Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)


Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

John J. Kupa


The components of gasoline are among the most toxic substances common in our environment. Yet because petroleum products are so ubiquitous and essential to the economic well being of our society, the hazards associated with exposure to these toxics have often been overlooked.

Recently, evidence of widespread groundwater pollution due to leaking underground storage of petroleum and other hazardous substances has come to light. Because dependence on groundwater for drinking water supplies is so great and because this dependence is expected to grow in the future, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a regulatory scheme to control and manage the hazards associated with underground storage. Groundwater aquifers are extremely fragile and finite resources deserving federal protection.

This paper will attempt to illuminate the nature and scope of the underground storage problem and explore the solutions the EPA proposed through their regulation program. Of the state regulatory programs which exceed federal minimum requirements, the Rhode Island regulation plan will be analyzed as an especially sensitive and effective program which is likely to be emulated by other states with similar groundwater and tank conditions. Finally regulatory and non-regulatory measures which may be adopted by municipalities will be outlined along with enforcement procedures designed to ensure compliance and maximum protection of groundwater resources from pollution associated with underground storage of petroleum products and other hazardous substances.



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