[Federal Register: March 7, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 44)]
[Rules and Regulations ]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
Environmental Protection Agency
40 CFR Parts 281 and 282
Hazardous Waste: Iowa State Underground Storage Tank Programs; Final
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
40 CFR Part 281
Iowa; Final Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.
ACTION: Notice of final determination on Iowa's application for final
SUMMARY: The State of Iowa has applied for final approval of its
underground storage tank (UST) program under Subtitle I of the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has reviewed Iowa's application and has reached a final
determination that Iowa's underground storage tank program satisfies
all of the requirements necessary to qualify for final approval. Thus,
EPA is granting final approval to the State of Iowa to operate its
EFFECTIVE DATE: Final approval for Iowa shall be effective at 1:00 pm
eastern time on May 8, 1995.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee Daniels, Coordinator, Underground Storage Tank Section,
EPA Region 7, 726 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City,
Kansas, 66101. Phone: (913) 551-7651.
Section 9004 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
enables EPA to approve state UST programs to operate in the state in
lieu of the Federal UST program. To qualify for final authorization, a
state's program must be: (1) "No less stringent" than the Federal
program in leak detection, maintaining records, release reporting,
corrective action, tank closure, financial responsibility, new tank
standards and the notification requirements of Section 9004(a)(8) of
RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991c(a)(8); and (2) provide for adequate enforcement
(Section 9004(a) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991c(a)).
B. State of Iowa
On March 17, 1994, Iowa submitted an application for "complete"
program approval. On April 25, 1994, Iowa submitted H.F. 2118 which
amended Iowa Code Sec. 455B.471(6) for inclusion in the application.
This bill amended the definition of an "owner" of an underground storage tank
and provided the conditions under which a "lender" might
be exempted from that definition. Also, on June 7, 1994 Iowa modified
its application so that it is not seeking authorization over Indian
lands. Together, these comprise the Iowa application. The Iowa program
provides for regulation of both petroleum and hazardous substance
tanks. Iowa also regulates farm/residential tanks of 1,100 gallons or
less capacity. However, this part of the Iowa program is broader in
scope than the Federal program and is not included in this final
approval. On August 9, 1994, EPA published a tentative decision
announcing its intent to grant Iowa final approval. Further background
on the tentative decision to grant approval appears at 59 FR 40507,
August 9, 1994.
Along with the tentative determination, EPA announced the
availability of the application for public comment. Also, EPA provided
notice that a public hearing would be provided only if significant
public interest on substantive issues was shown. EPA did receive
significant comments on the application and a public hearing was held
on December 1, 1994 in Des Moines, Iowa.
C. Public Comments and Hearing
The following summarizes the comments and responds to the
significant issues raised by those comments.
Twenty-three written comments were received during the public
comment period, which ran from August 9, 1994, when the tentative
program approval notice was published, until December 9, 1994. Nine
commenters spoke at the public hearing. Commenters included owners of
USTs, an association of petroleum marketers, an association of trucking
companies and service providers to trucking companies, local government
officials and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The Iowa
Comprehensive Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund provided a
written comment following the public hearing.
The majority of comments concerned four major issues: (1) Whether
the IDNR adequately enforces the financial responsibility requirements
applicable to UST owners, (2) whether the IDNR adequately enforces the
leak detection requirements applicable to UST owners, (3) whether the
IDNR wastes resources for site assessments instead of actual cleanups,
and (4) whether the IDNR should use risk-based cleanup standards.
Other commenters stated that owners who timely comply with the UST
requirements are competitively disadvantaged when the IDNR does not
enforce the rules for everyone, or when compliance deadlines are moved.
Others criticized the IDNR for specific cleanup requirements imposed on
sites which they owned. The IDNR was criticized for the high costs of
site assessments and the costs of complying with the IDNR requirements
for long-term monitoring after contaminated soils were removed. One
commenter cited an example of contamination that recurred after a
cleanup due to fluctuating water tables. Others cited diminished
property values and lost economic development due to contamination.
While some of the commenters requested that the EPA deny program
approval, the petroleum marketers association echoed the four major
comments above but specifically requested approval of the Iowa program.
However, the marketers association did request that the EPA continue
providing the IDNR technical and administrative assistance to improve
enforcement of UST regulations and the adoption of risk-based cleanup
standards. The trucking association criticized the IDNR for wasting
resources without doing enough cleanups and for not using risk-based
cleanup standards, but did not request denial of program approval.
At the public hearing and in a written comment, the IDNR
specifically addressed the four major issues identified above. However,
not all of those four issues are within the scope of the EPA's review
for state program approval. For the EPA the sole concerns are whether
the state has the legal authorities, the program capability to meet the
objectives of the federal UST requirements and provides adequate
enforcement of compliance. Thus, even though the EPA encourages the
effective use of state cleanup funds, such funds are not required
elements for state program approval and Iowa's administration of its
state cleanup fund was not reviewed by the EPA for program approval.
Similarly, while the EPA encourages states to use risk-based decision-
making in the corrective action process, there is no federal
requirement for state program approval for any particular methodology.
Nonetheless, in order to fully address the public's concerns the EPA
has included in this responsiveness summary the IDNR's response to each
of the major issues.
With respect to enforcement of the leak detection and financial
responsibility requirements, the IDNR noted that the state's UST
requirements follow the federal requirements. The federal UST
regulation does not require compliance reporting by the owner to the
regulating agency, but only that leak detection and financial
responsibility records be kept on-site or reasonably accessible.
Therefore, for the IDNR the [[Page 12631]] only clear mechanism to
enforce those requirements is on-site inspections of each facility. The
IDNR has established an abbreviated enforcement procedure to deal with
those specific violations, so that a large number of enforcement
actions can be undertaken in a relatively short period of time. With
its available resources, the IDNR performs over 400 on-site inspections
In response to the comments alleging waste of cleanup resources,
the IDNR attributed many of the public concerns to difficulties the
agency has had in identifying the soil and groundwater contamination,
and the resulting failure of nearly every remediation system that was
installed. As a result, the IDNR is now requiring more detailed
assessments of contaminated sites to determine the risks and necessary
actions, and to provide assurance that the remediation will be
Concerning risk assessment, the IDNR commented that since 1992 it
has been applying a risk-based assessment to set the appropriate
standards to protect human health and the environment, and was one of
the first states in the nation to do so. Since then, 43 percent of
assessed sites have been required to perform some form of remediation,
and 57 percent have been allowed to either do nothing or to monitor
only. There has been a continuous effort to improve on and reduce the
amount of remediation required.
In response to the above comments, the EPA notes that none of the
comments identified any problems with the scope of the Iowa UST program
or whether the Iowa regulations are less stringent than the federal
requirements. Although some commenters identified problems with the
adequacy of enforcement of the leak detection and financial
responsibility requirements, the EPA is satisfied that the IDNR is
using its available resources to adequately enforce these requirements
and will continue taking steps to achieve universal compliance at UST
facilities in Iowa.
Additionally, the EPA considers the IDNR's efforts to achieve
required cleanups to be adequate for program approval, but acknowledges
the technical and financial difficulties in achieving cleanups. The
IDNR is making progress in improving remediation efficiency through
more detailed site assessments and the use of risk based cleanup
Also, the EPA acknowledges that owners of USTs face sometimes
enormous financial challenges in complying with the technical operating
requirements and in performing required cleanups of contaminated sites.
However, those requirements would be the same whether or not EPA
approves the Iowa UST program. Further, upon approval the Iowa UST
program would operate in lieu of the federal program and owners and
operators would look only to the Iowa set of requirements to determine
Finally, in response to the suggestion that the EPA should provide
technical and administrative assistance to the IDNR, the EPA notes that
after program approval the EPA will continue to provide the IDNR such
assistance. Also, the EPA/State Memorandum of Agreement that is part of
the program approval application provides for continued information
exchanges between the EPA and the IDNR to monitor and improve site
cleanups and enforcement activities.
I conclude that the State of Iowa's application for final approval
meets all the statutory and regulatory requirements established by
Subtitle I of RCRA. Accordingly, Iowa is granted final approval to
operate its UST program. The State of Iowa now has the responsibility
for managing all regulated UST facilities within its borders and
carrying out all aspects of the UST program except with regard to
Indian lands, where EPA will retain and otherwise exercise regulatory
authority. Iowa also has primary enforcement responsibility, although
EPA retains the right to conduct inspections under Section 9005 of
RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991d, and to take enforcement actions under Section
9006 of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6991e.
Compliance With Executive Order 12866
The Office of Management and Budget has exempted this rule from the
requirements of Section 6 of Executive Order 12866.
Certification Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act
Pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 605(b), I hereby certify
that this approval will not have a significant economic impact on a
substantial number of small entities. This approval effectively
suspends the applicability of certain Federal regulations in favor of
Iowa's program, thereby eliminating duplicative requirements for owners
and operators of underground storage tanks in the state. It does not
impose any new burdens on small entities. This rule, therefore, does
not require a regulatory flexibility analysis.
List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 281
Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure,
Hazardous materials, State program approval, Underground storage tanks.
Authority: This action is issued under the authority of Sections
2002(a), 7004(b), and 9004 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as
amended, 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6974(b), and 6991c.
Dated: February 7, 1995.
Acting Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 95-5526 Filed 3-6-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
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