Ask the Expert, Special Topics in Environmental Management

Is Decreasing the Frequency of Inspections from Weekly to Monthly a Technical Change that Requires PE Certification?

Q. Does changing the frequency of inspections from weekly to monthly for oil storage facilities that receive infrequent fuel deliveries (one per year or less) constitute a technical change that requires a professional engineer (PE)?

A. Decreasing the frequency of inspection from weekly to monthly constitutes a technical change that requires PE certification as it requires the “application of good engineering practice.” Non-technical include but are not limited to changes to a contact list, more stringent requirements for stormwater discharges to comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) rules, phone numbers, product changes if the new product is compatible with conditions in the existing tank and secondary containment, and other changes that do not materially affect the facility’s potential to discharge oil. Because you are decreasing inspection frequency, it constitutes a technical change because it can be argued that the change increases the potential for a discharge.

According to the EPA, “If the owner or operator is not sure whether the change is technical or non-technical, he should have it certified.”

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