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Do new underground storage tank regulations apply to you?

New Environmental Protection Agency regulations for underground storage tanks kick in this Saturday, Oct. 13, and dealers and marina operators will have to determine what impact they’ll have on current installations.

The EPA published in the Federal Register an update to underground storage tank regulations and state program approval regulations in July 2015. It was the first major revision to federal UST regulations since 1988, and because there was a 3-plus-year window before implementation, it’s probably safe to say many dealers and marina operators have not kept this matter top-of-mind.

The final compliance deadline for UST owners is at hand. The final revisions strengthen the 1988 federal regulations by increasing the emphasis on properly operating and maintaining such equipment. Essentially, the final revisions were designed to prevent and detect UST releases, according to the EPA, and ensure that all underground storage tanks in the nation meet the same minimum standards for safety and leak prevention.

According to OPW, a supplier of EPA-compliant fueling equipment, there are key things every business with underground storage tanks needs to know to protect their location, customers and bank accounts.

The time to look at this is today; there’s no more grace period. With the impending deadline, you can download OPW’s free EPA Regulations Guide to get started. The guide is designed to give UST owners an overview of the most important parts of the regulation and what must be done to comply.

There are four major regulatory requirements for new and existing UST installations:

  1. Testing of sumps and under-dispenser containment systems must be performed every three years if the system uses interstitial monitoring of the piping as its primary form of leak deterrence.
  2. Spill-bucket testing is required every three years, unless the UST system is outfitted with double-wall spill buckets where the interstitial space is tested regularly. Be advised that some states already require spill-bucket testing every year.
  3. There will be compliance testing of any repaired components. Whenever any component in the spill-protection, overfill-containment and secondary-containment areas of the UST system requires repair, compliance testing of the repaired system must be completed within 30 days, regardless of whether or not any product release occurred.
  4. Overfill-prevention equipment inspections are required every three years, except in states where they are already required annually.

The penalties for non-compliance are severe — and expensive. The regulations allow states to impose fines up to $5,000 or more for each violation, for each tank, each day a violation exists. This also applies to any state requirements or standards for existing or new tank systems.

For more clarification, it might be helpful to speak with your fuel supplier or call another dealer or marina operator to assess the situation in your area.  

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