Former petrol station sites in general, and MTBE in particular, have become a big political issue in Denmark because of the pollution threat they pose to ground water. Denmark depends more than any other European country on this source for drinking water. Earlier this year, the industry committed itself to phasing out MTBE while hinting that it would also push for an EU-wide ban (ENDS Daily 17 August).
Ernst Lassen of the Danish oil industry's Association for Remediation of Retail Sites (OM) told ENDS Daily today: "We have been working on sites requiring investigation and possibly remediation since 1993, and have finished about 2,500. There are still about 7,000 left, and we can only manage 5-600 a year at the most. So this process of choosing priorities is very important."
According to the EPA, all 10,000 sites thought to have been used for retail petrol sales will have been studied and where necessary cleaned up by 2010, at an average cost to the industry of DKr350,000 (euros 47,000) per site. Almost DKr1bn has already been spent on the project.
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