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July 09, 2020

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EPA Proposes Changes to Underground Storage Tank Regulations

For 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, found at 76 FR 71708, includes new requirements for USTs primarily focusing on proper operation and maintenance and spill prevention. EPA asserts that the revisions will improve the detection and prevention of UST releases leading to increased protection of human health and the environment.

Newly added requirements include secondary containment for new and replaced USTs, operator training programs, and periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems, such as monthly inspections of spill prevention and release detection equipment, yearly testing of spill prevention equipment, and the testing of overfill prevention and certain secondary containment equipment every three years. In addition, deferrals for certain types of tanks will be eliminated. These requirements are intended to reflect significant technological advances made in the last two decades.

The proposed changes may be significant to the commercial and manufacturing sectors 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. Owners and operators located in one of the few remaining states that do not have an approved UST program may be required under the new regulations to notify EPA when bringing a UST system into use or following a change in ownership.

Documents related to the proposed changes identified above, including a comparison of the current and proposed regulations and a Regulatory Impact Analysis, are available on EPA’s Web site. Comments to the proposed rule must be received by EPA on or before Feb. 16, 2012.

© 2020 Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.National Law Review, Volume I, Number 326

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About this Author

Julie A. Fournier, Counsel, Neal Gerber law firm
Counsel

Julie A. Fournier focuses her practice on providing sophisticated, cost-effective representation to a wide range of clients on a variety of environmental matters. Julie has extensive substantive experience handling matters in a variety of contexts including solid and hazardous waste management, toxic tort litigation, administrative proceedings, contract claims, CERCLA liability and Superfund, and insurance coverage issues. Julie combines her experience in general commercial litigation matters into her practice group’s vigorous defense of clients in complex environmental litigation....

(312) 269-3034
Michael J. Hughes, environmental attorney, Neal Gerber law firm
Partner

Michael J. Hughes focuses his practice on a variety of environmental topics related to litigation, regulatory compliance, insurance coverage and real estate and commercial transactions. He advises commercial and industrial clients on matters such as CERCLA (Superfund) liability and contribution actions, underground storage tank litigation, removal andremediation projects, toxic tort matters, asbestos litigation, hazardous waste regulations, air and water permits, mining regulation, indoor air quality, environmental assessments and audits, due diligence review and insurance issues relating to environmental liabilities. Mike also provides general compliance counseling with respect to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations including the National Environmental Policy Act and similar state laws. He has experience negotiating with environmental agencies and defending federal, state and local enforcement actions. 

(312) 269-8064
Lisa S. Zebovitz, Environmental attorney, Neal Gerber law firm
Partner

Lisa Zebovitz is co-chair of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg’s Environmental practice group. Lisa has extensive experience representing both the government and private sectors in complex litigation and administrative proceedings involving environmental issues in the areas of solid and hazardous wastes, mold, underground tanks, toxic substances, pesticides, water, air and federal procurement. She is uniquely situated to provide cost-effective and practical counsel given that her many years of in-house corporate and government experience allow her to appreciate issues from the client’s...

(312) 269-8033