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

A schematic of a typical LUST spill site (Mace et al., 1997).  The leaky tank releases gasoline, or "liquid phase hydrocarbon."  The gasoline descends through the unsaturated soil zone (depicted as the yellow layer) to float on the water table (gasoline is lighter than water).  In the "smear zone," the gasoline releases compounds like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) to the groundwater (depicted as the blue layer) and they are carried in the direction of groundwater flow. The extent of contamination is defined by the concentration of benzene (from 10 to 10,000 parts per billion) in the groundwater.


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