Tag Archives: EPA Regulations

TCEQ Proposed Petroleum Storage Tank Rules

 

 

On Nov. 15, 2017, TCEQ commissioners approved publication of the proposed rules for petroleum storage tanks.

The proposed rulemaking amends Title 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 334. This required rulemaking will incorporate necessary changes to 30 TAC Chapter 334 in accordance with the EPA’s 2015 revisions to the federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 280.

The rule revisions include:

  • Periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems to conduct walkthrough inspections and test UST system components,
  • New requirements to annually test specific release-detection equipment,
  • Changes to comply with existing EPA release-detection requirements to monitor at least every 30 days (instead of every 35 days), and
  • Minor rule revisions relating to the fee on delivery of petroleum products to reflect changes that were statutorily implemented in the Texas Water Code in 2015.

The public comment period will be Dec. 1, 2017 through Jan. 9, 2018. Comments may be submitted electronically beginning Dec. 1, 2017.

A formal public rule hearing is also scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2018, at the TCEQ’s Central Office located at 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, TX 78753, in Building E, Conference Room 201S.

Visit the TCEQ website for more information about the proposed rule.  If you have questions about the proposed rule, contact Andy Tait at atait@tait.com.

UST Secondary Containment and Interstitial Monitoring Requirements

Are you responsible for ensuring site or corporate environmental compliance or for implementing a site environmental management system that includes fueling systems? Whether you’re an environmental manager, a plant engineer, plant/general manager, facility manager, site manager or other role, if you’re involved with underground fuel storage tanks, the new rules regarding secondary containment should be of interest.

Federal UST Secondary Containment and Interstitial Monitoring Requirements

The 1988 requirement and criteria required secondary containment and interstitial monitoring for hazardous substance tanks only (280.42). The EPA is implementing secondary containment with interstitial monitoring and under-dispenser containment (UDC) as additional measures to protect groundwater. States that have already implemented secondary containment regulations that meet or exceed the federal regulations will not have to change their requirements. There are significant changes to the federal requirements and implementation which are summarized below. The implementation timeframe for secondary containment is 180 days. States with approved programs still have three years to reapply, and depending on which state you are in, you may still be governed by the state program rather than the EPA regulations.

Owners and operators are required to install tank and piping secondary containment that will contain regulated substances leaked from the primary containment until they are detected and removed and that will prevent the release of regulated substances to the environment at any time during the operational life of the UST system, and must be  monitored for leaks at least once every 30 days using interstitial monitoring.

NEW INSTALLS and REPLACING Tanks and Piping

Owners and operators are now required to install secondary containment and interstitial monitoring for ALL (including petroleum) new and replaced tanks and piping. There are still some exceptions like safe suction piping and piping associated with field-constructed tanks over 50k gallons, and airport hydrant systems.

REPAIRING Piping

Owners and operators must replace the entire piping run when 50% or more of the piping (excluding connectors) is removed and other piping is installed.

NEW DISPENSERS

All new dispensers need to have under-dispenser containment.

Interstitial Monitoring

Interstitial Monitoring of new and replaced secondarily contained tanks and piping must occur at least once every 30 days as a release detection requirement.

The EPA reviewed data from release sites and the higher number of releases from single walled tanks and piping when compared to secondarily contained systems was considered in the decision for new requirements to prevent regulated substances from reaching the environment and ensure a consistent level of environmental protection for regulated USTs across the USA.

 

Comparing EPA’s 2015 Revised UST Regulations Documents

Where do you start?

Want to know where to start when reviewing the 2015 Revised Underground Storage Tank Regulations Documents? I’ve been pouring through the documents shared on EPA’s website created just for the revisions of the UST regulations and here are some quick descriptions that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Comparison Chart of the 2015 Revised UST Regulations versus the 1988 UST Regulations This is a 10 page PDF Spreadsheet showing the highlights of the changes

Prepublication version of the final UST regulations This is the full 468 page document that explains the rationale behind the changes that were made to the regulations and includes the new regulations. The first half is an explanation that helps the reader to understand what the EPA considered, such as suggestions from commenters, during the discussion and decision making and the rationale for the decisions that were made. Here are the page numbers to go with the Table of Contents. That should help you navigate this big document 🙂

Red Line Strikeout of 40 CFR part 280 and 40 CFR part 281 This is 141 pages but is very helpful if you are used to looking up information in the regs already. This shows the differences between the regulations we are currently using/looking at, and the changes that have been made to the regulations.

MUSTs for USTs If you are new to owning or operating underground storage tanks, start here. TAIT recommends all Owners and Operators download and read the updated MUSTs for USTs. It’s an instruction manual that provides a nice straightforward explanation of requirements when owning and working with underground storage tanks. It’s 40 pages.

Regulatory impact analysis 167 pages, Potential costs, benefits and other impacts of the updated regs. They’re referred to in the Prepublication Version of the Regs as well. This may be good for giving an explanation of what we might expect to see overall, like the number of facilities affected.

Response to comments document 181 pages, if you commented on the regs and want to see the responses given, this is where you would look. Comments are also referred to in the Prepublication version of the final regs.

I hope this serves as a nice reference for you, and this should make finding what you are looking for even easier 🙂 For a more details, see the announcement blog 2015 Revised Underground Storage Tank Regulations.
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UST regulation history

Do you remember where you were 30 years ago this month when you received word that President Reagan signed amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)? Robert from PEI recaps UST regulation history:

Subtitle I of those amendments specifically provided for regulation of underground storage tank (UST) systems. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) was created the following year (1985) to carry out the Congressional mandate to develop and implement a new regulatory program for USTs. It resulted in the most comprehensive regulatory program PEI members have ever participated in.

Leaking tanks became a problem before 1984. PEI predicted in 1975 that state and federal controls related to tank and piping leaks would proliferate. At about the same time, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API’s) Operations and Engineering Committee recognized that UST leaks presented a growing industry problem and formed a task force to recommend procedures for detecting and dealing with them. By 1981, less than 10 percent of all USTs in the ground were protected from corrosion.

Emphasis shifted in the early 1980s from tank regulations for safety reasons (i.e., fire codes) to regulations for protecting the environment and public health. Pressure to deal with the impact of leaking USTs on groundwater mounted when 60 Minutes aired a disturbing segment on leaking underground service station tanks. Shortly after that, Congress stepped in with the 1984 Subtitle I RCRA amendments.

There were over two million USTs in 1984. Many of them were bare steel that were corroding and leaking fuel into the ground. When President Reagan signed the law, more than 85 percent of the USTs were still made of unprotected steel. By 1988, somewhere from 10 to 48 percent of existing tanks failed a tank tightness test, depending on which study you believed. And when you consider that from 8 to 20 percent of all USTs had releases, UST regulators back then had their hands full.

The U.S. EPA’s UST program has made significant contributions to the environment during the last 30 years. The program’s accomplishments are real, and there is much that regulators and the regulated community can point to with pride.

Part of the reason this governmental program works so well after three decades is because Ron Brand and other founders of the UST program involved everyone in the process of protecting our environment from UST releases. States, territories, tribes, industry, owners/operators, service providers, equipment manufacturers and trade associations were called partners. PEI and its members were treated that way back then and continue to feel that way today. This is a unique program with unique relationships that has produced quantifiable results.

I think successful managers and leaders should continuously focus on what can be, rather than what is. And I also believe that the best leaders are always focused on improving. From the equipment and contractor side of this unique partnership—and in that spirit—this is what I see still needs to be addressed to make a great UST program even greater:

  • Let’s figure out what is causing the metal components of our UST systems to corrode in the presence of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.
  • Let’s get that last 25 percent of underground tank systems in the U.S. into compliance with release prevention and leak detection requirements. That will reduce the number of newly confirmed releases.
  • Let’s work together to determine why equipment is deteriorating in sumps containing ethanol and/or ethanol vapors.
  • Let’s find ways to clean up the releases in the backlog before state cleanup funds sunset or are diverted.
  • And let’s kick off an inspection and testing program that will identify equipment that no longer works as it was supposed to work.

Here’s to another 30 years. Let’s continue the good work.

TAIT is a longstanding member of PEI. Learn more about the Petroleum Equipment Institute and all they do by visiting their website http://www.pei.org/.

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EPA Strategic Plan Charts Direction for Next Four Years

One thing that stood out to me in their five strategic initiatives was Protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance. This brings the upcoming underground storage tank regulations to mind. Though in the news and discussions throughout the industry for the past year and a half, the “rest of the country” (outside of CA) is just now beginning to see the effects of local regulators enforcing the Energy Act of 2005.

TAIT’s long history of experience with the stricter regulations in California is one reason we are the trusted advisor to many national clients. More than a knowledge base, TAIT has “boots on the ground” in the form of technicians that perform routine inspections, maintenance, testing and repairs. Our design and construction of new fuel systems begins the process, and we serve until the end, removing, closing permanently in place and remediating fuel system sites. Contact us to learn more about how we can help to educate and assist you in transitioning to be in compliance to avoid NOVs and fees.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014

EPA Strategic Plan Charts Direction for Next Four Years

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2014 to 2018 Strategic Plan today, which provides a blueprint for advancing EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment across the country.

The plan envisions a new era of partnerships with state and local governments, tribes, federal agencies, businesses, and industry leaders to achieve environmental benefits in a pragmatic, collaborative way.

“EPA will address the increasingly complex array of environmental challenges we face by advancing a rigorous research and development agenda that informs and supports our policy and decision making with timely and innovative technology and sustainable solutions,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are heeding President Obama’s call for action on climate change, the biggest challenge for our generation and those to come by building strong partnerships at home and around the world. We are working to mitigate this threat by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse-gas emissions and by focusing on efficiency improvements in homes, buildings and appliances.”

The five strategic goals in EPA’s plan include:

• Addressing climate change and improving air quality;
• Protecting America’s waters;
• Cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development;
• Ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and
• Protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.

The agency will continue to deliver significant health benefits to the American public through improved air quality and reduced emissions of toxic pollutants, and will take action to keep communities safe and healthy by reducing risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in commerce, our indoor and outdoor environments, products, and food.

The agency will also continue efforts to improve water quality, given the nation’s significant water infrastructure needs, focusing on common sense, flexible approaches that rely on sustainable solutions, such as green infrastructure, and build resiliency to help us adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

The plan prioritizes environmental justice, continuing to focus on urban, rural, and economically disadvantaged communities, to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, race, economic status, or ethnicity, has access to clean water, clean air, and the opportunity to live, work and play in healthy communities.

To achieve the outcomes articulated in the FY 2014-2018 Plan, the agency outlined four cross-agency strategies:

• Working toward a sustainable future;
• Working to make a visible difference in communities;
• Launching a new era of state, tribal, local, and international partnerships; and
• Embracing EPA as a high-performing organization.

The EPA developed the FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010. Reflecting the agency’s interest in reaching out to stakeholders and communities, the EPA requested input on a draft plan last winter from over 800 organizations and individuals and issued a Federal Register Notice to solicit broad public feedback. As appropriate, the EPA incorporated suggestions and comments received in the final Plan.

More information on the Strategic Plan is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/planandbudget/strategicplan