In December 1988, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations to protect public health and the environment from the effects of leaking underground storage tank (UST) systems. These regulations required UST systems installed after December 1988 to have leak, spill, overfill, and corrosion protection. 40CFR Part 280 was a big deal across the country, defining regulations around leak detection, overfill/spill prevention and cathodic protection. However, there really weren’t significant changes between 1988 and the 2005 Energy Act – which is still being implemented today.
However, in the past few years there has been a significant increase in activity for UST Regulation, with a draft released in 2011, and comments period closing in 2012. Now we are expecting final language around these regulations to be released sometime this year.
Independent of the 2005 Energy Act, TAIT expects these regulations to have a much bigger impact, with some changes taking place this year, and others with a multi-year phase in. Although not finalized, TAIT recognizes that the changes detailed below will have a significant impact on the business operations of UST owner throughout the country.
- Monthly Inspections: The proposed changes mandate monthly inspections of UST systems. Some states are already doing this; however others with a quarterly or biannual schedule will need to step-up their frequency. It does remain to be seen what certifications will be required for inspections and how detailed those inspections will need to be.
- Annual Monitoring/ATG Certification: Monitoring system manufacturers currently recommend an annual functionality check. Some states require this as well, but it is not consistently enforced. The new regulations take this requirement to a whole new level of inspection. A thorough certification of the system’s functionality would need to be completed by a certified technician on an annual basis.
- Spill Bucket Testing: While already in force in California and a few other states, this annual testing would be required across the country.
- Triennial Secondary Containment Testing: Probably THE hot topic in the proposed regulations, this testing will be very costly due to repairs that may potentially stem from the testing. We expect that the draft language will allow for a phased-in approach based on the age of the containment systems.
- Release Detections Deferral for Emergency Generator Systems: As of today, only thirty percent of emergency generator tanks have release detection systems. But the exemption for these systems is expected to go away—effecting 70 percent of emergency generator systems. With the availability of remote monitoring systems and best practices, the EPA would now require monitoring.
- Operator Training: A new requirement involves annual refresher training for all operators. www.PSTinstruction.com
TAIT’s ability to conduct field inspections, testing and repairs, while also providing comprehensive compliance management, means we are poised to help all of our clients comply with these new regulations. We are working diligently to ready our clients for the challenges associated with these proposed regulatory changes and look forward to sharing more information with you as it becomes available.