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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Environment - How safe are Indiana above-ground storage tanks?

A March 11th story in the Muncie Star-Press, reported by Amy Olson Miller, looks at that question. After describing the "catastrophic spill from an above-ground chemical storage tank occurred near Charleston, W.Va., on Jan. 9," where "more than 300,000 people in nine counties were unable to use their tap water for more than four days" and problems continue, Miller writes:

In Indiana, there are 9,581 above-ground storage tanks that contain large volumes of hazardous chemicals. The state inspects only those tanks that contain pesticides or fertilizer and at the time of construction, tanks holding petroleum products. Eight thousand six hundred and eighty five tanks are never inspected by a governmental agency,

In Indiana 26, 013 of these tanks are located within Zones of Concern for the protection of public water system sources.

Forty-two Indiana municipalities use rivers or lakes as their source of tap water. After 9-11, the federal government required each community that relies on lakes or rivers for their water supply to map out areas near water intakes that are vulnerable to terrorist attack. Those areas are also vulnerable to spills from chemical storage tanks. There are also wellhead protection zones identified for communities that use ground water. Many Indiana communities are at risk for contamination of their drinking water from uninspected above-ground chemical storage tanks.

Most communities are unaware of the location of above-ground chemical storage tanks and do not know which tanks are located within or near their municipal water intake. Without inspection of above-ground chemical storage tanks, all communities that have these tanks are in jeopardy of a spill, as was experienced in West Virginia.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 13, 2014 10:17 AM
Posted to Environment