PBS1.jpgPetroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and waste oil are common chemicals that are stored in significant quantities throughout Rockland County.  Improper storage and handling of these chemicals can result in spills and discharges into the environment that can threaten public health.  In Rockland, we rely heavily on groundwater as a drinking water supply.  Public and private wells provide drinking water to more than half of our 300,000+ residents.  Both drinking water wells and petroleum storage facilities  are widely dispersed throughout the County.  There are approximately 1,340 regulated storage tanks capable of storing over 430,000 gallons of petroleum product in Rockland.   Due to the widespread usage of these products and our relatively dense suburban development, petroleum products likely represent the greatest chemical contamination risk to our drinking water resources.

 

The dedicated staff that implement our program are responsible for regulating petroleum storage systems to prevent discharges to the waters and soils of the County.  Our goal is zero product loss from our regulated facilities.  The primary activities of this program include providing routine comprehensive storage system inspections; coordinating formal enforcement action; registration and certification of all facilities and tanks; regulatory oversight of tank and line tightness testing; regulatory oversight of underground tank removals;  review and approval of engineering design and installation for new systems; while providing technical assistance to owners, operators, contractors and consultants.  These efforts ensure that storage equipment is properly installed, monitored, and maintained.  Our inspections prompt early detection and correction of potential equipment failures that could lead to discharges into the environment.  When discharges do occur, our staff ensures that timely action is taken to eliminate the source of the leak and spills are reported to the appropriate agencies to initiate investigative and remedial response.

PBS2.jpgThe minimum standards for Petroleum Bulk Storage systems are set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The state and federal regulations are incorporated into Article X of the Rockland County Sanitary Code and are enforced by the Department of Health.  We are one of five counties delegated this responsibility in New York State.  Local implementation of this program provides enhanced regulatory oversight of petroleum storage systems within Rockland.  The frequency of comprehensive storage system inspections and the overall level of regulatory oversight provided by our staff is significantly more than what can reasonably be expected of state resources who enforce similar regulations over larger regions with vastly more regulated facilities.   We value the enhanced protection that this program provides to the sensitive drinking water resources that serve the communities of Rockland County.

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