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Changes in Underground Storage Tank Regulations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently revised the regulations for underground storage tanks (USTs). This is the first major change to these regulations since 1988.

Although many state programs already meet these requirements, national compliance deadlines are set for October 2018.

What are some of the most important changes to note?

  • 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

The 1988 UST regulations resulted in the replacement or upgrade of UST systems nationwide. Many of these systems are now approaching the age limit of insurability. Age limits vary among carriers, but tanks over 25-30 years old are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to insure, particularly on stand-alone tank policies.

What about State funded programs and financial assurance requirements?

Some states have programs that meet the federal financial assurance requirements. These programs generally only provide cleanup coverage – excluding third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage. If organizations are meeting this federal requirement with a state-sponsored fund or a UST policy, it is important that the scope of coverage and notification requirements are periodically reviewed. Claim denials typically relate to gaps in coverage or failure to adhere to some of the unique reporting conditions and requirements in tank policies and/or state-funded programs.

When evaluating State funded programs or planning for a tank policy renewal, what should be considered and discussed?

  • Renewal challenges (especially aging tanks) that relate to your tank profiles
  • Any plans to temporarily close, remove or replace UST systems in the coming policy term (many policies have reporting requirements and/or exclusions for these activities)
  • Review of the scope of coverage in the State program or current policy and any other options that are available for expanding coverage under a site policy

Contact your Hylant representative for more information or to discuss this important topic in greater detail with one of the experts in our Environmental Risk practice.