Academic Institutions: Do You Still Have a Single-Walled Steel Underground Storage Tank?
Massachusetts state regulations require that all single-walled Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) be removed or closed-in-place by August 7, 2017. Most tanks installed prior to 1970 (and in some cases later) were single-walled steel tanks. Such tanks corrode over time and are likely to leak if left in place. As a result, MassDEP is phasing out use of such tanks. There are many types of replacement tanks including double-walled jacketed steel tanks and metal tanks with cathodic protection.
If your academic institution uses USTs to fuel vehicles or to store chemicals, it is essential that your facilities manager or environmental, health and safety officer be aware of the UST regulations now enforced by MassDEP, 310 CMR 80.00. These regulations tighten the requirements for USTs through a series of deadlines. The next deadline is the requirement to remove or close-in-place single-walled steel USTs by August 7, 2017. However, MassDEP has stated that, so long as MassDEP is notified, it will exercise enforcement discretion in situations where a tank is taken out of service and a contract for removal or closure of the tank is executed prior to August 7, 2017, but the actual removal or closure of the tank does not occur until July 1, 2018.
When removing or closing a UST, you are also required to conduct an assessment, including sampling, to determine if the tank has leaked. If a release is identified, notification and remediation may be required under the state cleanup regulations known as the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, 310 CMR 40.0000.