Udall, Bennet Announce Over $2.5 million in Recovery Funding for Colorado to Assess and Clean Up Underground Storage Tanks

Funding Will Be Distributed Through EPA's Leaking Underground Storage Tank Program

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet announced today that Colorado will receive $2,540,000 from the economic recovery package to assess and clean up underground storage tank leaks.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Program, which will be used to monitor and remediate dangerous leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs). UST's store petroleum or hazardous substances that can harm the environment and human health if released.

"We have communities all around Colorado where leaking underground tanks are threatening water quality and safety -- and holding up development. We have a real need to take care of these sites, to protect our communities and restore the land so it can be used again," Senator Udall said. "So this is a perfect example of what we intended the Recovery Act to do. Not only is this funding going to create jobs and get these sites cleaned up, it will strengthen our communities for the future."

"We should be doing all we can to protect Colorado's water quality and this funding will work to do just that while also creating jobs," Bennet said. "This $2.5 million is another example of how the economic recovery package is working to help jump start Colorado's economy and create new jobs when families struggling to make ends meet need it most."

The funds will be used for overseeing the assessment and cleanup of leaks from underground storage tanks or directly paying for assessment and cleanup of leaks from federally regulated tanks where the responsible party is unknown, unwilling, unable, or the clean up is an emergency response.

The state of Colorado will now enter into a cooperative agreement with the EPA region 8 underground storage tank program to produce a more detailed implementation plan, which will take into account state spending plans and assess high-priority sites.

The EPA estimates significant opportunities for job retention and creation in the remediation efforts of upwards of 1,600 shovel-ready clean up sites around the country.

The greatest potential hazard from a leaking underground storage tank is that the petroleum or other hazardous substances seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, which is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans.

For information on the underground storage tank funding or for more on EPA's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please click here.