October 31, 2011 | Vol. 61, No. 21
|Dear PEI Member:
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to revise its underground storage tank (UST) regulations was signed by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on October 25. EPA has made available a pre-publication copy of the proposed rule. There you will find:
EPA hopes the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register this week.
EPA's proposal revises the UST technical regulation in 40 CFR 280 by:
The following paragraphs briefly describe EPA's proposal, starting with requirements for periodic operation and maintenance of UST systems.
Adding periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems. The 1988 UST regulation required owners and operators to install improved UST system equipment to detect and prevent releases; however, it did not require operation and maintenance for all of that equipment. EPA proposes to add requirements for periodic spill, overfill, secondary containment and release detection testing, along with periodic walkthrough inspections, to prevent and quickly detect releases.
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EPA used PEI's Recommended Practices for the Inspection and Maintenance of UST Systems (PEI/RP900) as a guide as it developed the proposed walkthrough requirements. RP900 could be used to satisfy the proposed walkthrough requirements since it qualifies as a standard code of practice developed by a nationally recognized trade association. EPA also proposes to allow owners and operators to hire a third party to conduct walkthrough inspections instead of performing the inspections themselves.
EPA proposes that spill prevention equipment testing be performed at installation and at least once every 12 months. Spill prevention equipment testing would not be required in those situations where spill prevention equipment has two walls and the space between the walls is monitored continuously.
EPA's proposal would add a requirement that owners and operators test proper operation of overfill prevention equipment (automatic shutoff devices, flow restrictors and high level alarms) and secondary containment areas at installation and every three years. EPA proposes staggering implementation over a three-year period based on the installation date of the oldest UST at the facility.
In §280.40, EPA proposes that UST owners and operators perform annual operation and maintenance tests on electronic and mechanical components of their release detection equipment to ensure the equipment is operating properly. EPA proposes that owners and operators begin meeting this requirement no later than one year after the effective date of the final UST regulation.
EPA proposes that owners and operators meet the testing requirements for spill prevention equipment, overfill prevention equipment, interstitial integrity and operability for release detection methods according to one of the following: manufacturer's instructions; a code of practice developed by a nationally recognized association or independent testing laboratory; or requirements developed by the implementing agency. EPA notes in its proposal that it knows of one code of practice currently being developed―PEI's Recommended Practices for the Testing and Verification of Spill, Overfill, Release Detection and Secondary Containment Equipment―that may address testing of this equipment. EPA says it will review the code of practice after it is issued in final form and decide whether to include it in the final UST regulation.
Adding secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping. EPA proposes that all owners and operators install secondary containment (including interstitial monitoring) for new or replaced tanks and piping installed after the effective date of the final UST regulation. That would include Indian country and the two states (Missouri and Kansas) that currently use the financial responsibility for manufacturers and installers option provided in the Energy Policy Act. EPA does not propose secondary containment for safe suction piping systems and piping associated with field-constructed tanks and airport hydrant fuel distribution systems. EPA also proposes to remove the option in §280.42 for owners and operators to use a release detection method other than interstitial monitoring for hazardous substance USTs installed after the effective date of the final UST regulation.
EPA also proposes that owners and operators install under-dispenser containment beneath new dispenser systems at UST systems. EPA considers a dispenser system new when both the dispenser and equipment needed to connect the dispenser to an UST system are installed at an UST facility. EPA proposes that check valves, shear valves, unburied risers or flexible connectors, and other transitional components be included as equipment that connects a dispenser to an UST system. If an owner or operator replaces a dispenser but uses existing equipment to connect a dispenser to an UST system, then under-dispenser containment is not required. EPA is also proposing owners and operators install under-dispenser containment beneath new dispenser systems at UST systems, irrespective of whether they dispense motor fuel. This would require kerosene dispensers to have under-dispenser containment.
Adding operator training requirements for UST system owners and operators. The operator training provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that state implementing agencies, as a condition of receiving federal Subtitle I money, develop state-specific training requirements for three classes of UST system operators. EPA issued grant guidelines that provide minimum requirements state operator training programs must include in order for states to continue receiving federal Subtitle I money. The operator training grant guidelines apply to most UST systems in the United States; however, all are not covered. UST systems not covered include those in Indian country where EPA is the primary implementing agency, and in states and territories that do not meet the requirements of EPA's operator training grant guidelines. In EPA's proposal, the Agency closes the gap in coverage and ensures all operators are trained according to their level of responsibility, designated as Class A, B or C.
Removing certain deferrals. Certain categories of UST systems were deferred from the requirements of 40 CFR 280 in the 1988 UST regulation. In EPA's proposal, it will continue to defer the aboveground components associated with airport hydrant systems and USTs with field-constructed tanks. EPA proposes to regulate the underground components associated with airport hydrant systems and USTs with field-constructed tanks. In addition, EPA proposes to regulate wastewater treatment tank systems and UST systems that store fuel solely for use by emergency power generators.
Providing for other changes to improve release prevention and detection and program implementation. EPA proposes language to various sections of 40 CFR 280 that would accomplish the following:
Making general updates to the regulation. EPA proposes to include technologies developed since the 1988 UST regulations were issued and clarify the use of those technologies by:
U.S. BIODIESEL SALES HIT RECORD
ETHANOL INDUSTRY ESCAPES SENATE ATTACK
EPA GRANTS SPCC EXTENSION FOR FARMERS
The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with SPCC regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the plans. Finally, the amendment does not relieve farms from the liability of any oil spills that occur.
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The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Robert N. Renkes, Executive Vice President, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.