Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
We are currently reviewing and pursuing a number of cases involving leaking Underground Storage Tanks. Thousands of storage tanks containing gasoline, oil and other potentially toxic substances are buried near gas stations throughout the Southeast. Over time, these underground storage tanks can erode and develop leaks. When these containers leak, petroleum contaminants can move through the soil and pollute groundwater supplies.
The EPA estimates that approximately 81% of community water systems in the United States are dependent on groundwater. According to the Sierra Club, one gallon of petroleum can contaminate one million gallons of water and one pin-prick sized hole in an UST can leak 400 gallons of petroleum per year. This contamination can spread thousands of feet without notice to exposed people – polluting homes, churches, schools, and daycare centers.
In rural areas of the Southeast, it is quite common for residential homeowners to get all of their drinking water from a private well, which is not periodically checked for purity, as are county or municipal water supplies.
Contaminants commonly found in water supplies affected by leaking underground storage tanks include MTBE, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. Some of these substances are classified as “known human carcinogens” (know cancer-causing agents) by state and federal regulatory agencies. In addition, prolonged exposure to these chemicals has been linked to central nervous system damage, respiratory illnesses, kidney disease, liver dysfunction and blood disorders.
Most underground storage tanks in Alabama are located at gasoline stations. Individuals who may be impacted by a leaking underground storage tank might include: 1) persons living on down-gradient properties near a spill site; 2) business owners whose commercial properties are located near the sites; 3) nearby residents who obtain their water from impacted public or private wells; and, in some cases, 4) the owner of the retail gas station if the underground storage tank at the station is owned, maintained or installed by another party, such as an oil distributor.
What can I do?
We are committed to investigate and pursue the claims of individuals and business owners affected by leaking underground storage tanks. Alyce Addison and Chris Boutwell are currently working on these cases for Beasley Allen. Please contact them if you have questions.
If you or a loved one is in need of an experienced environmental attorney, please contact us today for a free legal consultation.