Paper No. 58-7
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
INVESTIGATING UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK (UST) ENVIRONMENTAL DATA IN OHIO: RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING INDUSTRY WITH TIES TO SOCIOECONOMICS
Underground storage tanks (USTs) are intimately tied to surface geology and groundwater systems and are the subject of a major area for environmental geologic consulting. USTs often contain petroleum or other hazardous substances and play a major role in the contamination of water resources. These issues include extensive threats to the drinking water supplies, as well as potential fire and explosion hazards. Environmental release from USTs has been occurring over the past century or longer and in the 1980s legislation was passed to deal with these problems by the federal government, shortly followed by state governments. States track the environmental state of USTs and there are quality records for monitoring releases and related data. Whether there are correlations to other socioeconomic factors and environmental compliance conditions is not known. To assess if such correlations exist, an analysis of UST data from all eighty-eight counties in Ohio was undertaken. Internal data set parameters were also investigated and include underground storage tank spills compared to the number of completed clean ups. Current results indicate that Ohio counties with lower economic stature have higher release rates and lower clean up completion rates. These results are broadly consistent with other environmental pollution trends where more pollution is associated with lower socioeconomic stature. Determining the exact cause for this correlation is challenging and overall economic factors are being explored. An evaluation of the physiographic location and UST release characteristics is also pending as Ohio has both glaciated and unglaciated regions. Preliminary results suggest that state UST data may be a fruitful area of research in the context of bridging geology energy-socioeconomic study to target future cleanup efforts.