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Storage Tanks Containing Hazardous Substances Can Cause Contamination and Harmful Exposure

Underground/aboveground Storage Tanks Pose Concerns

"Storage tanks" refer to large containers—usually hundreds or thousands of gallons—used to stockpile fuel, raw materials, or waste materials for manufacturing processes. For example, oils to fuel industrial activities may be kept on the site of an industrial facility in order to serve as a primary or backup fuel source. In addition, some manufacturing facilities that produce oily waste as a byproduct of their manufacturing process may store these byproducts in “waste oil tanks.”  Still in other applications such as chemical or plastics manufacturing, large amounts of raw chemicals or intermediaries are stored in underground or aboveground tanks.

  • Underground storage tanks (or “USTs”) have historically been used to house heating oil, gasoline, kerosene, and other materials beneath the surface of residential, commercial, and industrial properties. While USTs offer a convenient form of storage, if they are damaged or become corroded, the contents of the UST may leak into the surrounding soil or groundwater. Leaking underground storage tanks often require a legal, as well as an environmental response.
  • Aboveground tanks (or “ASTs”) are less hidden, but pose equally significant concerns. ASTs can be very large and, in significant operations, could be organized into what are known as “tank farms.” Tank farms are large facilities used for the storage of chemical products, liquid petroleum, and petrochemicals. While ASTs (and specifically, tank farms) are less obscure than USTs, they can present substantial management concerns and contamination risks. ASTs are in many instances required to have “secondary containment,” which means a barrier like a concrete enclosure that will hold back any releases if the tanks rupture or become damaged. When secondary containment fails, large hazardous chemical spills can result.

Tank Leaks Throughout New Jersey Contaminate Property, Water, and Air

The combination of high population density and an aging residential infrastructure throughout New Jersey makes this state especially susceptible to problems associated with underground and above ground storage tank failure. For example, some homeowners who heat their houses with electricity or natural gas still have underground fuel oil tanks on their property dating from the 1890's. Decades of corrosion, undetected leaks, and the escape of toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater can create serious problems for nearby residents and homeowners. Of course, given the prevalence of USTs and ASTs, home heating oil tanks are just one example of this ubiquitous problem. Other commercial and industrial operators with above ground or underground tanks may be determined to be sources of contamination, including:

  • Plastics manufacturers
  • Adhesive developers
  • Pulp and paper manufacturers
  • Aerospace and heavy machinery manufacturers

Results of Leaking Underground and Aboveground Storage Tanks

When hazardous substances are released or discharged into the environment from an storage tank, it can have immediate impact or, sometimes, delayed effects that go undetected for years or more. Often, when pollution is released by storage tanks, it is spilled directly onto the ground (or sometimes into secondary containers that cannot hold back the release). When a substance escapes from tanks, it can penetrate the surface of the ground and impact the soil at a very deep level. The contamination can then leach from the soil into the groundwater. Groundwater is always flowing beneath us. When a substance penetrates the groundwater, it can travel “off-site,” impacting other resources in its path.

Contact the Toxic Injury Lawyers to Discuss Hazardous Chemical Spills That May Impact You, Your Family, or Your Community

If you have suffered harm from a tank leak, or if you fear that your proximity to a spill may affect your health in the future, you should know your legal rights and ask a lawyer to help you evaluate your options. Take action now and call the Toxic Injury Lawyers. Our staff is courteous and responsive. Our attorneys fight for people and communities that have been harmed by UST and AST leaks. With our many years of experience, we strive for results that provide lasting relief to people in need. Call now: 732.355.1311 or submit your case inquiry here