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July 26, 2016 | Vol. 66, No. 14

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In This Issue

Dear PEI Member:

The vast majority of the estimated 100,000 federally-regulated underground diesel fuel tanks in the United States may be at risk of leaking due to troubling corrosion levels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a 62-page report released July 20. In addition to the report, EPA also released a notice about corrosion risks in underground storage tanks (USTs) storing diesel fuel.

EPA’s research showed that 83 percent—35 of 42—of the USTs they studied exhibited moderate or severe corrosion, but less than 25 percent of owners were aware of corrosion prior to EPA’s research inspections, according to Carolyn Hoskinson, director of EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST). The study concluded that corrosion inside UST systems “could result in an increased chance of releases of fuel to the environment and subsequent groundwater contamination.”

EPA found “corrosion occurring on all types of UST system metal components, including submersible turbine pump shafts, automatic tank gauge probe shafts, risers, overfill equipment like flapper valves and ball valves, bungs around tank penetrations, inner walls of tanks, and fuel suction tubes.” EPA’s findings will not come as a surprise to most PEI members, who were among the first to report evidence of corrosion of this sort in 2007. In fact, EPA’s report acknowledges that visual observations of the 35 USTs showing moderate or severe corrosion “were consistent with observations of corrosion reported from PEI’s 2010 industry corrosion study and CDFA’s [Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance’s] 2012 study as well as general anecdotes from the UST industry.” 

EPA’s Diesel UST Corrosion Investigation

PEI RP1700 Committee Appointed


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Although EPA’s research population “was geographically, materially, and operationally diverse,” the number of USTs studied represent a small percentage of USTs in diesel service across the nation, and EPA’s report acknowledges “the types of USTs and maintenance practices by owners in the research population may differ from those in the national population of USTs storing diesel. Therefore, EPA cannot predict if the presence of moderate or severe corrosion in diesel USTs across the United States will be higher or lower than identified in our research.”

The EPA study did not conduct any research into possible causes for accelerated corrosion in diesel fuel UST systems. Indeed, currently no definitive research has yielded conclusive evidence of the corrosion mechanism(s) involved. However, the combination of study results and industry field experience suggests that microbiologically-influenced corrosion (MIC) linked to the production of low molecular weight organic (e.g., acetic and glyceric) acids is a leading mechanism of corrosion in USTs. The Coordinating Research Council (CRC), a non-profit industry research organization, is in the process of evaluating proposals from contractors who would utilize controlled laboratory testing to address the unanswered questions raised by investigations and studies from EPA and other organizations. The laboratory study conducted by the CRC later this year is expected to focus on 11 potential factors influencing or contributing to accelerated corrosion. EPA will cooperate and contribute to the CRC study, according to Carolyn Hoskinson.

Until a widely-accepted solution to the problem is found, EPA’s notice recommends “actions tank owners can take now to minimize the corrosion and the associated risks while stakeholders look for a solution.” They include:

  • Visually inspecting fuel filters and inside UST system access points for symptoms of corrosion.

  • Contacting “UST service companies to further evaluate the extent of corrosion inside tanks. These companies can remove and check equipment for evidence of corrosion; they may also sometimes use a specially designed video camera to conduct a thorough inspection inside an UST system. If observations show corrosion, the company might remove more equipment and check to ensure all equipment is functioning properly. The company might suggest additional testing for the functionality of overfill protection equipment, leak detection equipment and automatic tank gauges. Testing the integrity of both single-walled and double-walled tanks for absolute tightness may also be warranted.”

  • Repairing or replacing equipment as necessary to ensure proper functionality if tank owners or the servicing company finds corrosion.

EPA’s website explains that corrosion in USTs storing fuels like diesel does not violate federal UST requirements. However, the website goes on to say that “UST owners and operators must ensure corrosion does not affect the functionality of their equipment. If UST equipment does not function as intended, it may violate the federal UST regulation or lead to releases into the environment.” EPA also states that owners and operators should contact their state implementing agencies because they may impose requirements more stringent than the federal regulations.

2016 PEI president Steve Trabilsy has appointed nine people to serve on a committee charged with writing Recommended Practices for the Closure of Underground Storage Tanks and Shop-Fabricated Aboveground Storage Tanks (working title). Members include: Alex Ralston (chair), Petcon, Inc., Jackson, MS; Carl E. Bayliss, B C & C LLC, Winchester, VA; Danny Brevard, Accent Environmental Services Inc., Lufkin, TX; Todd Darrough, QuikTrip Corporation, Tulsa, OK; Ron Kingsbury, UST Services Corporation, Owings, MD; Marshall D. Ryan, Unified Services of Texas, Inc., Southlake, TX; Steve Stookey, The Wills Group Inc., La Plata, MD; Steve Thickstun, Advanced Fuel Systems Inc., Columbus, OH; and Michael C. Williams, Clayton Services/Crompco LLC, Plymouth Meeting, PA.

LSI Industries Inc., North Canton, Ohio, has announced the appointment of Jon Bartlett as senior vice president of operations for LSI Graphic Solutions’ Ohio operation and division headquarters. Bartlett has been with LSI since the 2001 acquisition of Adapt Engineering.
SloanLED is now partnering with several manufacturing representatives to represent its products. P&G Marketing and Associates will focus on a territory covering KS, MO, NE, IA and IL. Advanced Petroleum Systems (APS) will represent SloanLED in CO, ID, MT, UT and WY. T & D Sales will represent the company in AZ, CA and NV.
 United Fueling Solutions and Leighton O’Brien have expanded their strategic partnership, with D&H United Fueling Solutions acquiring Leighton O’Brien’s existing business in Texas and the State of Texas territory. Mike Thornton, Leighton O’Brien’s former vice president of operations, has joined D&H United to manage the firm’s tank and fuel cleaning business in Texas.
The California Independent Oil Marketers Association has hired Ryan Hanretty as its executive director, due to the recent resignation of Julia McCann, executive vice president, and the pending retirement of Jay McKeeman, vice president of government relations, later this year.”—Oil Express News Alert, July 20, 2016.

Wireless connections equipment manufacturer. AvaLAN Wireless, 127 Jetplex Circle, Suite A, Madison, Alabama 35758, has applied for manufacturer division membership. Courtney Hamby is the marketing coordinator for the firm, which was established in 2004. The company creates secure and reliable wireless Ethernet connections for devices. The company is represented by a number of PEI distributors. Sponsored for PEI membership by Evan Reid, Gilbarco, Greensboro, NC. www.avalanwireless.com.
Leak detection manufacturer. Smart Sensor Technology, Bezanabella 33, 39100, Santa Cruz de Bezana, Cantabria, Spain, has applied for manufacturer division membership. Santiago Ramas is CEO and founder of the company, which was established in 2009. The firm manufactures leak detection systems for monitoring wells. The systems are sold through distributors. Sponsored for PEI membership by Etrum Tufekci, ToraPetrol, Istanbul, Turkey. www.sst-system.com.
Georgia engineering firm. GreenbergFarrow, 1430 West Peachtree Street NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, has applied for affiliate division membership. Blake Gourley is an engineer with the firm, which was established in 1974. GreenbergFarrow is a fully integrated architectural, planning, engineering and development services firm. Sponsored for PEI membership by Andrew Knapp, Franklin, Madison, WI. www.greenbergfarrow.com  

Island Pump & Tank Corp., 40 Doyle Court, East Northport, New York 11731, has requested its membership in PEI be transferred from the service and construction division to the distributor division. The company represents CentralIL, Cree, Franklin, PMPCorp, Verifone and Wayne. The transfer is sponsored by Dave Embertson, ErlingS&S, Pflugerville, TX, and Joey D. Batchelor, Guardian, Jacksonville, FL.


  • Fuel Management Services, Inc., Toms River, NJ (aff)
  • Conmattest, Dallas, TX (aff)


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© 2015
Petroleum Equipment Institute
P. O. Box 2380
Tulsa, OK 74101-2380

The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Robert N. Renkes, Executive Vice President, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.