EPA Revises Requirements for Underground Storage Tanks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is strengthening federal underground storage tank (UST) requirements to improve prevention and detection of petroleum releases, one of the leading sources of groundwater contamination. They improve the charter 1988 UST regulation, agency officials contend, by closing regulatory gaps, adding new technologies, and focusing on proper operation and maintenance of existing vessels.6 UST 200

The revisions add secondary containment measures for new and replaced tanks and piping; operator training, plus periodic operation and maintenance requirements; and, new release prevention and detection technologies. Additionally, they remove past deferrals for emergency generator and field-constructed tanks, while updating codes of practice plus state approval requirements to incorporate new changes.

“These changes will better protect people’s health and benefit the environment in communities across the country by improving prevention and detection of underground storage tank releases,” says EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus. “Extensive and meaningful collaboration with our underground storage tank partners and stakeholders was vital to the development of the new regulations. The revised requirements will also help ensure consistency in implementing the tanks program among states.

States and territories primarily implement the UST program. Many already have some of the new requirements in place, EPA officials report; for others, the changes will set standards that are more protective. In developing the final UST regulation, they reached out extensively to affected and interested stakeholders, weighing environmental benefits and balancing them with the potential future costs of compliance for UST owners and operators.

A revised, 36-page guideline is available at www.epa.gov.