Until the mid-1980s most underground storage tanks (USTs) were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time and allow UST contents to leak into the environment. The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that its contents (petroleum or other hazardous substances) can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. . . Nearly all USTs regulated by the underground storage tank requirements contain petroleum.

What is a UST? (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Facts About USTs

  • 1,939,493 USTs properly closed since 1984
  • 493,967 USTs have been cleaned up cumulatively
  • The EPA’s UST program has 63,677 UST sites left to clean up

Semiannual Report of UST Performance Measures Mid Fiscal Year 2020 (October 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020) (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oct. 1, 2019-Mar. 21, 2020)

The Basics of Underground Storage Tanks  

Buried Oil Tanks: How to Identify and Fix the Risks to Your Home (Redfin, Aug. 21, 2019)

Preventing Releases in Underground Storage Tanks (Materials Performance, Mar. 4, 2020)

The Problem with Storage Tanks: What You Need to Know to Own or Operate (Woodruff Sawyer, Aug. 8, 2019)

Preventing Petroleum Pollution in New Jersey (Environmental Protection Online, May 30, 2019)

How to Deal with an Aging Underground Storage Tank (Fuss & O’Neill, Jul. 10, 2018)

The Guide to Underground Storage Tanks for Homeowners, Buyers & Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Aug. 2014)

Information for REALTORS®

Property Values (Center for Health, Environment & Justice, Aug. 2019)

6 Things You Need to Know about Underground Storage Tanks (Beverly Hanks, Aug. 21, 2018)

What Is Your UST Doing to Your Property Value?(Optima Environmental Services, July 11, 2017)

Do Housing Values Respond to Underground Storage Tank Releases? Evidence from High-Profile Cases across the United States (National Center for Environmental Economics/United States Environmental Protection Agency, March 2016)

What Do Property Values Really Tell Us? A Hedonic Study of Underground Storage Tanks (Land Economics, May 2013) E

Surveys, Market Interviews, and Environmental Stigma (The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2004) E

Effect of Previous Environmental Contamination on Industrial Real Estate Prices (The Appraisal Journal, Apr. 2001) E

Insurance & Liability Issues

List of Known Insurance Providers for Underground Storage Tank Owners and Operators (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Jul. 2020)

Major Fossil Fuel Power Producer to Pay District $2.5 Million for Polluting Potomac River (WJLA, May 28, 2020)

Underground Storage Tank Leaks Trigger Closure of Northern Arizona Gas Stations (KNAU, Jan. 17, 2020)

Can Environmental Insurance Succeed Where Other Strategies Fail? The Case of Underground Storage Tanks (Risk Analysis: An International Journal, Jan. 2011) E

NAR State Issues Tracker - See topic “Sellers Required Disclosures” for information on state disclosure requirements (nar.realtor login is required).

Government & Non-Profit Organizations

Many U.S. states have environmental departments or commissions. These departments can be a great source of information on state specific compliance and disclosure requirements.

To Find an Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Office, Check out the EPA Organization Chart (U.S. Department of the Environment)

To Find a State-Run Department in Your State, Check Out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Health and Environmental Agencies of U.S. States and Territories (U.S. Department of the Environment)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Underground Storage Tanks
Mailing Address:
U.S. EPA/Office of Underground Storage Tanks
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Mail Code: 5401R
Washington, DC 20460

Street Address:
U.S. EPA/Office of Underground Storage Tanks
Ronald Reagan Building, 7th Floor
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20004

(202) 564-0663

Environmental Council of the States (A Non-Profit Association of State and Territorial Environmental Agency Leaders)

The Environmental Council of the States
1250 H Street NW
Suite 850
Washington, DC 20001


The Groundwater Foundation (A Non-Profit, Non-Government Affiliated Organization)

601 Dempsey Road

Westerville OH 43081


eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Complete Book of Insurance (eBook)

How to Insure Your Home (Kindle, eBook)

Land Use Law for Sustainable Development (eBook)

Pollution & Property (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Green Building and Sustainable Development: The Practical Legal Guide (Chicago, IL: American Bar Association, 2009) KF5505 .G735 2009

The Effect of Underground Storage Tanks on Residential Property Values in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Ohio, 1994) NAC 1565 Oh3

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


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