New UST Regs for Protection from Groundwater Contamination

EPA’s updated underground storage tanks (UST) regulations are final and will be published soon in the Federal Register

The U.S. EPA has strengthened the Underground Storage Tank (UST) requirements to protect us from groundwater contamination with better prevention and detection of leaks from UST systems. The UST program changes, revisions to the 1988 federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations, strengthen UST prevention and detection practices, increase emphasis on properly operating and maintaining UST equipment, and ensure parity in implementing the national UST program. This is the first major revision to the federal UST regulations since 1988.

Check out the Comparison Chart overview of the 468 page document– it points out major changes to the 1988 UST regulations with the new 2015 UST regulations. You can see the actual differences in a redline strikeout version showing the final 2015 regulations imbedded into the existing regulations. I’ve found both of these documents very helpful. The 10-page chart is a great quick review and the strikeout is a good resource.

EPA created a specific website for the Revised UST Regulations so you can access links to a pre-publication version of the signed regulations, regulatory impact analysis, and response to comments document as well as the comparison and additional resources. Once published, a link to the Federal Register version of the regulations will also be listed there.

I really liked that Carolyn Hoskinson, the head of EPA’s UST program shared

At all times we based our decisions on these strong values:

  • balance important environmental protection with the reasonableness of the cost and complexity to our regulated community
  • focus on the highest priority areas that appear to continue to lead to ongoing releases from UST systems
  • allow flexibility whenever possible
  • rely on industry standards whenever possible
  • consider the implementation of these requirements and strive to make the requirements as straightforward as possible by things like aligning due dates and writing in plain, easy-to-understand language

While these changes may be difficult and expensive for people/companies, I understand that the underlying purpose is to protect us from groundwater contamination and appreciate the values Carolyn pointed out they operated under as they considered their revisions. The EPA granted a 3 year grace period for many of the significant changes. If you have any questions about your UST compliance, please ask. We’re here to help.

Melanie

View from one of TAIT's projects in Alaska

View from one of TAIT’s projects in Alaska