ECS Eclipse News

EPA Strengthening 1988 Regulations

February 14, 2012 (comments: 0)

Are you ready for new UST Rules ?

Are you aware that the first time since federal regulations regarding underground storage tanks (USTs) were first promulgated in 1988, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing significant changes and additions to these regulations?  The proposed rulemaking includes new requirements for USTs primarily focusing on proper operation and maintenance, training, additional release detection requirements and testing of secondary systems and spill prevention.

EPA’s intent for the new rulemaking revisions will allow for improved  detection and prevention of UST releases to the environment.

The proposed changes will be significant to the retail motor vehicle, commercial and manufacturing sectors who own and operate USTs if they become effective.

From a practical standpoint, owners and operators of tanks in the vast majority of states with approved UST programs may ultimately see changes in state regulations.

States currently operating under an approved UST program will have three years to submit a revised program approval package to conform to the new regulations. Therefore, if the proposed regulations become effective, owners and operators of USTs should monitor changes to state programs closely.

         If you would like to provide comments to EPA concerning these changes, you should submit right now.

         You can submit via and reference  Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-UST-2011-0301.

Frankly, I personally believe we’ve been long overdue (24 years!) for a change in the regulations. Given new technologies and types of  UST equipment, as well as fuels compatibilities issues and frankly a poor track record of monthly release detection to identify and allow for operators to react, investigate potential releases, the new rules will allow for “belt and suspenders” to the challenge of  preventing releases. Anyways, that’s my personally opinion. On the flip side, this will probably have an impact on your annual operating costs to your facility. One way to look at it though  is  that releases are very costly and another way to look at it is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Your facility is valuable. Why not protect it?


Here are the key elements of the new rules under proposal


A. Changes To Establish Federal Requirements For Operator Training And Secondary Containment

      1. Operator Training

     2. Secondary Containment



B. Additional Requirements For Operation And Maintenance

     1. Walkthrough Inspections

     2. Spill Prevention Equipment Tests

     3.  Overfill Prevention Equipment Tests

     4. Secondary Containment Tests

     5.  Operation And Maintenance Requirements For Release Detection Equipment


C. Addressing Deferrals

       1. Emergency Power Generator UST Systems

       2. Airport Hydrant Fuel Distribution Systems

       3. UST Systems With Field-Constructed Tanks

       4. Wastewater Treatment Tank Systems

       5. Maintain Deferral For USTs Containing Radioactive Material And Emergency Generator UST Systems At Nuclear Power Generation Facilities Regulated By The Nuclear Regulatory Commission


D. Other Changes

        1. Changes To Overfill Prevention Equipment Requirements

       2. Internal Linings That Fail The Periodic Lining Inspection And Cannot Be Repaired

       3. Notification Requirements

        4. Alternative Fuels And Compatibility

        5. Improving Repairs

       6. Phase Out Vapor Monitoring And Groundwater Monitoring As Release Detection Methods

       7. Interstitial Monitoring Results, Including Interstitial Alarms



-Joel Hershey, Director of ECS Eclipse Services

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