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EPA Awards $1 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Clean Up Underground Petroleum Leaks in Puerto Rico

Release Date: 08/11/2009
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) In an effort to create jobs, boost local economies and protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $1,030,000 to Puerto Rico to assess and clean up underground petroleum storage tank leaks. The cooperative agreement between EPA and the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board includes a detailed description of Puerto Rico’s spending plans.

"Leaking underground storage tanks are a major source of groundwater contamination in the United States" said EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. "These funds will rapidly create jobs to investigate and clean up petroleum releases from leaking tanks, which pose as threats to people’s health and the environment.”

This money is part of $200 million appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to address shovel-ready sites nationwide contaminated by petroleum from leaking underground storage tanks.

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, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans.

The funds will be used for overseeing 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 cleanup is an emergency response.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at http://www.recovery.gov.

For more information on EPA’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in Puerto Rico, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/eparecovery/. For more information on leaking underground storage tanks, visit http://www.epa.gov/swerust1/index.htm.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2 .

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