Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Audrey D. Levine, Ph.D.


Gasoline remediation, Underground storage tanks, Government efficiency, Progress evaluation, Government performance


Cleanup of leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites has been a priority for the United States of America (USA) for more than 20 years due to the large number of sites, the potential harmful health affects associated with gasoline components and the fact that single owners may not have the ability to pay for cleanup of these sites. In June 2006, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that of the 459,637 confirmed releases from USTs that had occurred previously, 342,688 had been remediated, which leaves 116,949 sites yet to be completed across the USA. Petroleum cleanup programs tend to be managed at the State level; however, there are wide variations among State programs in terms of information access, risk perception and funding availability.

While each of the Federal and State UST programs has evolved to meet specific requirements, there has not been a comprehensive comparison of the individual State programs.In this thesis, State petroleum cleanup programs across the USA are evaluated to determine similarities and differences in an effort to identify factors that affect petroleum cleanup progress. Many parameters enter the equation in determining petroleum cleanup effectiveness. Not only are the parameters of the State program operation important, but also the characteristics of each State, including drinking water source and perceived risk associated with petroleum contamination, factor into the determination.A representative group of States and State petroleum cleanup programs were evaluated and the characteristics of States were compared to cleanup progress to determine factors affecting efficiency.

Based on trend analysis the cleanup levels for toluene, ethylbenzene and total xylenes correlate directly to the cost of LUST site cleanup. For States with less perceived risk from petroleum contamination, the cleanup goals are less stringent; therefore, fewer resources and less time are required to complete site cleanup. Consequently, petroleum cleanup in States with less-stringent goals is achieved more efficiently. The knowledge of these drivers of efficient petroleum cleanup can be used to expeditiously pursue completion of the thousands of sites remaining across the USA.