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Leaking Underground Storage Tanks in Arizona Get $3.2M in Cleanup Funds

Nobody lusts after LUSTs: Leaking underground storage tanks.

The pockmarked, subterranean behemoths leech toxic chemicals into our drinking water -- and there are a lot of them. A whole lot. In fact, every time you see a gas station, you can be pretty sure it either used to have a LUST or still has one now.

This map of LUSTs in the Valley from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality looks similar to the April Fool's Day speed-camera map from KTAR this year. Except this is no joke:

 

 

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Arizona would receive $3.2 million in stimulus money to help clean up a few of these sites. As you can tell from the map, it's going to take a lot more than that to finish the job.

Actually, the EPA money will scarcely serve to patch the even bigger holes in the state budget. To help balance the state budget in 2008, former Governor Janet Napolitano ordered millions of dollars swept from a special state fund that was supposed to help clean up the sites. As you likely know, the state's cupboard is even more bare this year.

Who knows, though -- maybe benzene helps our water taste better.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.