Underground Storage Tanks

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are tanks and connected underground piping that are buried at least ten percent (10%) underground. They make our lives better by storing the fuel we use to fill our cars and, in some instances, even the oil we use to heat our homes. Over time, however, virtually all tanks will eventually leak and can pose serious threats to our environment and human health. Petroleum and other chemicals leaking from USTs may contaminate soil and groundwater. Responding to leaking USTs will require good legal and technical assistance.

Our attorneys assist clients as diverse as gas station operators and owners to adjoining landowners and neighboring residents. UST owners and operators often need assistance navigating complex federal and state regulations governing their operations and negotiating with regulators regarding Notices of Violation and Civil Penalty Assessments. Homeowners and prospective purchasers can also use experienced counsel when dealing with a home heating oil tank discovered on the property.

To assist UST owners and operators with clean-up associated costs, the State of North Carolina has established two funds, the Commercial Trust Fund and the Noncommercial Trust Fund. The Commercial Fund covers costs relating to USTs containing petroleum products for resale and farm and residential motor fuels tanks larger than 1,100 gallons. The Non-commercial Fund covers costs associated with smaller tanks and home heating oil tanks. Our attorneys can help clients maximize the amount of reimbursement received from these funds.

Working closely with regulators and consultants, our attorneys work to obtain a No Further Action Letter from the State to bring these matters to closure as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Many such cleanups can be closed out with a Notice of Residual Petroleum filed in the county deed records.

Groundwater well owners and users need skilled and tenacious litigators to assert legal claims arising out of personal injuries and property damages resulting from chemicals released into the groundwater by leaking USTs. Given the combined experience of our team of attorneys, we are able to assist our clients in anticipating potential liabilities and planning appropriate responses to such leaks.

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For more information please call (919) 754-1600 or email us.