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Prepare Fuel Storage Tanks for Possible Flooding

floodingBusinesses and municipalities that own fuel oil, gasoline, or other petroleum tanks need to prepare for possible spring flooding. Floodwater can enter buried and uncapped tanks, forcing fuel out and into businesses, homes, and the environment.

Doug Bellefeuille, Emergency Responder at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) Detroit Lakes office, says those who have underground fuel storage tanks should make sure the tanks are vented above the height of potential floodwater. Aboveground storage tanks also need attention. “The best way to prepare an aboveground fuel storage tank for a flood is to have it emptied,” says Bellefeuille in an MPCA news release. “Your bulk fuel distributor can do that. If that’s not possible or practical, the tank should be secured to concrete anchors or deadmen in the ground so it can’t float away or turn over, spilling its contents."

If floodwater comes into contact with unsecured fuel oil tanks in basements, it can make them unstable, tip over and/or float on the surface of the water. If a tank’s vent, fill pipe or other openings are not watertight, floodwater will enter the tank and displace the fuel into the building. In addition, underground tanks at commercial facilities should be topped off and their vents and fill openings sealed so the tanks are watertight.

Contact information to report a fuel tank leak:

  • Minnesota Duty Officer: 800-422-0798
  • Montana Duty Officer: 406-431-0014
  • North Dakota Duty Officer: 800-773-3259
  • South Dakota Duty Officer: 605-773-3231

For additional information from the MPCA about protecting your health, property, and the environment before or after a flood, click here.



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