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Source Water Areas And Underground Storage Tanks

Leaks of petroleum and other toxic substances from underground storage tanks (USTs) appear to be a leading threat to sources of drinking water in the U.S. On July 20, 2004, the Directors of the EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) and Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) signed a memorandum to EPA Regional Directors recommending that the source water and underground storage tank programs in the Regional offices work together to coordinate their efforts and make the best use of resources to increase public health protection. The memorandum recommended that Regions work with state water and tanks programs to coordinate their efforts as well.

The memorandum set in motion a number of meetings and agreements between underground storage tank and source water staffs at both the federal and state levels. Coordinated program efforts focused on sharing data, maps, and resources to identify tanks that may pose a threat to drinking water supplies. Once these tanks are identified, EPA and state regulators are encouraged to make them a priority for compliance inspections.

On July 11, 2005, the two office directors released a second memorandum and a report that describes the accomplishments of this cross­program initiative in its first year and outlines future goals and activities in this ongoing effort to better protect the nation’s drinking water and thus the public health.

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