WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government owns hundreds of underground
fuel tanks that need to be inspected for leaks of hazardous substances that could be making local water undrinkable.
The Associated Press has found that FEMA (The Federal Emergency
Management Agency) has known since at least the 1990s that many of
its tanks around the country could be leaking fuel into soil and
The agency knows of at least 150 underground tanks that need to be inspected for leaks. Four of them are in Kansas -- two in Topeka and one each in Garden City and Hays.
Many of these tanks were built to store 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel and placed around the country at the height of the Cold War. The fuel would be used to run electric generators that could sustain emergency broadcasts by radio stations in case of a nuclear attack or other catastrophe. Made of steel, the tanks inevitably rust over time and allow fuel to escape.
A FEMA spokesperson says it has no documented reports of any tanks actually leaking or of any harm to communities because of the tanks.