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UST Technical Compendium Category 5: Closure (CL)

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Question 1: What are the closure requirements for tanks that were closed nearly 30 years ago?
[January 25, 1990 letter from Senator Riegle]

Answer: The federal regulations do not require owners and operators of previously closed tanks to comply with the federal closure provisions unless directed to do so by the implementing agency.
[February 16, 1990 letter to Senator Riegle (PDF) (2 pp, 11K)]


Question 2: Are tanks that have not been in operation since 1980 subject to federal closure requirements?
[March 1, 1990 letter from Congressman Leath]

Answer: No, however, each state implementing agency can adopt closure standards that are more stringent than the federal standards.
[March 28, 1990 letter to Congressman Leath (PDF) (1 pg, 9K)]


Question 3: What are the closure standards for abandoned USTs?
[March 2, 1990 letter from Christopher Gilmore]

Answer: Tanks closed or abandoned after the effective date of the UST regulations (December 22, 1988) need to meet the federal closure requirements. However, state requirements can be more stringent than the federal requirements. Tanks closed or abandoned before December 22, 1988 need to meet the federal closure requirements only if the state implementing agency decides this action is necessary.
[Letter to Mr. Gilmore (date not legible)(PDF) (2 pp, 9K)]


Question 4: Is EPA's 30 day notification requirement at closure really necessary?
[January 31, 1991 letter from Wallace Putkowski of Carbon Service Corp.]

Answer: EPA's 30 day prior notice requirement was intended to allow state or local agencies sufficient time to inform owners and operators what closure requirements to follow and perhaps enable arrangement of an on-site visit by a local inspector during closure. EPA's intent was not to automatically delay closure action for 30 days. EPA allows states to employ different approaches in this matter. Concerns about the need for change or flexibility should be directed to the state UST program.
[February 26, 1991 letter to Mr. Putkowski (PDF) (2 pp, 11K)]


Question 5: Is the owner of a property in 1991 liable for the cost of removing and disposing of USTs that were part of a gas station and have not been used since 1976.
[April 23, 1991 letter from Congressman McEwen]

Answer: The question of liability for tank removal can be quite complex. The federal statute defines the owner of a tank that was in use before November 1984 but never used after that date as any person who owned the tank immediately before the discontinuation of its use. States, however, are not constrained by the federal definition of tank owner. Owners need to contact the state UST program.
[Undated letter to Congressman McEwen (PDF) (2 pp, 7K)]


Question 6: Can closure requirements go back in time indefinitely?

Answer:  Yes, if so directed by the implementing agency based on its judgment that the tank may pose current or potential threat to human health and the environment.
[There is no additional material included for this answer]


Question 7: Is an owner or operator who discovers a release at the site of an UST system closed prior to the effective date of the federal technical standards (December 22, 1988) subject to the corrective action requirements found in Subpart F of the technical standards?

Answer: Yes, the owner and operator of the UST system must comply with the corrective action requirements of Subpart F of the regulations, but are not required to comply with the requirements of Subparts B, C, D, and E except as referenced in Subpart F.
[There is no additional material included for this answer]


Question 8: Is a tank closed in the 1940s subject to the current closure requirements? If so, how many times must a tank be closed? What citations are applicable?

Answer: Under Section 280.73, this "previously closed UST system" is not required to be closed in accordance with Subpart G of Part 280 unless the implementing agency directs the owner or operator of the tank to follow such requirements. If a tank has already been closed in accordance with Subpart G requirements, it does not have to be closed again. Tank systems that have been previously closed or abandoned in a manner that does not meet all the Subpart G requirements can be required by the implementing agency to close again in accordance with all the Subpart G requirements if the implementing agency judges that the tank poses a current or future threat to human health and the environment.
[There is no additional material included for this answer]


Question 9: If a tank was abandoned long ago with product in it, would the response to question 8 (above) change? Would this tank still be considered previously closed?

Answer: There is no operator at the site since the UST system was no longer in daily operation. Since the property has changed several times since it was abandoned in the 1940s, there is not an owner at the site. EPA has no authority to require the current site owner to adhere to the closure requirements unless that person owned or operated the tank at the time of it previous closure or abandonment. The previous owner and operator as defined in Section 280.12 could be required to do so if that person can be found. EPA expects that abandoned or previously closed systems that still contain liquid free product are likely to be readily deemed to pose a significant future threat to human health and the environment by the implementing agency.
[There is no additional material included for this answer]


Question 10: In general, if an owner/operator decides to "permanently close" his tank after December 22, 1988, regardless if the tank was closed or abandoned long ago, is he always required to comply with the final technical requirements of Subpart G?

Answer: If an owner/operator of the UST system, as defined under the regulations, voluntarily decides to undertake steps to permanently close a previously closed or abandoned tank, he does not legally have to comply with the final technical requirements of Subpart G unless directed to do so by the implementing agency under authority of Section 280.73. However, these owners and operators are not relieved of the requirement to perform corrective action, when a release is identified or confirmed at such a site, even in the absence of a directive to that effect by the implementing agency.
[There is no additional material included for this answer]


Question 11: Generally, an UST system temporarily closed for more than 12 months must meet either the new system standards, the upgrading standards, the permanent closure standards. Can an UST system be temporarily closed for more than 12 months, waiting to meet the upgrade requirements until 1998, when upgrades are actually required?
[November 18, 1992 letter from R. Steven Morton (PDF) (1 pg, 5K)]

Answer: No, the actual upgrade requirements, including specific requirements for tanks such as interior lining and/or cathodic protection, and including specific requirements for cathodic protection of piping, must be met at the time temporary closure exceeds 12 months.
[February 23, 1993 letter to Mr. Morton (PDF) (2 pp, 11K)]

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