If the above-ground storage tanks are not properly maintained and managed, leakage of the tanks will not only pollute the surface water, but also cause soil or groundwater pollution. In order to strengthen the proper management of both underground and above-ground storage tanks, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (“TEPA”) has revised the “Measures for the Installation of Facilities and Monitoring Equipment for the Prevention of Groundwater Pollution Caused by Storage Systems”(“Measures”), which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The Measures request the managers of the storage tanks to conduct annual environmental monitoring and reporting relevant information to competent authority in stages, based on the types of materials being stored and capacity of the storage systems.
This project applied the following selection criteria for the initial screening of sites, then considered comments from the experts within the project’s advisory committee, and selected 55 sites (covering 21 industrial sectors) as the first group of sites for receiving the consultation and advisory services offered by the project. The adopted criteria for sites selection included: those with large storage capacity, used only for gasoline and/or diesel storage, located within environmentally sensitive areas, be representative of specific types of manufacturers and sectors, and categorized as underground storage tanks other than those of gas stations. Experts from the academia and industries with expertise in the environmental monitoring, corrosion prevention, and occupational risks and safety fields were invited to join the technical advisory committee of this project, to provide technical advices on pollution prevention and preventive management of facilities with storage systems, assist involved entities in implementing pollution prevention measures in storage systems, and improve their self-management process. Before conducting the on-site visits of these sites, three briefing sessions were held for the site personnel and the technical needs of the sites were collected during these sessions. In addition, the project organized one full day of meeting for interested parties which focused on the sharing of project achievements and exchange of implementation experiences. During this meeting, experts from the academia and industries were invited to give presentations and exchange practical experience on the maintenance and operation management and environmental monitoring issues of storage systems, as well as discussed domestic and foreign laws and regulations’ practices and development trends related to the storage tanks and associated pipelines.
Regarding the implementation results of this project, it was found that of the 55 sites participated in this project, 50 of them own storage tanks with over 10 years in age, and the average age for all tanks in this project is 28 years. The participating sites are most concerned with the issue of the tanks’ corrosion state and corrosion prevention. According to the statistics regarding the tanks’ corrosion, the occurrence of corrosion can be due to factors involving human, environment, and/or physical characteristics. Of these factors, and mitigation of human factors should focus on the maintenance and management measures. The second most concerned issue for the sites is the environmental monitoring of the storage systems. Twenty-two (22) of the participating sites have already or are planning to adopt monitoring measures (mostly on groundwater monitoring). The sites which have difficulty or are unable to install monitoring facilities/equipment in accordance with the legal requirements have been evaluated by the project’s experts and provided with the recommendations for alternative options. During this project’s consultation process, information related to the sites with good practice have been collected, including information on self-management procedures and contents of inspection, and compiled into a technical manual which can be referenced by other interested parties. In addition, this project has also conducted analyses on the implementation results of sites receiving consultation services, and proposed recommendations which should serve as the important input for the TEPA in developing future strategies for implementation of management measures for storage systems.