TAMWORTH Regional Council is building a register of all of the region's underground fuel tanks, in a bid to avoid leakages.
The push to find all remaining underground tanks across the shire comes after the Duri store's fuel tanks leaked in January this year, contaminating the village's groundwater supply.
Discussed at a recent council meeting, the effort to document all remaining tanks follows the NSW Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) decision to hand responsibility for the issue off to councils earlier this year.
The council's acting director of planning and compliance, Ross Briggs, said the council had established 46 sites so far, but the community's help was needed to locate more historic underground fuel tanks.
"We've probably got about 30-odd operational systems throughout the council area and there's more than that in regards to the historical stuff," Mr Briggs told the Leader.
"If you have a look around town, a lot of properties on corners or intersections would have been either service stations or mechanics, and would have had a bowser or two out the front.
"We have gotten a few of those places down thanks to the help of historical registers and older residents, but we're confident there is more.
"If anyone knows anything that can help us form a picture of what's possibly still out there, they can certainly drop us a line at council."
Mr Briggs said the council would pay particular attention to sites that may affect water sources, after incidents such as the one at Duri and Woolomin in 2016.
"Probably the smaller service stations and alike that were close to rivers and creeks would be our first port of call," he said.
"We're not only documenting the sites, but we are also doing an education program and an inspection so the landholders know what is required of them.
"Hopefully working with them and giving them options to remain compliant will hopefully help prevent any issues done the track."
Since February, the council's environment health officers have been inspecting sites with underground petroleum storage systems to ensure compliance with the legislation and EPA practice notes.
"When it comes to compliance, the council will monitor these things just like it would with say it's health inspectors and that sort of thing," Mr Briggs said.
"We will be as proactive as we can now the guidelines from the EPA are in place and it is predominantly on the council to monitor it."
The issue of compliance has recently contributed to the decision to temporarily close the Gingers Creek roadhouse, limiting the fuel options for travellers between Tamworth and the coast.
Transwest Fuels' Ben Clifton said compliance was an ongoing priority for all operators.
"You'd be surprised how many underground tanks there are that people don't know about," Mr Clifton said.
"I know from living in Walcha, there would be a massive amount of tanks sitting under the ground right now that we don't know about.
"I understand the need for compliance and I think it comes down to each operator doing what they can to follow the rules and ensure they are compliant."