Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

Developed by Joe Ryan, University of Colorado

 UST Legislation
 State Support
 Cleanup Status
 UST Definitions

 Oil Inspect Sec
 UST Data


LUST Anatomy
 Site Character
 New Tanks

State of Colorado's LUST Program

In the state of Colorado, regulation of leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) containing petroleum products is the responsibility of the Oil Inspection Section of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

For non-petroleum hazardous substances, LUSTs containing waste are overseen by the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

Oil Inspection Section

Under the Petroleum Tank Storage Program, the Oil Inspection Section enforces regulations governing the installation and safe operation of both above-ground and underground petroleum storage tanks.  They are also responsible for oversight of remediation of petroleum contamination resulting from leaking tanks and spills.  As of September 1999, the Colorado LUST program was not one of the 30 state programs approved by the EPA, but the Colorado program has most of the features of other states that have gained EPA approval. 

The Petroleum Storage Tank Program administers Colorado's Petroleum Storage Tank Fund, which reimburses eligible tank owners and operators, property owners, and lenders for allowable costs incurred in cleaning up petroleum contamination in cases where the owners could not cover the costs themselves. The Petroleum Storage Tank Fund is funded by surcharges on all petroleum products except railroad and aircraft fuel.  The Petroleum Storage Tank web page provides detailed information on

The Oil Inspection Section also maintains a fairly comprehensive FAQ for petroleum storage tank operation, contamination, and cleanup issues and links to the Colorado statutes and regulations pertaining to petroleum storage tanks.

Petroleum Storage Tank Data

The Oil Inspection Section maintains a complete listing of petroleum USTs, LUSTs, and above-ground tanks along with corresponding details on owner, facility, and tank summaries.  This information can be viewed on-line or downloaded as a CVS (comma value separated) file that can be viewed in Microsoft Excel and saved as an XLS file.

The LUST information can be sorted by location (county, city, zip code), by type of tank (UST, LUST, above-ground), by owner and facility (e.g., Conoco), and by status (active or closed).  For example, a search for active LUSTs in Boulder County yielded a list of 76 sites downloaded on a spreadsheet.

On line, the details of individual sites can be accessed.  For example, information provided for the site "Amoco #3712" at 2990 Diagonal Hwy lists the number and type of USTs in use (3 6000-8000 gallon tanks for gasoline, one 500 gallon tank for used oil), a contact and phone number.  It also notes that "leaks have been detected at this site," apparently at the time the station was run by Chevron, and that a closure letter was signed in April 1995.  Site locations can also be viewed via a convenient link to a street map.

LUSTs and Other Hazardous Substances

LUSTs containing hazardous materials other than petroleum products that are considered waste are managed by the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division (HMWMD).  They maintain a 24-hour hotline for reporting emergency chemical spills and releases in Colorado (877-518-5608).

USTs containing other hazardous substances as product are not directly regulated by HMWMD -- the fire safety and construction codes for underground storage tanks are considered sufficient to guard against leaks.  However, if leaks occur, HMWMD would be involved with the response and cleanup.  At this time, no significant LUST problems exist for non-petroleum hazardous substances in Colorado (personal communication, Cindy Smith, HMWMD, October 2000).

Report leaking underground storage tanks:
  (emergency pager)

Report emergency chemical spills: HOTLINE

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