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EPA ANNOUNCES MAJOR GAINS IN UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK CLEANUP

 /NOTES TO EDITOR: In a release issued Dec. 27, 1993, (which did not run on PR Newswire), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 incorrectly stated that in Michigan, 79 (or 0.9 percent) of the 9,099 confirmed releases from leaking underground storage tanks were cleaned up by the end of fiscal year 1993. That is only the releases cleaned up by Michigan using federal moneys during fiscal year 1993.
 The correct statement is: "In Michigan, 1,909 (or 20.9 percent) of the 9,099 confirmed releases were cleaned up by the end of fiscal year 1993." This represents the cumulative number of releases cleaned up by the end of fiscal year 1993 under both state and federal authority.
 The complete corrected release follows.
 CHICAGO, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 said today that some 25 percent (or 12,500) of the 50,000 known leaking underground storage tanks in the Midwest have been cleaned up. And almost 85 percent of the remainder (32,000) are undergoing cleanup.
 Regional Administrator Valdas V. Adamkus said: "We have been working closely with the states in the region in cleaning up these sites. We are concerned about the drinking water, soil, and air contaminated by these leaks."
 Adamkus said another important benefit of the cleanup is the saving in valuable energy resources. "We estimate that in Region 5 alone, we have prevented the release into the environment of over 900,000 gallons of petroleum daily," he pointed out. "At current prices, this is a daily savings of about $990,000."
 He said regional efforts have cut hazardous chemical leaks by over 3,600 gallons a day; the price tag is not known due to widely varying costs of these substances.
 In 1993, over 453,641 gallons of gasoline and other petroleum products were recovered from the top of the ground-water table. In addition, 6.3 billion gallons of contaminated ground water and 8 million tons of contaminated soil were estimated to have been removed from high priority sites in the region and cleaned up.
 EPA launched its cleanup program for leaking underground storage tanks in 1988, under the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
 In Michigan, 1,909 (or 20.9 percent) of the 9,099 confirmed releases were cleaned up by the end of fiscal year 1993.
 Despite its efforts, EPA estimates that confirmed releases will continue to increase well into the next century. They could go as high as 100,000 due to the deterioration of older tanks that were installed without the necessary corrosion protection.
 EPA said it will focus limited resources on high-risk environmental sites and cleanup options that best protect the public and the environment at each particular site.
 EPA estimates the average cost of cleaning up one underground facility is $100,000. The projected cleanup costs in Region 5 alone could go as high as $10 billion. Much of the cleanup costs are being paid for by state petroleum tax funds set aside for this purpose. Many of these funds are feeling the strain of this effort.
 To cut cleanup costs and speed up the process, EPA, the states, and the petroleum industry are looking at improved and more cost-effective technologies.
 EPA has already begun cooperative technology demonstration projects with the state regulators and industry. For example: a project with the Ohio Department of Commerce and BP Oil Co. has demonstrated a process that can cut cleanup time from 2 years to 8 months. Another project, with the Minnesota Department of Transpiration, is demonstrating a biological treatment method -- an alternative to disposal of contaminated soil in a sanitary landfill.
 -0- 12/29/93
 /CONTACT: Gerald Phillips, technical, 312-886-6159 or Gilberto Alvarez, 312-886-6143 or William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, all of the U.S. EPA/


CO: Environmental Protection Agency ST: Michigan IN: ENV SU:

WB -- NY029 -- 7832 12/29/93 15:08 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 29, 1993
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