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Toolkit Overview

This video toolkit was created to assist local government officials and tank owners and operators in managing their underground storage tanks (USTs) and help them identify and correct problems that arise during the operation of their tanks and equipment.  It consists of both an instructional video and an electronic library containing helpful information resources.  This toolkit can be used to enhance and supplement a state’s operator training program.

Why be concerned about underground storage tanks?

Until the mid-1980’s, most (USTs) were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time allowing stored product to leak into the environment.  Faulty installation or inadequate operation and maintenance procedures can also cause USTs to release their contents into the environment.

To comply with federal and state UST regulatory requirements, you must have the right equipment, and you must operate and maintain this equipment properly.  Failure to do so can lead to hazardous releases.  A leaking or improperly maintained UST presents health and environmental risks, as well as the potential for fire and explosion.

Concerns About USTs

Preventing underground storage tank spills, leaks, and releases is important to protecting the public health and our nation's groundwater supply.

In 1984, Congress responded to the increasing threat to groundwater posed by leaking USTs by adding Subtitle I to the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).  Subtitle I required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish regulations that would require owners and operators of new tanks and tanks already in the ground to prevent, detect, and clean up releases.  At the same time, Congress banned the installation of tanks and piping without Corrosion Protection beginning in 1985.

In 1986, Congress amended federal law and created the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund to provide funds for:

The 1986 amendments also established financial responsibility requirements.  Congress directed EPA to publish regulations that would require UST owners and operators to demonstrate they are financially capable of cleaning up releases and compensating third parties for resulting damages.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 contains amendments requiring major changes to federal and state underground storage tank programs.  The provisions are aimed at reducing and preventing underground storage tank releases to our environment.  The Act includes provisions regarding inspections, operator training, fuel delivery prohibition, secondary containment and/or financial responsibility, and cleanup of releases that contain oxygenated fuel additives.

In addition to federal laws and regulations, most states also place requirements on UST owners and operators.  In some cases, federal and state requirements may be the same; however, some states impose requirements beyond federal regulations.  Please remember to contact your state regulatory agency to get a list of its requirements.

Since 1984, more than 1.7 million USTs have been properly closed and more than 371,880 cleanups have been completed. Another 106,577 cleanups were ongoing as of March 2008. Compliance with federal and state UST requirements is critical to protecting our natural resources. EPA recognizes that because of the large number and broad diversity of UST owners and operators across the Southeast, state governments are best situated to implement UST management programs. Therefore, EPA has, in general, delegated the responsibility to implement UST management programs to the states.

For more information about this video, please contact:

Joel Haden, Project Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority
(865) 632-2132 - jmhaden@tva.gov

Bill Truman, Chief, US EPA Region 4 UST Program
(404) 562-9457 - truman.bill@epa.gov  

For information about the contents of this page, please contact Mallory Miller.

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