United States
                        Environmental Protection
Solid Waste and Emergency
(OS-420 WF)
April 1993
4>EPA            UST  Program  Facts
                         Preventing  Leaks:
                        Technical   Regulations
                        U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                        (EPA) regulations

                        EPA designed the technical regulations for
                        underground storage tanks (USTs) to reduce
                        the chance of releases from USTs, increase
                        the likelihood of finding releases quickly
                        when they do occur, and secure prompt
                        cleanup.  Owners and operators are
                        responsible for detecting,  stopping, and
                        cleaning up leaks and spills.

                        Leak prevention for new USTs (installed
                        after 1988)

                        USTs installed after December 1988 must be
                        fiberglass-reinforced plastic, corrosion-
                        protected steel, or a composite, and must be
                        designed, constructed, and installed in
                        accordance with  a national code of practice.
                        All of these types of systems are protected
                        against corrosion, which lessens the chance
                        of leaks.  Piping also must be protected.

                        Upgrading existing USTs (installed before

                        Before EPA regulations were issued, most
                        tanks were not equipped with release
                        prevention or detection features. Now, EPA
                        regulations require that, by 1998, all tanks
                        must be protected against corrosion (for
                        steel tanks and piping) and equipped with
                        devices that prevent spills and overfills.
                        Older tanks must be replaced or upgraded
                        by fitting them with corrosion protection and
                        spill and overfill prevention devices to bring
                        them up to new-tank standards.
              Under the compliance schedule (see
              chart), all existing UST systems must
              meet the standards for new tanks, be
              closed in accordance with regulations, or
              be upgraded with the following features
              by 1998:

                    Corrosion protection.  Three
                    methods are used.  One technique
                    is to line the inside of the tank
                    with a corrosion-resistant
                    fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
                    Another technique is to use
                    cathodic protection, that is, a
                    technique that involves reversing
                    the electric current that causes
                    corrosion by using either
                    sacrificial anodes or impressed
                    electrical current.  A third
                    technique is to combine a
                    fiberglass-reinforced plastic lining
                    with cathodic protection.  Piping
                    must also be protected.

                    Spill and overfill prevention.
                    Technologies include a spill
                    containment device combined
                    with either an automatic flow
                    shut-off device to stop product
                    flow during delivery, or an
                    overfill alarm.

                     Closure of existing USTs

                     To close a tank permanently, an owner or
                     operator must:

                            Notify the regulatory authority 30
                            days before closing,

                           Determine if the tank has leaked and
                            damaged the environment and, if so,
                            take appropriate notification and
                            corrective actions,
                                            Empty and clean the UST
                                            according to standard safety
                                            practices, and

                                            Remove the UST from the
                                            ground or leave the UST in the
                                            ground but fill it with an inert
                                            solid material.
                        Leak Prevention  Requirements for USTs
  Type of Tank
  or Piping
Corrosion Protection
Spill/Overfill Prevention
  New tanks (installed
  after December 1988)
Coated and cathodically
protected steel or
fiberglass or steel tank
clad with fiberglass
  Existing tanks
Same options as for new
tanks plus cathodic
protection system or
interior lining or both
  New piping (installed
  after December 1988)
Coated and cathodically
protected steel or
  Existing piping
Same options as for new
piping or cathodically
protected steel
                          At installation
                          December 1998
                                                    Catchment basins and
                                                    either automatic shutoff
                                                    devices or overfill alarms
                          At installation
                          Corrosion protection
                          deadline for all piping is
                          December 1998
*Or others determined by the implementing agency to be no less protective.

Reporting and record-keeping
requirements for all tanks

UST owners must notify state or local
authorities of the existence of an UST
and its leak prevention and leak detection
measures, or of the permanent closure of
an UST. Technical regulations also set
guidelines  for notifying authorities of
leaks of any size or spills  of more than
25 gallons.

Owners and operators must also keep
records on:

       Inspection results for the cathodic
        protection system, if one is used,

        Repairs or upgrades, and

        Site assessment results after
        permanent closure, which must
        be kept for at least three years.

State financial assistance funds

The cost of complying with prevention
and other requirements will be a burden
to some owners and operators, especially
those with older tanks.  Seventeen states
have established financial  assistance
programs that serve to mitigate the
overall economic impact of the UST
regulatory program. These assistance
programs provide funds or low-interest
loans to help owners upgrade or replace
their tanks.
Preventing Leaks:  Technical Regulations is one
in a series of fact sheets about underground
storage tanks (USTs) and leaking USTs.  The
series is designed to help EPA, other federal
officials, and state authorities answer the most
frequently asked questions about USTs with
consistent, accurate information in language the
layperson can understand. Keep the fact sheets
handy as a resource.  This fact sheet addresses
federal regulations. You may need to refer to
applicable state or local regulations, as well.
For more information on UST publications, call
the RCRAlSuperfund Hotline at 800 424-9346.