Regulating Underground Storage Tanks
- Farm or residential tanks of 1,100 gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes
- Tanks used for storing heating oil for consumptive use on the premises where stored
- Septic tanks and pipeline facilities (these tanks are regulated by Safe Drinking Water Act and DOT programs, respectively)
- Storage tanks in underground areas like cellars and tunnels if situated above the floor (these tanks are below-grade but not buried and therefore can be visually inspected on a regular basis)
- Technical Requirements—include rules for tank construction, prevention of releases, closure, and clean-up of release. EPA’s “MUSTS FOR USTS” is an excellent resource for questions about the technical requirements.
- Financial Responsibility—puts the owner of the UST in the position of being financially capable of cleaning up releases, remediating contaminated ground as necessary, and reimbursing affected third parties; this can mean having as much as $1,000,000 in escrow against a release event. EPA’s “DOLLARS AND SENSE” is the go-to guidance document for meeting these requirements.
- State Objectives—cover the states’ responsibilities for regulating USTs. As of early 2012, 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have Federally approved UST programs in place, some of which are more stringent than U.S. EPA’s rules. A full list and links can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oust/fsstates.htm
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