Storage tank sampling

Sampling an Underground Storage Tank: What You Need to Know

If you own a property with an underground storage tank, then you’re probably familiar with testing and assessing the health and reliability of your tank. While most people know this is a process that has to be completed, that tends to be where their knowledge ends—they don’t always understand the nuts and bolts. Today, we’re going to solve that problem by answering some common questions our clients have about their underground storage tanks. If you have one on your property, this is one article you won’t want to skip!

When should an underground storage tank be tested?

Underground storage tanks are tested in order to find or diagnose a problem or issue. Tanks are usually tested at a few key times, such as the anniversary of an installation, a change in ownership, or if it seems like there might be a leak due to a breakdown in equipment or the fact that fuel can be seen or smelled. Chances are, if you suspect your storage tank needs to be tested, it probably does!

Who can collect samples from an underground water tank?

In order to ensure the proper procedure is followed, samples must be collected by an environmental professional, such as the ones who work at Applied Resource Management. This is the best and only way to guarantee that the person completing this important work understands soil sampling requirements, laboratory tests, and next steps should the samples reveal that the tank is contaminated. (If you need a site assessment that includes sampling, do yourself a favor and contact Applied Resource Management today.)

What are these professionals looking for?

As with most things, it depends on the situation. If the tank was used to store gasoline, samples collected at the site will be tested for benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene, and xylene, among other things. Oil storage tanks can also be tested for water in the tank, which can be caused by roof spillage, condensation, or a bad oil delivery. If water is found, it needs to be pumped out to ensure the tank continues to operate safely and effectively.

How are samples collected?

Samples must be accurate, and they are generally taken from freshly exposed soil at a few key locations. Generally, a site assessment and sampling is completed during tank removal or from a soil boring. Samples have to be collected using bottles provided by the laboratory (no plastic baggies or Tupperware allowed!) and they must be labeled clearly with identifying information, such as date, time, and location. It’s also important to take each sample from a single location, rather than soil from all over the property. This is the only way to ensure that the results are an accurate and fair representation of contamination levels.

What parameters are required for the samples?

During a site assessment, samples are taken from the underground storage tank at the places where a leak or release is most likely to occur. The amount of samples will depend on the type of storage tank you have and where it’s located.

  • If you have a single tank, we will generally need two samples, taken from each end of the tank. The samples should be taken one to two feet below the floor of the excavation and above the water table.
  • If you have more than one underground storage tank that holds less than 10,000 gallons, we’ll need to take one sample per tank. The sample will be taken from under the center of each tank, and from a depth of one to two feet below the floor of the excavation ad above the water table.
  • If you have more than underground storage tank that holds more than 10,000 gallons, two samples will need to be taken from the end of each tank. The sample will also be taken from under the center of each tank, and from a depth of one to two feet below the floor of the excavation ad above the water table.

If you have an underground storage tank that needs to be tested, your next step is clear: contact Applied Resource Management today, and rest easy knowing the job will be done right.

protext wetlands on your property

5 Ways to Protect Wetlands on Your Property

At Applied Resource Management, one of our areas of expertise is wetlands delineation. This is process during which we determine whether and where wetlands are located on a property and, if the answer is “yes,” make recommendations about how to continue with your project in a safe and environmentally responsible way. (Curious about what wetlands are and why they’re important? You’re in luck—we covered this in a previous blog post!)

If you have wetlands on your property, it’s important not to view them as a problem. In reality, your wetlands are an opportunity to help preserve the fragile ecosystems that support certain plants and animals. Below are five ways to help your wetlands survive and thrive, and to become a steward of the environment in the process.

1. Maintain a buffer strip of native plants along streams and wetlands.

A buffer will stabilize the streambank, prevent erosion, and improve the health of the wetlands. Native plants are also more resistant to disease, which means you don’t need to use pesticides or fertilizers to help them thrive—in general, they have everything they need!

2. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
Speaking of lawn care aids, try to avoid them whenever possible. The chemicals these products contain can harm wildlife and aquatic life, and negatively impact water quality, especially downstream. If you have pest problem, opt for natural products such as soap or plant-based insecticides. You can also mulch using lawn clippings and leaves instead of fertilizer. Not only are they better for your wetlands, they’re also free!

3. Avoid non-native and invasive species of plants.
Non-native plants have had a devastating effect on wetlands worldwide. The can quickly become invasive, choking out the native species and altering the way the wetlands function. If you see non-native plants moving in, remove them immediately. And if you’re thinking about planting something exotic because it looks cool, don’t. There are plenty of beautiful native species to celebrate and embrace—nurture those instead, and enjoy a healthier environment as a bonus.

4. Avoid stormwater run-off and don’t pollute.

Wetlands need plenty of water to thrive, and much of that is supplied by stormwater—especially in urban areas. If you live near or on wetlands, your stormwater feeds into it. This is why it’s so important to keep stormwater clean, not just for the wetlands on your property, but for any wetlands that might be located downstream from where you live or work. Basically, if you wouldn’t want to swim in it, then don’t throw it down a storm drain!

5. Keep your pets under control.

We love animals and understand that dogs and cats are more than just pets—for many of us, they’re a part of our families. That said, animals can wreak havoc on wetlands and the wildlife populations that live there. The only way to keep all lives—animals and otherwise—safe is to make sure dogs and cats don’t have access to your wetlands. Keep dogs leashed or fenced in, and make sure your cats stay indoors as much as possible. Your wetlands will thank you!

We hope these tips help you keep your wetlands safe, happy, and healthy! If you’re not sure if you have wetlands on your property or don’t know how to best take care of them, contact Applied Resource Management today. Our experts will help you go green and stay that way!