SALT LAKE CITY -- Associated Food Stores here is analyzing the steps needed to bring its underground fuel-storage tanks into compliance with Environmental Protection Agency requirements. The distributor is weighing the costs of upgrading the tanks vs. the savings and convenience they provide its transportation operations.
Fuel is a major cost required to run a transportation fleet. By having its own underground storage tanks, Associated Food Stores has been able to save money because of the volume of fuel it pumps into its trucks itself.
Underground storage tanks for fuel need to be certified as meeting certain EPA requirements by Dec. 22, 1998, said Darwin Dewsnup, transportation manager at Associated Food Stores.
While four of the distributor's underground storage tanks in Salt Lake City and two in Helena, Mont., already meet the requirements, two tanks in Boise, Idaho, and two in Billings, Mont., are under review.
If tanks do not comply with all EPA requirements within the stated time frame, fines are levied and vendors who provide fuel to the wholesaler will not be able to deliver to its sites.
"In the Billings division, we are probably going to close and pull those tanks. We'll fuel at an outside location," said Dewsnup.
"The cost to own the tanks and the gallons we pump, along with having to meet the new regulations and worry about pollution, don't justify having tanks.
"But in Boise we've yet to determine whether the tanks can be fixed to meet certification or will be pulled," he added.
The requirements for certification include having spill protection for the tanks, which involves having catchment basins to contain spills from delivery hoses.
Tanks also must have overfill protection, achieved with one of the following items: an automatic shutoff device, an overfill alarm or a ball float valve.
The third requirement is corrosion protection for both tanks and piping.
"You have to have a corrosion-resistant coating and cathodic protection," Dewsnup said. Cathodic protection prevents the metal from being eaten away by electric charges in the earth, he explained.