Underground Storage Tanks — a case exploration in KC

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  • My student, @annnguyen and I learned of a situation where community has been complaining about a gaseous smell coming from what is believed to be leaky underground storage tanks (USDs), that are no longer in use. As an environmental health professional, it is my responsibility to address these exposure concerns. I have also been tasked with identifying Environmental justice problems in my local community. This one seemed appropriate.

    When i reached out to a well respected community leader from the same neighborhood to discuss how to problem solve around this situation, i was told to leave it to the feds and to avoid involving community members in this conversation at all. Much of the information has not been made available in the past because of a (now respolved) lawsuit involving the USTs.

    So now we are first going through the emails and legal documents I was able to obtain to determine a timeline and figure out what is actually going on. If residents near the USDs will allow us, we will do some interviewing. Once we put the puzzle pieces together from community, state and federal entities, we will report back our findings to those who are interested. Additionally, we may be able to help identify funding for remediation if people want this, and we may be able to provide health education regarding the exposures of concern if people are interested.

    We are going to see how it goes, using the SciCAN forum as a way to document the story and see if the SciCAN community can provide some helpful feedback or recommendations along the way.

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