Underground Storage Tank (UST) Operation and Maintenance
- Inspections - General Information
- EPA Inspections - What you need to know
- Installations, Change-In-Service, and Closures
To monitor compliance for federally regulated UST systems in the Southeast, EPA follows this general approach:
- Identify facilities that have UST systems that are federally regulated
- Educate UST facility owners / operators on federal regulations regarding UST systems and provide compliance assistance
- Monitor their compliance by conducting inspections
- Select and carry out a timely and appropriate enforcement response when violations are found
- Follow up with facility owners / operators to ensure subsequent compliance
Why Conduct UST Inspections?
UST INSPECTIONS - GENERAL INFORMATION
During inspections and leaking underground storage tank (LUST) investigations, EPA has found that many UST systems are not being installed, operated or maintained properly, resulting in leaks to nearby soils and groundwater. Often times, equipment is found to be not functioning, broken or missing; therefore, many tank owners cannot detect leaks or spills or whether a piece of equipment has failed.
Who Conducts Inspections in Region 4?
In Region 4, EPA Inspectors can inspect UST facilities in any state and does so periodically to assist a state, provide training or to conduct oversight. In Indian country, EPA, not the state, conducts inspections at UST facilities, which includes facilities on Indian reservations owned by non-Indians.
EPA INSPECTIONS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Note: For UST inspections conducted by the state, contact your applicable state agency. To find out who to contact, visit our UST EPA and State Contacts listings.
What Tanks are Inspected?
All currently in use and temporarily out of use UST systems that are federally regulated may be inspected.
How Can I Prepare for an EPA Inspection?
- Have all your records pertaining to your UST system(s) and invoices of any equipment or work conducted on your UST system ready for the inspector to review. To find out which records you should have available during the inspection, refer to this list – Documents Required During an EPA Inspection.
- Use the EPA manual, Operating and Maintaining UST Systems: Practical Help and Checklists, to review your system requirements. For more information, review EPA UST information documents that pertain to the specific release detection methods and equipment that you are using on your UST system.
- Review your equipment manuals and booklets.
- Contact an EPA UST inspector if you have any questions. Find one in our EPA & State Contacts page.
What Happens During an EPA Inspection?
What Happens if the EPA Inspector Finds Something Wrong?
Depending on the severity and nature of the violation, an EPA Inspector may issue the owner / operator an enforcement action that requires the owner / operator to correct the violation within a certain time period and may involve a monetary fine. Any serious noncompliance issues may be referred for formal enforcement. Pursuit of these violations is at the discretion of the EPA UST / LUST Program and the Department of Justice. For further information, visit our Enforcement page.
UST INSTALLATIONS, CHANGE-IN-SERVICE AND CLOSURES
Our goal is to ensure that UST systems are installed, operated, maintained and closed safely, and in compliance with UST regulations, to prevent harm to others and the environment. We are here to assist you so that you can start operation of your UST system on the right foot. Likewise, we can provide you assistance so that you can close out your UST system properly, in accordance with UST regulations, the first time round.
Who Should I Contact? What Should I Do?
In EPA Region 4, the appropriate authority to notify for UST installations and closures is based on whether or not your facility is located in Indian country.
If your facility is NOT in Indian country, you should contact your appropriate state agency that regulates UST installations and closures. States have various notification requirements, including submitting written notifications, obtaining permits, finding out the minimum time for submittals and submitting site assessment reports for UST closures. Check with your state agency.
If your facility is in Indian country, including sites on Indian reservations owned by non-Indians -
- For installations, you should contact an EPA Indian country staff member. After installation, you will need to submit to EPA an Underground Storage Tank Notification Form PDF (5 pp, 545.83K). For additional information on UST installations, contact an Indian country staff member.
- If you will be conducting a change-in-service modification or closing an UST system, you must notify EPA of your intent to perform closure work, preferably in writing using the 30-Day Advance Closure Notification Form PDF (5 pp, 545.83K) , which should be sent to EPA via mail or fax. Refer to the EPA & State Contacts page for our address and fax number. After the closure, you must submit to EPA a Certification of Completed Closure Form PDF (5 pp, 545.83K) and a site assessment.