Monday, June 20, 2011

LUST All Around Me

It's sad that finding 87 octane gas for $3.65 a gallon is a "nice surprise" on par with today's discovery that my change jar yielded 85 dollars.   When we become so entranced with the daily price change of oil and gasoline is a good time to examine what is included when we buy a gallon of gas.

For each gallon you pump, a penny goes into the EPA's Leaking Underground Storage Tank trust fund. The trust fund has two purposes, one, to provide money for overseeing and enforcing corrective action to clean up the leaking tank. Second, the Trust Fund provides money for cleanups at UST sites where the owner can't be determined or the corrective action cannot be enforced.

We know we use a lot of gallons of gas, and that means a large fund - we're talking 100 million per year.  But how big is the problem, really?

Today I looked up information on LUST sites in Michigan and decided to make a map.  I got the data from a state website.  Perhaps the most disturbing is how much information is missing from this spreadsheet.  Perhaps more disturbing that the sheer number of sites (there are thousands of sites leaking contaminates into the ground) is that contact information for the owner is often either non-existent or consists of something like "Charles".

Turns out it's a huge problem.  Take a look at this map of LUST sites in southeast Michigan classified as "open", which means environmental concerns remain and may worsen.


Just in Michigan.

That's a lot of little purple dots...

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