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Water-Related News

High-risk underground fuel tanks in Florida await cleanup as state spends millions on easy fixes

Scattered across Florida are 19,000 underground petroleum storage tanks that are no longer in use and may be leaking into the aquifer, the state’s drinking water supply.

State records show that 738 of them are in Pinellas County, 792 in Hillsborough, 101 in Pasco and 61 in Hernando.

Most people who live near them don’t even know they are there, or that they might be polluting their water. State law doesn’t require anyone to warn them.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, in charge of cleaning up the mess, was originally supposed to work on the highest-priority sites first, those posing the greatest threat to human health.

But at the direction of lawmakers and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, that’s no longer the case.