Legacy tanks typically store fuel and other hazardous chemicals underground. These tanks generally receive a little-to-no maintenance and were buried before strict regulations were established.

Experts are concerned about the chemicals leaching into municipal drinking water.  A recent fuel leak in Flat Rock was suspected to be caused by a pair of underground steel tanks. The fuel spread to the Huron River by a tributary, as spotted by a fisherman.

After a swift cleanup and containment efforts (such as closing the park), the Flat Rock tanks are a microcosm for a much more significant issue throughout the entire state. Over 8,000 underground storage tanks are potentially leaking, according to the state of Michigan.

Jill Greenberg, an employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, said, “Of the 24,000 contaminated sites, 8,000 are leaky underground storage tanks. If there’s a property transaction and the owner knows about contamination, they are legally required to disclose it.”

Companies that are no longer in business are notorious for abandoning tanks as far back as 100 years ago. Greenberg suggested a need for heavier funding to address the unregistered sites, such as those in Flat Rock. However, state leaders anticipate a budget of $163 million to locate and remedy the tanks that have slipped through time.

The overwhelming feeling at the state and federal levels is that these storage tanks pose an urgent crisis that cannot continue to be ignored. Some representatives believe infrastructure dollars should be used toward the tanks.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said, “EGLE inherited an outdated it system that heavily relied on paper records. We are in the process of upgrading our system and that will allow us to categorize, cross reference and track the contaminated properties we know about.”

United States Representative Debbie Dingell said the tanks in Flat Rock were 100 years old and said, “Nobody had a record of them. I’m sure there’s situations like that all over the state.”

The State of Michigan’s Office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working in conjunction with EGLE to address the tanks. Unfortunately, holding current property owners accountable is fruitless, since many of the tanks were abandoned decades ago. Regardless, regulations should be established now to minimize surprises in the future.

Are you worried about chemicals in your water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

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