By Philip L. Comella and Craig B. Simonsen
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has promulgated significant new provisions both to its 1988 underground storage tank (UST) regulations and to its 1988 state program approval (SPA) regulations. 80 Fed. Reg. 41566 (July 15, 2015). This is the first major revision to the federal UST regulations since 1988.
The revisions to the UST technical regulations found in 40 CFR part 280 increase the EPA’s emphasis on “properly operating and maintaining UST equipment.” EPA has added new operation and maintenance requirements and addressed UST systems deferred in the 1988 UST regulation. The changes include:
- Adding secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping.
- Adding operator training requirements.
- Adding periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems.
- Adding requirements to ensure UST system compatibility before storing certain biofuel blends.
- Removing past deferrals for emergency generator tanks, airport hydrant systems, and field-constructed tanks.
- Updating codes of professional practice.
The 2015 state program approval amendments update the SPA requirements found in 40 CFR part 281, and incorporate the changes to the UST technical regulation found in 40 CFR part 280. Thirty-eight SPA states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have SPA status and have three years to reapply in order to retain their SPA programs.
Useful and related tools provided by the Agency are a “Comparison of 2015 Revised UST Regulations and 1988 UST Regulations,” a “Red Line Strikeout of 40 CFR part 280 and 40 CFR part 281,” and its revised and updated “Musts For USTs” guidance document.
Facilities with regulated USTs should review carefully the new regulations to ensure their systems, processes, procedures, and training materials and systems are compliant with newly applicable requirements.
The final rule is effective October 13, 2015.