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EPA and New Jersey DEP Announce Grant For Tank Inspections in Hunterdon County; County Officials to Play Major Role After December 22 Tank Deadline

Release Date: 12/10/1998
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(#98170) New York, N.Y. -- At an event today at a gas station in Clinton, New Jersey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials announced an EPA grant of $25,000 to train Hunterdon county health inspectors to inspect underground storage tanks (USTs). Hunterdon county will be the first local government in New Jersey to make comprehensive UST inspections, which are normally performed exclusively by EPA and DEP inspectors.

The announcement of the grant comes two weeks before the national EPA deadline of December 22, 1998 for all owners of outdated USTs to replace, upgrade, or close their old tanks. As a result of the EPA grant, Hunterdon county officials will assist EPA and DEP in ensuring compliance in the county, which is home to approximately 500 underground storage tanks. In addition, county and state officials will assess the feasibility of implementing a county-based long-term and comprehensive underground storage tank inspection and enforcement program.

"We are pleased that Hunterdon county is joining EPA and DEP in our efforts to address the serious environmental and human health hazards of leaking underground storage tanks," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "We hope that this grant will provide a model in New Jersey for increased local government involvement in UST compliance and enforcement."

Present at the press event were George Pavlou, EPA Region 2 Director of the Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance; Rick Gimello, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Site Remediation; and John Beckley, Hunterdon County Health Officer. Pavlou awarded Gimello and Beckley a symbolic check in the amount of $25,000.

EPA's upcoming December 22 UST deadline affects the nation's 900,000 existing underground storage tanks, which are used to store petroleum, fuel, and hazardous waste at gas stations, municipal and industrial facilities, marinas, and other businesses. Over 30,000 leaks from substandard USTs are reported annually nationwide, making leaks the number one source of groundwater contamination. EPA's deadline for tank replacements, upgrades, or closures seeks to stem this serious environmental threat.


For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: habib.nina@epamail.epa.gov