bottom samples that are most useful
for monitoring biodeterioration risk.
 Optimally, all USTs should be fitted
 with sample collection and dewater-
 ing access near each end of the tank.
 Currently, most USTs can only be
 sampled at the fill-pipe, unless ser-
 vice engineers pull the turbine, the
 electronic gauging device, or both.
 Consequently, significant volumes of
 water can accumulate in tanks unde-
     Microbes find all of the water
 and nutrients they require in fuel
 tanks.  The erroneous conventional
 wisdom that gasoline is less suscepti-
 ble to  microbial  attack is  based on
 several decades of experience with
 product containing tetraethyl lead.
 Once tetraethyl lead  (itself an effec-
 tive  unregistered microbicide) was
 removed from automotive gasoline,
 microbes  reinhabited gasoline sys-
 tems. In  my experience,  gasoline
 tanks support considerably higher
 numbers of microbes than do diesel
     Microbes find all of the water and
   Mjjj/its they require in fueHanks.
    The mere presence of microbes
 does not necessarily mean that sys-
 tem  biodeterioration is occurring.
 Symptoms of system change are bet-
 ter biodeterioration indicators. Look
 for rag layer development or accu-
 mulation of rust particles in bottom
 samples. Smell for sulfide or ammo-
 nia.  Keep track  of filter-plugging
 rates. In a clean system, filters can
 process  (filter) 250,000 gal or more
 without affecting flow rate. In an
 infected system, filters may start
 plugging before  having processed
 50,000 gallons of fuel.
    Historically, MIC in USTs has
 received relatively  little  attention.
 Leakage caused by MIC probably
 accounted for 10 to 20 percent of all
 leaking  USTs.  Several  watershed
 events over the past decade, how-
 ever, may change  these  statistics.
 LUST regulations have reduced the
 risk of leaks caused by galvanic cor-
 rosion from the UST's exterior. The
fuel industry has also changed.
    While  consumer demand  has
grown steadily at 5 to 7 percent annu-
ally,  shell capacity has  shrunk at
approximately the same rate. This
 means that product throughput rates
 have climbed 10 to 14 percent annu-
 ally. In other words, there's less time
 for water and sediment to settle out
 of the fuel at each stage of the distrib-
 ution system. More water and sedi-
 ment   (along   with   passenger
 microbes) get transported through
 from refinery to end-user.
     In response to clean air regula-
 tions, fuel   chemistry  has  also
 changed. Although there is no gen-
 eral agreement so far, it's likely that
 the  net  effect  of these  chemical
 changes  (in both basic product and
 additive packages) has been to make
 fuels more susceptible to biodeterio-
 ration. In short, history is not neces-
 sarily a good predictor of the future
 likelihood of UST biodeterioration.
     Steel, composite, and lined tanks
 are all susceptible to biodeterioration.
 In the recent past, most UST owners
 invested heavily to ensure that their
 systems complied with LUST regula-
 tions. Relatively inexpensive good
 housekeeping, coupled with periodic
 preventive treatment, can minimize
 the risk  of uncontrolled microbial
 contamination wiping out the return
 on the upgrade investment. •

  Fred Passman is an industrial micro-
  bial ecologist and owner of Biodeterio-
    ration Control Associates, Inc., a
   consulting firm dedicated to helping
  industry recognize and control micro-
 bial contamination in process fluid sys-
       tems. He can be reached at
[I]  Myoshi, M. J. J. Wins. Bot. 1895.28,269-289.
[2]  Davis, J.B. Petroleum Microbiology. Elsevier
    Publishing Company, Amsterdam. 1967.
[3]  Atlas, R. M. Ed. Petroleum Microbiology.
    Macmillan, New York. 1984. 692 pp.
[4]  ASTM. "D4952 Standard Test Method for
    Qualitative Analysis for Active Sulfur
    Species in Fuels and Solvents" (Doctor
    Test). ASTM Annual Book of Standards, Vol.
    5.03. ASTM, Conshohocken.
[5]  Starkey, R. L. and K. Wright. Bull. Amer.
    Gas Soc. Tech. Sec. 1945. p. 108.
[6]  Dexter, S.C. Ed. Biologically Induced Corro-
    sion. NACE, Houston. 1986.363 pp.
[7]  Videla, H. A. Manual of Biocorrosion. CRC
    Press, Boca Raton. 1996.273 pp.
[8]  Gu, J. D., C. Lu,  R. Mitchell, K. Thorp and
    A. Crasto. Material. Perform. 1997.36:37-41.
[9]  ASTM. "D6469 Standard Guide for Micro-
    bial Contamination in Fuels and Fuel Sys-
    tems." ASTM Annual Book of Standards,
   Vol. 5.04. ASTM, Conshohocken.
[10] Passman, F. J., B. L. McFarland and M. J.
   Hillyer. Int. Biodet. Biodeg. 2001.47,95-106.


by Ben Tliomas
TT "Taving 13 years experience as
 I '  I an UST regulator, I've grap-
JL JLpled with nearly every imag-
inable  topic pertaining  to UST
prevention equipment and  opera-
tions. Frustrating and convoluted
topics, such as heating  oil tank
exemptions, leak detector testing
"per manufacturer" specifications, or
the secret  language of insurance
reporting requirements are just day-
in-the-life fodder for tank bureau-
crats like myself and others around
the country.
    But I must  confess I met my
match when I uncovered a little regu-
lation that I had somehow missed all
these years—a  regulation that has
gone quietly unnoticed by govern-
ment and industry alike. It's a seem-
ingly docile regulation that, when
taken at face value, could have saved
a number of lives in the past 10 years
had it been taken seriously.
    I'm talking about overfill preven-
tion—not  the "must-have-overfill-
device-or-high-level-alarm"  aspect.
That much we know. It's equipment.
Must be  there. What I'm  talking
about is the regulation that is sup-
posed to prevent human error from
causing    an    overfill—40  CFR
280.30(a). You know, the regulation
that says the owner/operator must
ensure that there is  enough room in
the tank prior to delivery and make
sure the transfer is completely moni- know that rule, right?
You enforce it, right? You look for
proof of this thing every time you
inspect an UST, right?

 Blip Blip
If this regulation is news to you, take
heart, it was news  to me until last
year when I came across it by acci-
 dent. I had been reading the National
 Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
 report on the 1998 Biloxi, Mississippi,
 tank overfill tragedy in which five
 people were killed and found, among
 many things, a reference to that par-
The  Missing;  Link in  Overfill
ticular law. I kept blipping over the
requirement each time I browsed the
    That's weird, I thought. I didn't
think there was a requirement for the
fuel delivery itself. I started asking
around  to see how to handle this
requirement. Here are some of the
responses I received:
 f "I  never look for  that." (state
 • inspector)
 | "I  don't know  how you could
 • measure that." (federal inspector)
 f "I think it's a worthwhile issue,
 • but we have no jurisdiction in that
   area." (industry representative)
   "Expecting UST operators to mon-
   itor fuel transfers is an inconve-
   nience." (industry representative)
   "We  can't enforce  this require-
   ment unless there is a spill, (fed-
   eral official)
   The fundamental gap in preventing
       \          !               I
    overfills lies not in the overfill
   equipment of the UST system or the
  ' • ' safe highway transport to a gas
  r station hut father in the routine
   ii   it    4   i t       < ijx  < j i n i I
  1111 Delivery of product to the tanks.
  i "•   [•  •   "•   i     .->••     -  i
 The Problem
 Federal UST regulations currently
 require owners and operators to per-
 form two important tasks related to
 preventing overfill. The two require-
 ments state: "The owner and opera-
 tor  must  ensure that  the  volume
 available in the tank is greater than the
 volume of product to be transferred to
 the tank before the transfer is made
 and that the transfer operation is moni-
 tored constantly to prevent overfilling
 and spilling." [Emphasis added.]
     Currently there is no  recom-
 mended practice, industry standard,
 or code that provides effective guid-
ance to owners and operators for
measuring, much less achieving, these
two things.
   But wait, you cry, there is guid-
ance referenced in the regs, I've seen
it. Well, yes, the regulations do pro-
vide references in 40 CFR 280.30(a)
by stating:

  The transfer procedures  de-
  scribed in National Fire Protec-
  tion Association Publication 385
  may be used to comply with
  paragraph (a) of this section.
  Further guidance on spill  and
  overfill prevention appears in
  American Petroleum Institute
  Publication  1621,  "Recom-
  mended Practice for Bulk  Liq-
  uid Stock  Control  at Retail
   Outlets," and National Fire  Pro-
   tection Association Standard 30,
   "Flammable and Combustible
   Liquids Code.

    Have you ever read these three
 documents? They really don't have
 much to do with the issue. I reviewed
 the three recommended documents
 and found nothing of substance that
 would provide guidance to help UST
 operators meet these two obligations.
 Specifically, none of these documents
 provide procedures on measuring
 tanks prior to delivery or how  to
 monitor the transfer.
    Okay,  I know you're probably
 thinking that everybody and their
 uncle knows  that drivers do these
 things, not the owners and operators.
 Unfortunately, it's not that  simple.
 One astute regulator recently pointed
 out that the lines of responsibility are
 sharply defined in the preamble of 40
 CFR 280.1 quote: "Thus, regardless of
 whether the  owner  and operator
 decides to share (by contract)  respon-
 sibility  for the monitoring of the
 transfer with the  carrier,  under

                                                                                          LUSTLine Bulletin 39
 today's final regulations the owner
 and operator will continue  to  be
 responsible in the event that there is a
 release during delivery."

 As UST equipment becomes more
 sophisticated, and as states start look-
 ing more closely at operational com-
 pliance of UST systems, outstanding
 problems are emerging.  I believe
 overfills due to human error—not
 equipment error—will be the next big
 challenge in preventing environmen-
 tal and safety hazards from USTs.
    National tank expert Marcel
 Moreau recently led a series of UST
 operator workshops in Alaska. He
 told audiences that based on his
 experience, the equipment alone will
 not stop overfills. The fundamental
 gap in preventing overfills lies not in
 the overfill equipment of the UST
 system or the safe highway transport
 to a gas station, but rather in the rou-
 tine delivery of product to the tanks.
    The  magnitude of this  issue
 extends well beyond the boundaries
 of Alaska. I forecast that this issue
 will surface sooner or later nation-
 ally. Indeed/ the high-profile overfill
 and subsequent fire in Biloxi, Missis-
 sippi, should have been a wake-up
 call to industry  and government.
 Related to the incident was a recom-
 mendation from the NTSB to the UST
 owner R.R. Morrison and Sons, Inc. It

   No  Fast Lane employee com-
   pared the amount of gasoline
   scheduled for delivery with the
   amount that the station's moni-
   toring system indicated was in
   the underground tanks to deter-
   mine  whether  the quantity
   intended for delivery would fit
   in the underground tanks; such
   a comparison,  in this case, would
   have  prevented  the  overfill.
   [Emphasis added.]

   I encourage you to get a copy of
the NTSB report. If s chilling. Down-
load   the   full   report   from
   I believe this failure to provide
adequate guidance and training, and
the lack of an articulated position
from industry and government, will
add fuel to  the next generation  of
UST problems. These problems arise
from UST systems that are deemed
safe by regulator and regulated alike,
but that continue to be overfilled.
    Now some might call this matter
trivial, in that overfills happen less
frequently than they used to, so why
put so much effort into a problem
that only happens now and then? My
response is that while I agree that
overfills  don't happen every day,
when they do, they happen big time,
and the consequences are, or can be,

Wanted: Recommended
The Alaska Department of Environ-
mental  Conservation (ADEC)  re-
cently responded to an overfill at a
convenience store in Anchorage that
illustrates the nature of the problem.
It appears that the overfill resulted in
a synergistic  combination of prob-
lems that I suspect  are typical  of
overfill incidents. The driver miscal-
culated the available ullage, the oper-
ator did not monitor the delivery, the
overfill device failed to activate in
time, and product escaped out an
opening no one suspected—the loose
cap  of  the  automatic  tank gauge
probe. This investigation reinforces
the notion that equipment alone will
not prevent overfills from occurring.
We as a community need to look at
the human element of the problem.
   Since 2000, the inspection of UST
systems in Alaska has been priva-
tized. This is a good first step in iden-
tifying  and preventing problems
such as overfills. ADEC has provided
extensive guidance on how inspec-
tors  should  measure  operational
compliance of UST  systems. While
much guidance is in place for our
inspectors, none exists for evaluating
the operational methods that opera-
tors use to prevent overfills.
   We need a way to measure the
requirements put forth in state and
federal regulations that require UST
owners and operators to measure the

               • continued on page 22
   New API  Loading and  Unloading Cargo
   Tank  Motor Vehicles  Recommended
   Practice Available

      The American Petroleum Institute (API) has published a new recom-
      mended practice to help ensure the safe and efficient loading and deliv-
   ery of petroleum products to retail gasoline outlets and bulk storage
   facilities. The publication provides detailed procedures for top loading and
   bottom loading tank trucks as well as unloading to both underground stor-
   age tanks and aboveground storage tanks and to aboveground tanks located
   within vaults (pits) or within dikes or walls.
      The publication, API Recommended Practice (RP) 1007, Loading and
   Unloading ofMC 306/DOT406 Cargo Tank Motor Vehicles, First Edition, has
   been published in a new laminated and tabbed format designed especially to
   facilitate use by truck drivers.
      RP 1007 was prepared by a joint task force with representatives from
   API, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Association of Con-
   venience Stores, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, the Soci-
   ety of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, and the National Tank
   Truck Carriers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also reviewed the
      RP 1007 is available for $12.50 per copy for API members and $25 for
   nonmembers. It may be ordered from TechStreet of Ann Arbor, Michigan, by
   phone at (800) 699-9277 or (734) 302-7801; by fax at (734) 302-7811; or
   online at For additional technical information
   about the  new  RP, contact Prentiss Searles at (202) 682-8227 or at •

LUSTUne Bulletin 39
 »	::'" :::::::::::::ji"ivnj:iiSiiiiiiiiwS::^jS :ii	Ui,;:;	^	i;,u| jn||i	t^ »' T.Iiilai
                          nicaUy Speaking
                          by Marcel Moreau
                                       Marcel Moreau is a nationally    ;
                                   ^-recognized petroleum storage specialist :?
                                   fwhose column, Tank-nically Speaking,^
                                   i~'fe a regular feature o/LUSTLine. As  ;
                                   talways, we welcome your comments and •
                                   I  questions. If there are technical issues  ^
                                   i   that you would like to have Marcel   i
                                   \      discuss, let him know at
                                   p;    *
 Continuous or  Isolated?
 This Is  the Question
        When the testing of cathodi-
        cally  protected  tanks is
        mentioned in regulatory
circles (usually accompanied by
some scratching of heads and sighs
of frustration), the number that pops
into the collective consciousness is
the venerable -.85 volts. Most folks
recognize that this number consti-
tutes a "structure-to-soil" potential
measurement—a measurement that
is   fundamental   to  evaluating
whether a cathodic protection (CP)
system is functioning properly. How
to conduct and record structure-to-
soil measurements has been the topic
of previous "Tank-nically Speaking"
articles. (See LUSTLine #25, "Testing
Cathodic Protection Systems,"  and
#32,  "Combatting  CP-Test Heart-
    A recent query from a perspica-
cious regulator, however, brought to
my attention a much-neglected topic
associated with the testing of cathodi-
cally protected tanks and piping—
continuity. Or did he mean isolation?
Hmm, what do we mean?
    To say that two components of a
cathodically protected structure are
electrically continuous means that elec-
trons are able to move freely between
the  two components. (In electrical
terms, the resistance is low.) To say
that two components of a cathodi-
cally protected structure are electri-
cally isolated means that electrons are
not able to move freely between the
two components. (In electrical terms,
the resistance is very high.)
     Continuity/isolation  problems
are one of the most frequently found
causes  for the  failure  of  both
impressed and galvanic CP systems
to perform properly. Electrical conti-

nuity/isolation  is often the
first measurement that is
taken when a storage sys-
tem fails a structure-to-soil
cathodic protection test. But
how you measure the conti-
nuity or isolation of a buried
structure  is the question at
    The first  thing  to
remember  is  that  the
exact same procedures  are used to
measure both continuity and isola-
tion. To determine whether the read-
ings  obtained   on  a  particular
cathodically protected structure are
"good" or "bad," you must keep in
mind whether you are testing  an
impressed or a galvanic CP system.
Electrical continuity is a critical ele-
ment in the design of impressed cur-
rent cathodic  protection systems,
while its opposite, electrical isolation,
is a critical element  of commonly
used galvanic cathodic protection

Tools and Methods
The resistance (ohm meter) circuit of
traditional multimeters used to mea-
sure voltage, amperage, and resis-
tance  is generally not suited for
making electrical continuity/isola-
tion measurements among the vari-
ous buried metallic components of an
underground storage  system. In-
stead, continuity/isolation measure-
ments are typically made with the
same  equipment and  procedures
used in structure-to-soil cathodic pro-
tection measurements.
    To the casual observer, the mea-
surement  of  continuity/isolation
may appear identical to the structure-
to-soil   measurement.   Likewise,
because the results are recorded as
voltages  on  the  CP monitoring
record,  continuity/isolation  mea-
surements can be  readily confused
with structure-to-soil measurements
unless they are properly identified.
    To confuse matters even more,
several methodologies may be used
to evaluate the continuity/isolation
of cathodically protected systems.
The following are descriptions of
three different methods for evaluat-
ing the electrical continuity/isolation
of buried metallic structures:

GROUND  The theory here is that if
two buried metallic structures are
electrically continuous, they will both
be at the same potential (voltage) rel-
ative to a stable reference.

Place the copper/copper sulphate
reference cell (CRC) in a fixed loca-
tion, attach one of the voltmeter test
leads to the CRC, and then make con-
tact with the storage system or other
components that you wish to evalu-
ate (e.g., fill pipe, ATG  riser, sub-
mersible pump, vent pipe, tank shell,
building electrical ground) with the
second voltmeter test lead. The criti-

                                                                                            LUSTLine Bulletin 39
cal elements in this procedure are: (a)
the CRC must not budge (at all!) dur-
ing the entire  continuity/isolation
testing procedure, and (b) the volt-
meter test  lead  must make  solid
metal-to-metal contact  with  each
component that is to be evaluated.

•  It is good form to place the CRC at
   some  distance from  the struc-
   ture^) being evaluated, but I have
   had quite good luck placing the
   CRC in a central location near the
   storage systems being evaluated.
•  Use a sharp probe on the volt-
   meter test lead to achieve metal-
   to-metal contact with the various
   storage system components. Do
   not touch the metallic components
   of  the probe while making the
•  Be sure the voltage on the storage
   system is stable. If you cannot get
   a good  stable reading  on your
   voltmeter, this test will be difficult
   to utilize. With an impressed cur-
   rent system, the rectifier may be
   on or off, but the rectifier should
   have been turned on or off a day
   or more before the continuity/iso-
   lation measurements are made.

Interpretation of Results
The actual voltage that is measured
using this procedure is not impor-
tant. The voltage will vary depending
on the location of the CRC, but the
purpose here is not to evaluate the
structure-to-soil potential. The  only
factor being  evaluated  here  is
whether the voltage measurements
made with the test lead contacting
different storage system components
are identical or nearly so  (plus or
minus a  few  millivolts)  to  one
    Whether the voltmeter reads -1.4
volts or -.80 volts or -.43 volts is not
relevant. What is relevant is the rela-
tionship of the various readings to
one another. Readings from different
storage system components of -.654
volts, -.655 volts and -.653 volts indi-
cate that the three components are
electrically continuous. Readings of -
.654 volts, -.593 volts and -.730 volts
indicate that the three components
are electrically isolated from  one
another. Readings that are different
from one another but not by much
(e.g.,  -.654 volts, -.666 volts, -.648
volts)  are inconclusive. Use test
method #2, if possible, to tell for sure
what is going on. Readings that are
more than about 20 millivolts differ-
ent from one another generally indi-
cate that structures are electrically
POTENTIALS   The theory here is
that when the cathodic protection
current is repeatedly turned on and
then off, structure-to-soil potentials
of the components that are electri-
cally continuous with the CP system
will show large variations in poten-
tial that follow the cycling of the CP

The reference cell is placed in a fixed
location,  a  voltmeter test  lead is
attached to the CRC, and the  other
voltmeter test lead is placed in con-
tact with the various storage system
components  or  building electrical
ground,  just as  for   the  fixed-
reference/moving-ground technique
described above. Rather than making
a single voltage measurement at each
storage system component, however,
the CP current is cycled on and off at
intervals of five seconds or so, so that
both current on and current off mea-
surements can be recorded and com-

• It is good form to place the CRC at
  some  distance from the struc-
  ture^) being evaluated, but I have
  had good luck placing the CRC in
  a central location near the storage
  systems being evaluated.
• Use a sharp probe on the  volt-
  meter test lead to achieve metal-
  to-metal contact with the  various
  storage system components.  Do
  not touch the metallic  components
  of the probe  while making the
• This  method  can only be  used
  where the CP  current can be con-
  veniently turned on and off. The
  method could  be applied  to a
  CP  system  with permanently
  attached  anodes, however,  by
  installing a temporary CP system
  that can be turned on and off.

Interpretation of Results
As with the fixed-reference/moving-
ground technique, the magnitude of
the current on and current off read-
ings is not important. What is impor-
tant is that the current on and current
off measurements for each location
are approximately the same. In this
case, however, there are two indica-
tors of continuity—the current on
and current off voltages and the shift
in the voltage created by the cycling
of the CP current. The current on and
off voltages  should be reasonably
close, but they  do not need  to be
identical. Continuity would still be
indicated if the voltage shift from the
current on to the current off condi-
tion was of a similar magnitude.
    This technique is useful in identi-
fying relatively high resistance con-
nections that cause the readings in
method #1 above to be 20 millivolts
or more different. Despite relatively
high resistances among the compo-
nents, these connections still provide
enough continuity so that  a signifi-
cant amount of CP current is flowing
to the component being  tested.  If
turning the CP current on and off has
little  effect on the potential of the
component being tested, then it is
likely that the structure is isolated
from the CP system.

POTENTIAL  The theory for this
method is that if two buried metallic
structures are electrically continuous,
there will be no voltage difference
between them.

This procedure does not require a ref-
erence cell. The two leads of the volt-
meter  are connected to   different
components of the storage system or
building electrical ground. If the two
components are continuous, the volt-
age should be zero. Typically, one
lead of the voltmeter is fixed to  a sin-
gle storage system component (e.g., a
tank shell) and the other lead of the
voltmeter is moved around to the dif-
ferent storage system components.

Be sure that the voltmeter test  leads
achieve metal-to-metal contact with
the various storage system compo-
nents. Do not touch the metallic com-
ponents of the probe while making
the measurement.
                • continued on page 22

LUSTLine Bulletin 39
m Tank-nically Speaking
from page 21	

Interpretation of Results
The interpretation of results for this
method is essentially the same as for
the fixed-reference/moving-ground
method described above, except that
continuity is indicated by a voltage of
zero or a few millivolts between dif-
ferent components of the system.
Voltage differences in the range of 10
to 20 millivolts are inconclusive, and
procedure #2 above should be used
to make a definitive determination of
continuity or isolation. Voltage dif-
ferences greater than about 20 milli-
volts generally indicate that the
components are isolated.

Which Method to Use
As far as I can tell, all of these meth-
ods are valid (if done properly), and
each may have  ad vantages/disad-
vantages  under  certain  circum-
stances. I can  see where method #2
would be the most forgiving in terms
of execution, as the other methods
rely on relatively perfect connections
of the voltmeter leads to the struc-
ture. In my experience, this can be
difficult to achieve on a rusty riser.
However, method #2 does require
that the CP current be easily inter-
rupted. This would be a problem for
most  galvanic  systems and for
impressed current systems where an
extra person or an automatic current
interruption device is not available.

When to Test for Continuity
I believe that continuity testing  is
essential for impressed current sys-
tems. I have seen too many such sys-
tems  with continuity  problems.
Knowing the  continuity status of a
particular storage system component
is a great  help  in interpreting the
structure-to-soil potential measure-
ments that are made using that com-
ponent as the structure contact.
    I would check the continuity sta-
tus of any newly installed galvanic
CP system. For a galvanic system that
has  been in  service for awhile,  I
would check the continuity only if
the system failed to meet criteria for
cathodic protection. In my experi-
ence, galvanic systems that have been
in service for a while and meet crite-
ria are unlikely to have continuity
problems. •

• Missing Link from page 19	

ullage in the tank prior to delivery
and monitor the transfer. I know for a
fact that most operators do neither on
a regular basis, if at all. Most opera-
tors automatically defer the responsi-
bility to the driver.
    API has recently published a new
standard, API 1007,  Loading  and
Unloading ofMC306/DOT 406 Cargo
Tank Motor Vehicles. Section 4 of this
document  deals with unloading
USTs. While brief, it does begin to
address the issue by standardizing
procedures.  The  EPA  Office  of
Underground Storage Tanks  docu-
ment,  Operating and Maintaining
Underground Storage Tank Systems:
Practical  Help and  Checklists, also
addresses delivery briefly. The prob-
lem with both of these documents is
that they don't provide  adequate
guidance on  owner  and operator
    What Alaska hopes to achieve is
a recommended practice that we can
provide to UST owners and operators
to institute  a safe, consistent,  and
common-sense  approach  to  fuel
delivery management. In an effort to
begin addressing this issue, we cre-
ated a Fuel Delivery Log that our
third-party inspectors will begin cir-
culating  among tank operators this
year. If nothing else, the introduction
of this log will help stimulate discus-
sion on this matter.
    ADEC is working with the com-
pany whose overfill incident  was
previously mentioned and will be
analyzing the overfill data from over
50 stores to try and ascertain some
trends. Based on what we find, we
also hope to hold a fuel delivery
"summit" meeting later this year to
attempt to build  a coalition of tank
operators, fuel delivery companies,
and government officials that will be
tasked with quantifying the problem
as well as proposing some solutions.

NTSB Recommendations
There is  currently not an organized
regulatory voice to address this issue,
although the NTSB  Biloxi  report
asserts  some broad  recommenda-
•  Develop  loading and unloading
   procedures for cargo trucks with
   the policing of such procedures by
   the federal government;
• Improve compliance and enforce-
  ment by U.S. EPA;
• Revise delivery driver manuals;
• Establish procedures   for  UST
  operators; and
• Use national petroleum associa-
  tions to help deliver the message.

    I believe that an industry-based
recommended practice for safe fuel
delivery   practices  could address
these recommendations.  Defining
responsibilities and guidance for UST
operators could very well  be the
missing ingredient  to an effective
overfill prevention program. Some
standardized items could include:
• Proper methods  for measuring
  product levels;
• Use of tank charts;
• Understanding how much prod-
  uct is legally allowed in a tank;
• Procedures for monitoring trans-
• Designation  of  whom  should
  monitor deliveries;
• Warning about pressurized deliv-
  eries and ball float valves;
• Procedures  for  responding  to
  overfill alarms or incidents; and
• Recordkeeping options.

In Short...
I believe there is sufficient evidence
to support the claim that there is no
standardized  method for helping
UST  owners  and operators  meet
operational compliance conditions
for preventing UST overfills. Over-
fills will  continue to plague  good
tank management practices until the
real culprit is addressed, namely
human error.
    This  overfill   issue  can be
addressed effectively by standardiz-
ing fuel  delivery practices through
the development of a nationally rec-
ognized  recommended practice. To
be effective, the standard must be
based on common-sense  practices,
easy to implement by operators, and
easy to enforce by regulators. Q

  Ben Thomas is an environmental spe-
  cialist with the Alaska Department of
     Environmental Conservation.
         He can be reached at

                                                                                           LUSTLine Bulletin 39

 The Pay-for-Performaiice Public/Private Partnership
 The  Win-Win  Scenario
 By Robert S. Cohen
I     he Pantry, Inc. (d.b.a. Kanga
     resulting from the acquisitio;
                               go Stores ajid v^rjous othejj n
                               Jpf a large^chai
     LUST sites with potential liability in ttie'millions of dollars.
for petroleum contamination was        by *the"Flprida"f rust F
financial responsibility obligation
is well in excess of $300,000.
                                                                          |- $300,000
                                                gncial exgos
                                                ^obligation o
                                                '  cleanup liability
                                                                                   ^^    x  ^ __....,
                                 --:-  - ,                        ie remaining of the $1,000,000 federal — -
                                >r site was covered by a self-ins^^ce gpol. Thelverage cleanup cost in Florida
                                        "                      S:;"jf: ':!'3-ii              fcT - -   j
                                                             '-4'' *•"• *''"-'f"""I              Kr       1
     The problem: How could TheJBantry control costs, ensure proflptcleanups, and use the trust-fund contribution
 in the most efficient manner?  E^f±l_^_:—;..,lzr3            HSE&STiiTlisrsai        ficriSl^      "-.. i
     The solution: Use pay for performance [1] (PFP) at these sites, and use competitive bidding techniques to estab-
 lish the lowest market price in a cooperative effort among The Pantry, the Florida Department of Environmental Pro-
 tection (DEP), and carefully selected consultants.
     Lef s look at the circumstances leading up to the partnership, the controversial regulatory issues, the process, and
 the results. It is important to note that although this partnership was specific for Florida, the concept can work in most
 The Problem
 The Florida State Legislature decided
 to phase out the trust fund as a finan-
 cial assurance mechanism. Beginning
 in 1996, the coverage was reduced to
 $300,000  per  incident,  then  to
 $150,000 per incident, and  finally
 entirely phased out by December 31,
 1998. In order to meet federal finan-
 cial  responsibility   requirements
 (40CFR 280), The Pantry set up a self-
 insurance fund to cover the differ-
 ence between the trust fund cap and
    The Pantry  owns or  operates
 approximately   500  convenience
 store/gasoline stations in Florida and
 manages remedial or assessment
 activities on 400 sites with reported
 discharges (some no longer in opera-
 tion). Seventy sites had trust fund
 caps of $300,000 or $150,000.
    If The Pantry chose to follow the
 normal pathway, DEP would have
 preapproved assessment and reme-
 dial activities and paid the costs (after
 a  $10,000  deductible) up to  the
 $150,0007 $300,000 limits. After  the
 limit was reached, The Pantry would
 have to pay 100 percent of all cleanup
 costs with no limits. With average
 cleanup  costs  well  in excess  of
 $300,000, The Pantry was quite con-
 cerned about the potential liability
 and the cost of maintaining signifi-
 cant environmental reserves on  the
balance sheet to cover this liability.
 The Solution
 The Pantry's solution was to use PFP
 and competitive bidding to minimize
 the  amount it would have to pay
 above the $150,000 / $300,000 from
 the trust fund. Data demonstrate that
 PFP produces less expensive, faster
 cleanups with guaranteed environ-
 mental results. When PFP cleanups
 are priced by market-based bidding
 among cleanup consultants, the price
 for  final  cleanup is dramatically
    The Pantry decided to set a maxi-
 mum price for cleaning up each site,
 using competitive bidding in a PFP
 approach. The Pantry invited quali-
 fied cleanup contractors  to bid the
 price of cleanup beyond the $150,000
 or $300,000 maximum state fund cov-
 erage for a bundle of sites.  The thirty-
 five $150,000-limit  sites  and the
 thirty-five $300,000-limit sites were to
be awarded as two "bundles" —  as
 two multi-site PFP cleanup contracts
 to the winning contractor. The Pantry
released its request for proposal
 (RFP) to prequalified consultants for
the two bundles of sites.
    After the RFP was released, the
respondents  had two   weeks  to
review The Pantry's and DEP's files
and identify any  sites that did not
have sufficient assessment data  to
estimate the site's total cleanup cost.
Some assessment work  had been
completed at most of the sites. A few
                                                                       sites had  remediation systems in
                                                                          Eleven consultants responded to
                                                                       the RFP. Upon review of the data,
                                                                       each consultant suggested, in order
                                                                       of priority, sites where more data
                                                                       was  needed so as to price  confi-
                                                                       dently. The Pantry then retained an
                                                                       independent consultant to do Phase
                                                                       II-type investigations to collect addi-
                                                                       tional data on 17 sites and provide
                                                                       the data and maps to the bidders. The
                                                                       consultants then submitted sealed
                                                                       proposals with a formal bid opening.
                                                                          The bids were evaluated on three
                                                                       considerations and rated on a scale of
                                                                       100 points:
                                                                        1. 50 points—lowest bid for total
                                                                          dollar above trust fund cap
                                                                        2. 25  points—qualifications and
                                                                        3. 25 points—financial mechanism
                                                                          or guarantee to assure comple-
                                                                          tion of contract for cleanup.

                                                                       The respondents to the RFP actually
                                                                       submitted two bids: (1) 35 sites with a
                                                                       $150,000 cap and (2) 35 sites with a
                                                                       $300,000 cap. The range in bids was
                                                                       quite typical of the experience of vari-
                                                                       ous PFP bidding projects conducted
                                                                       in several states. The high bid for the
                                                                       $300,000-cap sites was $3,350,000
                                                                       with several low bids of zero over the
                                                                                     • continued on page 24

                                                                                                ~   23

LUSTLine Bulletin 39
m PFP from page 23
trust fund limit. The high bid for the
$150,000-cap sites was $5,500,000
with a low bid of $100,000 over the
trust fund limit. Half the consultants
bid zero or less (i.e., at or below the
$300,000 trust fund coverage on the
$300,000 cap sites). Note: the consul-
tant was required to supply the cost
estimate for each site, though only
the total bid over the cap [for the
bundle of sites] counted for the scor-
ing of the RFP.
    The eleven bids were evaluated,
and three finalists were selected. All
finalists participated in an oral pre-
sentation, which consisted of answer-
ing one question: "Since the average
cost of cleanup is historically greater
than $300,000, how will you imple-
ment cost savings to meet your bid?"

Working in Partnership  to
Resolve Regulatory Issues
There  were  complex legal  and
administrative  obstacles  to  The
Pantry's planned RFP process for
selecting consultants and setting PFP
cleanup prices. These were resolved
via a working partnership between
The Pantry and DEP.
    An obstacle was found in the
Florida statute's prohibition against
remuneration from the consultant to
the responsible party for the privilege
of assigning sites. Since The Pantry
had many sites with varying caps—
$150,000 to $1,000,OOOH—it had  to
avoid assigning high-cap sites to a
consultant in turn for the consultant
taking a loss on low-cap sites. There-
fore, The Pantry's RFP was set up to
be independent of any other consult-
ing relationship. The $150,000 and
$300,000 sites were judged indepen-
dently to prevent any appearance
that the $300,000 sites were supple-
menting the $150,000 sites. The DEP
actively observed The Pantry's bid-
ding process to assure compliance
with statute.
    Another issue of concern was the
relationship between the responsible
party (The Pantry, Inc.) and the DEP.
Though the consultants were assur-
ing The Pantry of a maximum total
cost, the DEP was going to pay the
bills up to the state-fund cap. Thus
the state considered each site to be an
entirely independent project with its
own  funding  limit. The  Pantry

intended to bank its awarded bid
amount  and  provide that dollar
amount to the consultant on any site
that went over its state-fund cap. In
this way, the consultant had the free-
dom to negotiate the cleanup cost
with DEP using The Pantry's funds
when required.
    Although The Pantry solicited
bids, the Florida program sets prices
by negotiating. The Pantry bid set the
maximum  price for a set of sites;
however, the consultant had to nego-
tiate each site with the DEP, as each
site has a separate trust-fund limit.
As  discussed below, PFP bundling
techniques allow the consultant to
negotiate with DEP a group of sites at
a total fixed price; a specific price is
then assigned to each site.

The range of bids was both remark-
able and expected. Remarkable was
the large spread of cleanup prices for
very typical sites. With 10 years of
historical data we  would expect a
much  smaller spread. On the other
hand, we expected that cleanup costs
would vary considerably based on
the efficiency of the consultants. On
any individual site there may be a
considerable margin of error in esti-
mating costs. For a collection of sites,
the total cleanup  cost can  be esti-
mated accurately, even without com-
plete  assessments.  The  RFP data
suggest several conclusions (see Fig-
ures 1  and 2 [2]):

•  Cleanup costs can be reasonably
   estimated for a  bundle of sites,
   even  without thorough assess-
   ment data;

•  Some consultants are consistently
   and considerably more expensive
   than others;

•  Competitive bidding of bundles of
   sites can result in substantial sav-
   ings while  maintaining  desired
   environmental  goals  and  time-
   tables; and

•  The average cost of a cleanup per
   site is significantly reduced by
   competitive bidding.

    What distinguishes the consul-
tants'  approach from the high bid to
the low bid? The low-bid consultants
leverage the "volume discount" by
managing their work and resources
Figure li
   - $589,141.95
  • - $947,525.59
more effectively across all 35 sites.
Due to the nature of the trust funds,
consultants typically treat each site as
an individual project in all regards.
There is little motivation to manage
the projects using volume discount
techniques such as:
• Reusable skid-mounted remedia-
  tion equipment;
• Top quality remediation equip-
  ment that will have a useful life
  span for several sites; and
• Coordinated  mobilization   at
  many sites.

    The most  effective way for the
consultant to take advantage of the
volume discount is to bundle sites
together for negotiating PFP agree-
ments. Negotiating many sites as a
bundle has several distinct business
• Much faster negotiations;
• Spreading of risk among a group
  of sites;
• Introduction of innovative tech-
  nology without having to prove
  efficiency  (though safety must
  always be demonstrated before-
  hand); and
• Considerably reduced paperwork
   and time to obtain DEP preap-
  proval of costs.

    One consultant took a particu-
larly innovative approach in pricing
sites.  He won a  majority of the
$300,000 sites and proposed to DEP
to clean, up all sites at a fixed price
per site. The fixed price is determined
simply by the  contamination level as
related to the cleanup target. For
example, the highest cost per site is
$175,000 for contamination consider-

                                                                                               LUSTLine Bulletin 39
ably above targets, wkile the fixed
costs for monitor-only sites is about
$115,000  for  five years  of  natural
attenuation monitoring.

Winners and Losers
Who won?
It seems that just about everyone did.
• The  Pantry saved  $2  million to
   $3 million dollars in self-insured
   (above cap) cleanup costs.
• DEP's cleanup costs will be at lev-
   els considerably below historical
   averages. For  the  $300,000-cap
   sites, this represents millions of
   dollars of anticipated  savings to
   the department.
• Consultants obtained a large block
   of  sites with minimal  marketing
   effort. By using volume cost-con-
   tainment methods, along with
   considerably reduced paperwork
   via PFP, the consultants are in a
   position to book a considerable
• Citizens of Florida gained a faster
   and more efficient cleanup of envi-
   ronmental impairment.

Who lost?
Consultants who were not adept at
PFP contractual techniques and not
able to tightly control costs.B
                         Robert S. Cohen, BS, MS, is a profes-
                         sional geologist specializing in LUST
                         cost-containment issues. He is a con-
                         sultant in both the public and private
                         sectors. In Florida, he proposed and
                         implemented the Florida Department
                         of Environmental Protection's first
                        PFP cleanup and is the environmental
                        advisor to a convenience store chain of
                        1,400 facilities. He has conducted over
                          30 PFP workshops and studies on
                          behalf of the EPA Office of Under-
                        ground Storage Tanks. For more infor-
                               mation, contact Bob at
                                  (352) 337-2600
                       [l]Pay-for-performance is a contractual mech-
                         anism by which the cleanup consultant is
                         paid upon achieving agreed-upon environ-
                         mental milestones. The cleanups are typi-
                         cally faster and cheaper than the ordinary
                         time and materials approach. PFP has been
                         described in previous LUSTLine articles (see
                         bulletins 38, 36, 34, 33, and 32), and more
                         information is available at the  EPA Web

                      "[2] Figure 1 is the consultants' bid  above the
                         cap of $300,000 or $150,000. Figure 2 is the
                         average price for the bundle by consultant.
                         Although the average price may be less
                         than  the cap, individual- sites may  be
                         greater than the cap, resulting in a bid
                         amount over the cap.
 Figure 2
                                                         Cap Sites-
                                                         Average Cost
                                                         Per Site by
  Cap Sites—
      Cost Per
       Site by
| $450,000
 • Boutique Fuels from page 12

 year's spring transition season, while
 maintaining the environmental bene-
 fits needed during the summer smog
    The second boutique fuels issue
 is the growing number of state and
 local governments that have adopted
 their own fuel programs that are dif-
 ferent from the federal RFC program.
 EPA has identified several reasons
 why states have adopted their own
 boutique fuel requirements, includ-
 ing reduced cost compared with the
 federal RFG program, local air pollu-
 tion  control needs, concerns about
 the oxygenate mandate in the RFG
 program, and concerns about the use
 of MTBE. A number of states want to
 avoid the use of MTBE in their gaso-
 line because it has been found to con-
 taminate water  supplies in some
    Despite the number of state and
 local fuel programs, EPA has found
 that the current gasoline production
 and distribution  system is able  to
 provide adequate quantities of bou-
 tique fuels, as long as there are no
 disruptions in the supply chain. If
 there  is  a disruption, such as a
 pipeline break or refinery fire, it can
 be difficult to provide gasoline sup-
 plies  because of constraints created
 by these boutique fuel requirements.
 In addition, fuel providers  are con-
 cerned that recently enacted state
 laws  that ban  the use of MTBE in
 future years may proliferate the num-
 ber of boutique  fuels and present
 new challenges to this country's fuel
 production and distribution system.
    EPA staff have also prepared a
 white paper, "Study of Unique Gaso-
 line Fuel Blends, Effects on Fuel Sup-
 ply and Distribution and Potential
 Improvements" (EPA420-P-01-004),
 which explores a number of possible
 approaches that could reduce the
 total number of fuels in the longer
term.  This white paper, which will be
released for public review and com-
ment, lays  the   groundwork  for
needed future study into these and
other possible approaches. •
    For more information on the
   "Boutique Report" and related
         documents, go to

LUSTLim Bulletin 39
                         South  Dakota's Antidote to
                         Abandoned  Tank Anxiety
                         by Ellen Frye
       Having  abandoned  under-
       ground storage tanks in the
       ground  can  be a  major
source of anxiety for property own-
ers who can't afford the costs associ-
ated with  cleanup  and potential
liability. Dennis Rounds, executive
director of South Dakota's Petroleum
Release Compensation Fund (PRCF),
didn't realize how bad that anxiety
was until recently, when the state's
unique Abandoned  Tank Removal
Project set out on an ambitious tank
removal and cleanup effort—at no
expense to the owners.
    "People told us  how glad they
\vere  the tanks  were taken  out,"
says Rounds. "Homeowners—partic-
ularly the   elderly—and  farmers,
ranchers, and owners of abandoned
service stations have worried about
this for years but were not sure what
to do."
    As do most states, South Dakota
has a large population of unregulated
and regulated  tanks that are no
longer in service, many of which
were  abandoned as  far back as the
1920s and 1930s. This project was an
opportunity for those owners to get
those tanks removed.
    "So far, about 2,400 tanks located
at 1,700  sites have  been removed
statewide," says Kristi Honeywell of
the South  Dakota Department of
Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR). "Those tanks contained
more than 450,000 gallons of product
and contaminated water that are no
longer a threat to the environment.
Getting these tanks out of the ground
not only removes a potential source
of contamination, it also removes the
liability factor, allowing property to
be back on the tax roll, and increases
properly values for the landowners."

Sprucing Up
The Abandoned Tank Removal Pro-
ject grew out of Governor William
Janklow's larger Spruce Up South
Dakota Program, designed to make it

easier for citizens and local govern-
ments to rid the landscape of things
like old tires, appliances, batteries,
old cars, and abandoned buildings—
things that are very visible and aes-
thetically  unpleasing and  often
health threats. The program is set up
to help communities and local gov-
ernments find ways  to  leverage
cleanup funds, encourage communi-
ties to recognize the need to do this,
and find ways to get it done, often
with volunteer groups.
   The Abandoned Tank Removal
Project came about during the 2000
legislative session. The legislature
modified the Petroleum  Release
Compensation Fund, creating a new
program  within  the program that
allowed the state to remove tanks
and do the cleanups at no expense to
the owner. This is in contrast with the
fund's regular program, for which
there is a $10,000 deductible.
    'a far, the average cost per site is
            . That efficiency comes
               Packaging- " .
               '  '
               ,      ,, .    ,, .   .
               ....... j, i*,,.!,,;,-.,*,,.. Qg,,,., js Rounds

                      ' '     '
  •  The legislature did place some
restrictions on this new program.
Tanks that are regulated and that
were properly abandoned prior to
1998  or that are unregulated and
have been taken out of service qualify
for the program; service stations that
were or have been in commercial
operation since 1998 do not.

The Economy of Cluster Bid
The project has successfully moved
forward thanks to the teamwork of
the PRCF and the DENR and the
decision to duster a large number of
applications together within a certain
region or within, a county.
   "We tried to get them into a siz-
able bid package," says Rounds. "We
tried very hard to keep the cost under
$50,000 per bid package in many of
the cases to encourage smaller local
contractors who were knowledgeable
about tank removal to do the work.
We bid it in a manner that incorpo-
rated the tank removal and decom-
missioning, soil disposal, and fill all
in one package. We would then hire
soil scientists or environmental pro-
fessionals  to come in and do the
actual testing and observe the pulled
tank. We had a standardized report
form for every tank. So far, the aver-
age cost per site is below $3,000. That
efficiency comes from the packag-
    "Placing the sites into groups of 10
to 20 and requesting bids from local
contractors worked surprisingly well,"
says Honeywell. "This really lowered
our overall costs and gave'local con-
tractors an opportunity to help clean
up their own communities."
    The PRCF receives and approves
the applications and verifies that the
information is accurate so that when
the bid package is put together it'is as
accurate as can be. In general,  the
DENR clusters the applications into
bid packages and bids them out.
•They work the contracts and oversee
the contractors. The invoices for the
work that is done are passed through
the DENR  for  approval  and  are
passed back to the PCRF with a rec-
ommendation for payment.
    "The project took off  very fast
and was  very  aggressive," says
Rounds. "Most of our contractors
had done tank work before. We have
criteria within the bid document to
make sure that the person is capable
of doing the work, understands the
safety requirements, andis willing to
work and coordinate things with the
environmental people. We take the
lowest responsible bid."
    "I've never had a state program
go as smoothly as this," Mayor Craig

                                                                                       LUSTLine Bulletin 39
Runestad remarked after the project
removed five abandoned USTs in
Mount Vernon.
    "We are finding that there are a
lot more tanks than we anticipated,"
Rounds notes. "We are bidding with
the understanding that the final num-
ber of tanks and site conditions might
actually be different. The contractor is
expected to charge for  additional
removals at the same bid unit rate."
   The PRCF is funded with tank
inspection fee revenue, a two cents
per gallon fee on all petroleum motor
fuel  products entering the state
assessed  at the  rack. The fund
receives 50 percent of that. While no
additional money was provided for
the new program, the fund  was in
good enough shape to handle  the
additional costs. There is no sunset
date for the tank removal project, but
the goal is to have  them all done
within the next year. •

 For more information about South ^
 r  Dakota's Abandoned Tank
  Removal Project, contact Dennis
 Rounds at (605) 773-3769. Or visit *
 =; •  the project's Web site at
USTfields at



by Gary Lynn

     EPA's Brownfields 2001 confer-
     ence concluded at Chicago's
     mammoth McCormick  Place
Convention Center on September 26.
Although  the  conference   was
affected by the tragic events in New
York, thousands of people from the
private sector and state, federal, and
local governments attended. There
were a variety of interesting devel-
opments, not the least of which that
nearly  everyone,  from Christine
Todd Whitman on down, mentioned
abandoned gas stations when dis-
cussing brownfields sites. The recog-
nition of any class of petroleum sites
as a brownfields problem marks a
significant change in the brownfields
    Two sessions at Brownfields 2001
were devoted  to USTfields issues.
These  sessions  dealt  with the
progress that is being made by the
existing 10 EPA/state USTfields pilot
projects and EPA USTfields assis-
tance efforts. Most of the 10 state pro-
jects are in the process of completing
field work, such as site investigations
and/or remedial actions, at the pilot
sites. Case studies of the pilots are
being prepared; available case stud-
ies can be viewed at http://www.epa.

New Round of Pilots
EPA has announced that it is accept-
ing proposals for a new round of up
to 40 pilot projects. The grants will be
awarded on a competitive basis with
at least one award for every EPA
region and for a tribal or intertribal
consortia. The deadline for sending
the  proposal  to EPA  has  been
extended to November 19,2001. Each
applicant (state or tribe) can send up
to three proposals. The money must
be spent at a federally regulated UST
site, and the site must be eligible for
LUST  Trust  Fund  expenditures.
LUST Trust Fund cost recovery pro-
visions apply to the grant funds.

Proposed Brownfields/
Petroleum Sites Legislation
    At the conference, proposed fed-
eral brownfields legislation was dis-
               • continued on page 28
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  Please enclose a check or money order (drawn on a U.S. bank) made payable to NEIWPCC.
  Send to: New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
         Boott Mills South, 100 Foot of John Street, Lowell, MA 01852-1124
         Phone:(978)323-7929 • Fax:(978)323-7919  • •

  We welcome your comments and suggestions on any of our articles.

• Brownfields/rom page 27	

cussed. Senate bill 350 includes a
package of liability clarifications and
authorizes up to $250 million of
spending annually (thru 2006) on
brownfields grants, loans, and State
Voluntary Cleanup Programs. The
good news is that 25 percent of the
funding is  targeted to petroleum
sites. The targeted money could go
to any type of petroleum-contami-
nated site, not just federally regu-
lated UST sites.
    The bad news is that there is a
big difference between authorizing
and appropriating money. It is very
likely that in light of changes in the
economy and  increased defense
spending that  what  is  actually
appropriated will be  significantly
less than the $250 million that the
legislation would authorize. Addi-
tionally,  although the legislation
enjoys  widespread support  and
passed overwhelmingly in the Sen-
ate, last-minute  negotiations  on
whether Davis Bacon Act provisions
(having to do with grant recipients
ensuring that contractors pay pre-
vailing union wage rates) should
apply to the money may result in the
legislation being scuttled.
    According to EPA staff, plans
are being finalized for the implemen-
tation of SB  350.  Plans are also
underway should the brownfields
legislation not pass. Clearly, there
are a number of key choices that will
have  to be made if the legislation
passes. For example, money targeted
for petroleum sites could go through
a separate grant process that empha-
sizes  participation by state  LUST
programs. Or, there could be some
type  of  consolidated brownfields
application for municipal or state
entities that contains  a petroleum
component to the funding and work.
In any case, it will be important to
track  developments   over  time
because  a significant  amount of
money may become available and
because of the real need to address
abandoned or underutilized petro-
leum sites. •

  Gary Lynn is Supervisor of the New
  Hampshire Department of Environ-
  mental Services, Petroleum Remedia-
  tion Section. Gary can be reached at
                  Long on expedience... but snort on safety.
 If you have any UST/LUST-related snapshots from the field that you would like to share
 with our readers, please send them to. Ellen Fri/ec/oiSlEIWPCC.
New England Interstate Water
Pollution Control Commission
Boott Mills South
100 Foot of John Street
Lowell, MA 01852-1124
Forwarding and return postage guaranteed.
Address correction requested.

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