The Environmental Protection Agency said it awarded a $1.6 million grant to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality to help the state
clean up petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks.
That EPA assistance reflects one of the ways road system users are paying for federal programs that target different aspects of the travel-related infrastructure. It is financed by a 0.1 cent tax on each gallon of motor vehicle fuel sold nationwide. Many leaking tanks are part of vehicle fueling stations, some of which may no longer be active commercial facilities. Leaks can also occur in the wake of harsh weather events.
Wyoming will use the federal funds to support staff that oversee and coordinate cleanup projects throughout the state, the EPA said.
"Grants made under the LUST Trust Fund give states the flexibility to clean up petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "EPA is providing funds directly to Wyoming so that the state may determine how best to address its unique and critical environmental challenges."
The EPA said about 558,000 underground storage tanks nationwide store petroleum or other hazardous substances. The greatest potential hazard, it said, is that the substance can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater that is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. A leaking tank can also present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.
The announcement said that last year Wyoming reported six new confirmed discharges, 96 cleanups completed and 707 under investigation or active remediation.
The state's goals for this year are to complete additional cleanups and further reduce the rate of confirmed releases at underground storage tank facilities, protecting human health and the environment.
A portion of the EPA funds can be used by the state to carry out enforcement, corrective action and cost- recovery activities, the EPA said.
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