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Underground Fuel Storage Systems

Service stations and other business with underground fuel storage tanks are improving their Environmental Management

Recent changes in NSW legislation requires fuel tank operators to follow Environmental Protection Plans including groundwater testing, and to monitor fuel losses within the underground fuel tanks.  These measures will help assist operators in the early identification of spillages or leaks from their systems.

The legislation introduced in 2008 gave existing businesses with underground fuel storage tanks a 3 year exemption to provide improved monitoring of the operations.

The exemption period has now lapsed and all landholders and operators with underground fuel tanks are required to have an Environmental Protection Plan, groundwater monitoring and tank gauging in place.

The NSW ofice of Environment and Heritage introduced the legislation and in 2017 will pass the implementation responsibility over to local councils.

Fuel industry Consultant, Mark Tunks of HMC Environmental Consulting, has seen many sites and the impacts of leaking underground fuel tanks.

"The Age newspaper in December 2011 quoted a Caltex spokesman stating that remediation typically costs anywhere from $500,000 to more than $1million for each site, the early bird approach makes a lot of sense".  "Underground fuel storage tanks need to be monitored by the operator as the fuel contamination can continue unseen for many years, potentially placing the environment at risk, and incurring significant investigation and clean up costs.  By implementing an Environmental Protection Plan and installing the required fuel loss monitoring systems, operators can minimise their exposure to such costs".