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DEQ reports improved safety at underground oil storage tanks

Compliance rate among highest in nation

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality inspections of underground fuel storage tanks have found nearly 90 percent are complying with state environmental regulations. That's one of the highest rates in the nation and beats the national compliance rate of 68.6 percent, according to DEQ.

'This is great news and shows that our inspections of these facilities on a regular cycle lead to positive environmental results,' said Stephanie Holmes, federal program coordinator for DEQ's Underground Storage Tanks Program in Portland.

The facilities include gas stations, truck fleet operators and industrial facilities.

In August 2007, DEQ began inspecting each of the state's active and temporarily closed underground storage tank facilities once every three years. The compliance rate for the three-year period ending August 2010 was 85 percent.

Compliance during the past year, ending Sept. 30, 2011, went up to 89.9 percent. During that period, DEQ inspected 521 of the state's 1,964 underground storage tank facilities. Holmes said the improved compliance rate during second-round inspections proves the effectiveness of a regular cycle of inspections, assuring environmental compliance and preventing fuel leaks and contamination.

To read a report on DEQ's inspections for the 2011 federal fiscal year: www.deq.state.or.us/lq/pubs/docs/tanks/USTPublicRecord.pdf