Posted by - UST Operator Training

Hawaiian Volcano

Currently, there are no Underground Storage Tank (UST) facilities in the path of the fissures and lava flows from the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Kilauea erupted on May 3 resulting in several homes and businesses being destroyed, and more than 2,000 residents evacuated as fissures and lava flows continue to move further into the island. Earthquakes and aftershocks continue to rock the island.

According to a Hawaiian official, who oversees USTs in the island, the situation is “constantly changing but at last look, it was about five miles away (from the nearest UST facility).

“Years ago, lava was moving closer to a Pahala gas station. The owners/operators were asked to empty their tanks at that time but luckily that particular lava run did stop progressing towards that location.”

If the lava-flow advances, the department advises:

  • Remove/pump out remaining gasoline, diesel or other petroleum products from underground storage tanks.  Store in movable containers such as drums, tote tanks or tankers.
  • Once the tanks are emptied they must be properly vented and capped
  • Check with local distributors to see if they will accept the products for resale
  • While the tanks are empty, release detection is not required.

Hawaiian officials are protective of their unique environment. Beginning in 2045 no UST facilities can be constructed within 100 yards of the shoreline. Existing USTs in this zone will still be permitted and operate.