Regulatory Developments

UST Deadline: Is Your Tank Now Regulated?

As we noted in yesterday’s Advisor, October 13, 2018, is the final deadline for complying with the remaining requirements of the federal 2015 underground storage tank (UST) amendments. If you are not already in compliance with these amendments, it is time to start preparing. Today we will look at the groundwater and vapor monitoring site assessment record requirements that must be in place by October 2018 and the new requirements for previously deferred tanks.

Roman Novitskii / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Note: Check here for the status of adoption of the 2015 UST amendments in your state.

Site Assessment Records

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to allow vapor and groundwater monitoring as release detection options to avoid severe economic impact in one area of the country. As part of the 2015 amendments, by October 13, 2018, UST owners must keep records of a site assessment showing that the monitoring system is set up properly and that the site is in compliance with 40 CFR 280.43 for as long as these methods are used. The EPA has established minimal criteria for new or reestablished site assessments. Records of site assessments developed after October 13, 2015, must be signed by a professional engineer, professional geologist, or equivalent licensed professional with experience in environmental engineering, hydrogeology, or other relevant technical discipline acceptable to the implementing agency.

No Longer Deferred

The 1988 UST regulations deferred several types of USTs from regulations. Under the 2015 amendments, three types of tanks were removed from the deferral list and must comply with the 2015 UST regulations:

  • USTs for emergency generators;
  • Airport hydrant systems; and
  • Field-constructed tanks.

If you operate any of these previously deferred tanks, you must be in compliance by the October 2018 deadline.

Notification

By October 13, 2018, all owners of previously deferred UST systems must submit a onetime notice of existence of the tank systems to their implementing agency. You must demonstrate financial responsibility when you submit the onetime notification form.

USTs For Emergency Power Generators

The 2015 UST amendments remove the deferral for USTs used solely to store fuel for emergency power generators and requires release detection for these tanks. These UST systems have been subject to all other parts of the UST regulations since 1988. They were deferred from release detection in 1988 because the EPA said that technology was not available at the time to monitor remote sites. The technology is available now, and owners/operators of existing systems must be in compliance with release detection requirements by October 2018.

Systems installed after October 13, 2015, must meet release detection requirements when the tank is installed.

Airport Hydrant Systems and Field Constructed Tanks

The 2015 UST amendments remove the deferral for airport hydrant systems and field constructed tanks and regulates them under subpart K of 40 CFR 280. These systems are subject to most of the other UST rules, but the amendments modify some of the requirements, most notably those in connection with release detection. Owners and operators of these systems may use alternative release detection options. By October 13, 2018, shop-fabricated tanks associated with airport hydrant systems and field constructed tanks with less than or equal to 50,000 gallons (gal) capacity must comply with the release detection requirements applicable to all USTs. Field constructed tanks with a storage capacity greater than 50,000 gal must comply with the release detection requirements applicable to all USTs, or must complete one of the following by October 13, 2018:

  • Conduct annual tank tightness tests that can detect a 0.5-gal-per-hour leak rate.
  • Use an automatic tank gauging system to perform a release detection test once every 30 days and conduct a tank tightness test at least once every 3 years.
  • Perform vapor monitoring at least once every 2 years.
  • Perform inventory control at least every 30 days that can detect a leak equal to or less than 0.50 percent of flow-through, and either perform a tank tightness test every 2 years or perform vapor monitoring or groundwater monitoring every 30 days. Airport hydrant systems and field constructed tanks with greater than 50,000 gal storage capacity also have release detection options for piping. These tanks may use one or a combination of the following options:
    • Monitor piping using the release detection methods applicable to all USTs (piping that uses groundwater and vapor monitoring must combine those methods inventory control).
    • Perform semiannual or annual line tightness test at or above operating pressure.
    • Perform vapor monitoring using a tracer compound capable of detecting a 0.1 gal-per-hour leak rate at least once every 2 years.
    • Perform inventory control at least every 30 days that can detect a leak equal to or less than 0.50 percent of flow-through and either perform a line tightness test once every 2 years or perform vapor monitoring or groundwater monitoring every 30 days.

Field constructed tanks with capacities less than or equal to 50,000 gal must follow the release detection requirements applicable to all USTs.

The new operation and maintenance requirements also specify that the periodic walkthrough inspections must include hydrant pits and hydrant piping vaults. These inspections must occur every 30 days if confined space entry according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is not required or annually if confined space entry is required.

The operation and maintenance requirements are perhaps the most onerous of the 2015 UST amendments. But, you must be in compliance in less than 1 year. Check tomorrow’s Advisor for a rundown of the requirements, which include walkthrough inspections.

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  • Milt Dentch

    Are UST using propane fuel for emergency generators exempt?

    • Daily Advisor Editor

      Good question, Milt. We checked with a few experts, and yes, USTs storing propane fuel for emergency generators are exempt because propane is not considered a regulated substance under the federal UST regulations. Thanks for bringing it up!