Iowa Station Owners Seek Relief to Replace Tanks

URBANDALE, Iowa — Iowa gas stations and convenience stores have asked state lawmakers to create a grant program to replace underground storage tanks for both gas and diesel.

"A majority of these tanks are approaching or exceeding their useful life of 25 to 30 years and therefore over time they will become susceptible to leaks and other environmental hazards," Dawn Carlson, president of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, told Radio Iowa. "And they are certainly not compatible with ethanol blends higher than 10 percent."

Iowa has offered grants of up to $50,000 per location since 2006, but only to gas station operators that offer E85 — a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline — at the pump. Carlson is asking lawmakers to expand this grant program so that underground storage tanks in use for more than 25 years can be replaced by "green" tanks.

"By removing and replacing these tanks, we will be protecting the environment and also help ensure that fuel does not leak into Iowa’s groundwater," Carlson told the news outlet. "Additionally, underground storage tanks currently in place were not designed for these higher level blends. Installation of new tanks that are compatible with up to E100 will enable retailers to sell higher blends of renewable fuels in the future."

Carlson added that the cost of new underground storage tanks is simply too expensive for most convenience store operators.

In 1989, Iowa set up a fund to remove and clean up leaking underground storage tanks. Since, more than 6,000 sites have been evaluated, and more than $250 million has been spent to remove or clean up these tanks, reported the news source.

Urbandale-based Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa represents more than 2,000 business in the Hawkeye State. 

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