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60 FR 12629-12631 March 7, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 44) 40 CFR Parts 281 and 282 Hazardous Waste: Iowa State Underground Storage Tank Programs; Final Rules

[Federal Register: March 7, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 44)]
[Rules and Regulations ]               
[Page 12629-12631]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 12629]]

Part III
Environmental Protection Agency

40 CFR Parts 281 and 282

Hazardous Waste: Iowa State Underground Storage Tank Programs; Final 

[[Page 12630]] 


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.


A. Background

    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 
each year.
    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 
their compliance.
    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.

D. Decision

    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.
Delores Platt,
Acting Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 95-5526 Filed 3-6-95; 8:45 am]

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