Solid Waste and Emergency Response
                          Training Module
            Introduction to the
             Underground Storage
             Tank Regulations and
United States
Environmental Protection
March 2003


This document was developed by Booz Allen Hamilton under contract 68-W-01-020 to EPA.
It is intended to be used as a training tool for Call Center specialists and does not represent a
statement of EPA policy.

The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA s
regulations or policies. This document is used only in the capacity of the Call Center training and
is not used as a reference tool on Call Center calls.  The Call Center revises and updates this
document as regulatory program areas change.

The information in this document may not necessarily reflect the current position of the Agency.
This document is not intended and cannot be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or
procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the United States.
                     RCRA, Superfund & EPCRA Call Center Phone Numbers:

          National toll-free (outside of DC area)                        (800) 424-9346
          Local number (within DC area)                              (703) 412-9810
          National toll-free for the hearing impaired (TDD)                (800) 553-7672
                      The Call Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time,
                         Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays.

1.  Introduction	 1

2.  Regulatory Summary 	 2
   2.1  Scope of the UST Program 	 2
   2.2  Notification Requirements 	 5
   2.3  Performance and Operating Standards 	 5
   2.4  Release Detection 	 7
   2.5  Special Requirements for Chemical USTs 	 9
   2.6  Release Reporting, Response, and Corrective Action 	10
   2.7  Out-of-Service USTs and UST Closure	12
   2.8  Financial Responsibility 	12
   2.9  Lender Liability  	17

3.  Other Issues	18
   3.1  Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund	18
   3.2  UST State Programs	18
   3.3  UST Initiatives	19


                                                                   Underground Storage Tanks - 1
                                1.   INTRODUCTION
Across the United States, there are approximately 698,000 federally regulated underground
storage tanks (USTs) that store petroleum or certain hazardous substances. USTs are found at a
variety of locations, including convenience stores, airports, service stations, small and large
manufacturing facilities, and hazardous waste management facilities. Some USTs installed
before 1988 were constructed of bare, unprotected steel.  Because of their underground location,
these tanks pose unique problems in preventing their contents from leaking due to faulty
installation, corrosion, tank or pipe rupture,  or spills. With over 50 percent of the U.S.
population relying on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water, Congress acted to
protect this resource in 1984 by adding Subtitle I to the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA). Pursuant to this congressional mandate, EPA established a regulatory program in
1988 that includes technical requirements to prevent, detect, and clean up releases from USTs.
In addition, EPA created financial responsibility requirements to guarantee that UST owners and
operators have enough money set aside to clean up releases and compensate third parties.

This module is designed to familiarize you with the universe of regulated USTs as well as the
technical and financial requirements that apply to them. After reading this module, you should
be able to:

      Define UST and UST system

      Identify which USTs are subject to regulation

      Determine performance  and operating requirements

      Discuss such topics  as historical deadlines for upgrading tanks and the closure and
       corrective action requirements

      Summarize the financial responsibility requirements for petroleum  USTs.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

2 - Underground Storage Tanks
                         2.   REGULATORY SUMMARY
When developing RCRA Subtitle I, Congress's primary concern was to protect groundwater by
establishing standards that prevent releases and enable UST owners and operators to quickly
respond to releases that do occur. A complete visual inspection is impossible for any tank and its
associated piping when even partially underground. RCRA Subtitle I defines an UST as any
tank, including its connected piping, that is 10 percent or more beneath the surface of the ground.
Because this definition includes the volume of underground pipes connected to the tank, above
ground tanks with extensive underground piping may fall within the purview of the federal UST
regulations, as well as tanks that are partially or completely below ground.

Some types of underground storage tanks are not subject to the  UST regulations.  EPA regulates
only certain underground tanks that hold petroleum or hazardous chemicals.  For example,
underground tanks holding nonhazardous substances, such as water, are not covered by these
regulations. Other underground tanks are not regulated under Subtitle I because they are already
covered under other federal programs (e.g., underground tanks holding hazardous wastes, which
are regulated under Subtitle C of RCRA) or because the tank does not contain enough of a
regulated substance to warrant regulation.

The UST regulations are found in 40 CFR Part 280.  Since the UST program is not part of
RCRA Subtitle C, Part 280 contains its own applicability and definitions sections, in addition to
regulations establishing technical and administrative requirements.  These requirements include
notification, design and installation standards, closure, and corrective action. Because many
USTs were installed prior to the development of the federal UST program, the regulations also
establish a schedule for upgrading older tanks to meet current design and operating standards.
Finally, Part 280 also contains regulations requiring owners and operators of petroleum USTs to
demonstrate that they have the financial resources to pay for the cost of cleaning up any releases
that occur.

States can apply for and obtain approval to implement the UST regulations in lieu of the federal
government. Approval  of a state's UST program is independent of a state's authorization under
Part 271 to implement the Subtitle C hazardous waste program. Part 281 contains the
regulations governing the application and approval process for UST state programs.

When addressing any issue involving underground storage tanks, it is critical that you determine
if the tank meets the regulatory definition of UST in 280.12 and the applicability criteria in
280.10. EPA defines an UST as any one or combination of tanks (including underground pipes
connected thereto) that is used to contain an accumulation of "regulated substances," and the
volume of which (including the volume of underground pipes connected thereto) is 10 percent or
more beneath the surface of the ground. A "regulated substance" means (1) any substance
defined under 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (CERCLA), but not including any substance regulated as  a hazardous waste under
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                    Underground Storage Tanks - 3
RCRA Subtitle C, and (2) petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof that is a liquid at
standard temperature and pressure.

As stated earlier, USTs, depending on their size, location, contents, and/or purpose, may be
either subject to Part 280 regulation, deferred to other regulatory programs, or excluded from
federal regulation altogether.  Because Congress expressly excluded a number of units from the
definition of UST in RCRA 9001, Section 280.12 also excludes these units.  These units
include, among others: farm and residential tanks with a volume of 1,100 gallons or less that
store motor fuel for noncommercial purposes; tanks storing heating oil for use on site; septic
tanks; pipeline facilities regulated under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 and the
Hazardous Liquid Pipeline  Safety Act of 1979; and storage tanks situated upon  or above the
floor in a basement, cellar, or other underground area.  A complete list of tanks  excluded or
subject to reduced standards can be found in Table 1.

Once you determine that a tank meets the definition of an UST, you must evaluate it against a
number of other regulatory  exclusions found in the applicability section (280.10(b)). EPA
developed some of these exclusions to avoid subjecting certain types of tanks to dual regulation.
For example, tank systems regulated under RCRA Subtitle C and wastewater treatment tanks
regulated under the  Clean Water Act  (CWA) are excluded to avoid duplicative regulation.  Other
exclusions exempt tanks that pose little or no risk, allowing implementing agencies to
concentrate their resources  on tanks that pose the greatest environmental threat.  These include
tanks that contain small concentrations of regulated substances and tanks with a capacity of 110
gallons or less.

Finally, if a tank meets the definition of an UST and is not excluded under 280.10(b), you must
determine if it qualifies for one of the deferrals in 280.10(c) and (d). Most of these tanks are
deferred from regulation because their design or use poses unique regulatory challenges. A
deferral provides EPA with additional time to evaluate these tanks to determine if they warrant
full regulation under Part 280. Section 280.10(c) defers five types of UST systems from the Part
280 design and installation  standards and notification, release detection, release reporting,  and
closure requirements.  These tanks are, however, subject to release response, corrective action
and financial responsibility. In addition, new tanks must meet the design standards of 280.11.
Furthermore, Section 280.10(d) defers USTs storing fuel solely used for emergency power
generators from the release detection requirements only; these tanks are subject to all other Part
280 requirements.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

4 - Underground Storage Tanks
                                                   Table 1
Type of Tank
1, 100-gallon or less Farm or Residential Tanks1
Heating Oil Tanks1
Septic Tanks1
Pipeline Facilities Regulated Under Other Federal or State Laws1
Surface Impoundments, Pits, Ponds, Lagoons1
Stormwater or Wastewater Collection Systems1
Flow-Through Process Tanks1
Liquid Traps Related to Oil/Gas Production1
Storage Tanks in an Underground Area1
Tanks Holding RCRA Subtitle C Hazardous Waste2
Tanks that are Part of a Wastewater Treatment Facility Regulated Under CWA2
Equipment Containing Regulated Substances for Operational Purposes2
USTs with capacities of 110 gallons or less2
USTs containing De Minimis Concentrations of Regulated Substances2

Emergency Spill or Overflow Containment UST System Expeditiously Emptied ^
Wastewater Treatment Tank Systems3
Tanks Containing Radioactive Material Regulated Under the Atomic Energy Act3
Tanks that are Part of an Emergency Generator System at Nuclear Power Generation
Facilities Regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission3
Airport Hydrant Fuel Distribution Systems3
Field-Constructed Tanks3
Tanks Storing Fuel for Use by Emergency Power Generators4
   These tanks are excluded from the definition of "UST."
  These tanks are excluded from Part 280 regulation.

 3 These tanks are deferred from Part 280, Subparts B, C, D, E, and G.

  These tanks are deferred from only Subpart D.
       The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                        but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                 Underground Storage Tanks - 5

Because of the vast number of underground storage tanks already in existence when Congress
enacted RCRA Subtitle I, EPA's first action in response to this mandate was to establish a
notification system allowing EPA to track the universe of existing USTs. Owners and operators
of UST systems that were in the ground on or after May 8, 1986, were required to notify the
designated state or local agency of the tank's existence, unless the tank was taken out of
operation on or before January 1, 1974. The regulations also provide a mechanism that alerts
EPA when a new UST is brought into operation. Any owner or operator who brings an UST into
use after May 8, 1986, must notify the designated state or local agency of the existence of the
tank system within 30 days of bringing the tank into use (280.22).  As an additional safeguard,
any person who sells a tank that is intended to be used as an UST must inform the purchaser of
the  owner's notification requirement under 280.22. However, notification is a one-time
requirement. If the original tank owner or operator notified EPA, the subsequent owner need not
notify EPA again, and EPA does not require notification for ownership changes.

The UST program establishes performance and operating standards for new and existing tanks.
These standards require that owners and operators ensure proper installation, corrosion
protection, spill and overfill protection, and leak detection. The Part 280 UST regulations were
published on September 23, 1988, and became effective on December 22, 1988 (53 FR 37082).
December 22, 1988, is used as a critical cut-off point for determining the applicability of certain
elements of the UST regulations. To accommodate the thousands of USTs in existence at the
time the Part 280 regulations were established, EPA built a certain amount of flexibility into the
UST program to ensure that tanks already in use were covered by the new program, yet not
immediately subjected to potentially costly design standards.

Part 280 draws a distinction between "new" tank systems, which are  immediately subject to
strict installation and design standards, and "existing" tank systems, which were provided a
grace period before they had to be upgraded to meet the standards similar to those applicable to
new tanks.  Tanks for which installation began after December 22, 1988, are considered to be
new USTs (280.12).  These new tanks are subject to stringent performance standards at the time
of installation. These standards address preventative measures necessary to protect against
structural failure, corrosion, leaks, and spills and overfills during product transfer to the UST
system (280.20). Tanks installed on or before December 22, 1988, are considered existing
tanks (280.12). Existing tanks were provided a deadline by which they had to meet the same (or
similar) standards as new tanks or be replaced.  UST owners and operators were required to fully
upgrade existing tank systems by December 22,  1998, or remove them from service. In addition
to these design standards, both new and existing tank systems are subject to general operating
requirements to ensure proper operation and maintenance. Each of these requirements is
discussed in the following sections, noting where standards differ for new and existing tank
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

6 - Underground Storage Tanks

Improper installation is a typical cause of UST failures, particularly piping failures. Proper
installation is crucial to ensure the structural integrity of both the tank and its piping.  Many
mistakes can be made during installation, a process that includes deciding where to locate the
tank, excavation, tank system assembly, backfilling of the tank system, and surface grading. For
example, mishandling of the tank during installation can cause cracks in fiberglass-reinforced
plastic tanks, or damage the protective coating on steel tanks with cathodic protection, leading to
corrosion. These problems usually result from careless installation practices that do not follow
recognized industry codes and procedures.  Therefore, owners and operators of new tank systems
must certify on their UST notification form that the tank system was installed in accordance with
the manufacturer's instructions and in accordance with practices developed by a nationally
recognized association, such as the American Petroleum Institute (API) (280.20(d) and


Owners and operators of new and existing USTs must protect their tanks and piping from
corrosion. When EPA surveyed the regulated universe of USTs in 1988, it discovered that over
75 percent of existing USTs were made  of unprotected steel. When unprotected steel is buried in
the ground, it can be eaten away by corrosion, a process that results when bare metal, soil, and
moisture conditions combine to produce an underground electric current that destroys steel,
returning it to its original iron ore state.  This transformation causes holes to develop, and leaks
to begin, eventually leading to contamination of the surrounding soil and groundwater. Because
of this problem, EPA requires that new tanks be designed and constructed so that they are
protected from  corrosion.  This protection can be accomplished by constructing the tank of
materials that do not corrode, such as fiberglass and plastic, or outfitting a steel tank with a thick
layer of noncorrodible material.  A third option is to construct the tank using steel that has a
corrosion-resistant coating while also providing a means of reversing the corrosion-causing
electrical current (also called cathodic protection) (280.20(a)). Piping that routinely contains
product and is in contact with soils must meet similar corrosion protection  standards

Owners and operators of existing, bare steel tanks had until December 22, 1998, to upgrade,
replace, or close their tanks. By the December 22, 1998 deadline, these existing tanks had to be
protected from  corrosion either by meeting the performance standards for new tanks or by
following special upgrading procedures. These procedures, outlined in  280.21, include options
for installing cathodic protection and/or adding a thick, corrosion-resistant interior lining to the
tank.  Existing metal piping also needed cathodic protection by this date.

Once installed,  the regulations require that corrosion protection systems be properly operated
and maintained to ensure that no releases occur.  In addition, UST systems with cathodic
protection must be periodically inspected and tested to ensure that the equipment is operating
properly (280.31). Similarly, owners and operators must periodically inspect lined tanks to
ensure their structural integrity and that  the lining is performing in accordance with its original
design specifications. Finally, the owner or operator must keep records documenting compliance
with these operation, maintenance, and inspection requirements (280.34(b)(2)).
      The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                   Underground Storage Tanks - 7
In addition to ensuring the structural integrity of the tank by preventing corrosion, owners and
operators of USTs must ensure that any substance stored in the UST does not react in such a way
that threatens the integrity of the tank. For this reason, the tank and piping must be made of, or
lined with, a material that is compatible with the substance  stored in the tank (280.32).


Even if an UST is properly designed, installed, and equipped with corrosion protection, spills
can occur during product transfer (i.e., when the tank is being filled or when liquids are being
removed).  These types of releases are usually due to human error,  and as such, are largely
preventable or controllable.  The spill and overfill protection regulations consist of both general
operating procedures and design standards.  The general operating  requirements consist of
common-sense procedures, such as ensuring that there is enough room in the tank to receive a
delivery of gasoline before the delivery is made, and watching the entire delivery to prevent
spilling or overfilling. In addition,  spills and overfills can be eliminated or minimized by
installing special equipment. For example, catchment basins can contain small amounts of
product that are spilled when the delivery hose is uncoupled from the fill pipe.  Overfill
protection devices either shut off delivery once the product has reached a certain level in the
tank, restricts flow into the tank when the tank is almost full, or sounds an alarm that notifies the
delivery driver that the tank is almost full.

All tank systems are subject to the general operating standards for spill and overfill control in
280.30. New tank systems  must have catchment basins and overfill  protection devices when
they are installed (280.20(c)), while existing tank systems were required to meet these design
standards by December 22, 1998 (280.21(d)).  Only tank systems  that never receive product
transfers of more than 25 gallons at a time do not have to meet the  spill and overfill design
standards (280.20(c)(2)(ii)).

Release detection is an essential component of the underground storage tank program. All new
and upgraded USTs must be monitored at least every 30 days for releases.  New USTs (tanks
installed after December 22, 1988) must meet the leak detection provisions immediately upon
installation. Existing USTs (tanks installed before December 22, 1988) were to upgrade and
meet release detection standards by December 22, 1993. Note that this cut-off date is different
from the overarching 1998 deadline.

There are three basic types of release detection: external, internal, and interstitial.  External
release detection involves monitoring nearby soil or groundwater for the presence of vapors or
liquids. Internal release detection entails measuring a tank's product level  directly. For
example, operators can measure product level manually or with electronic gauging systems.
Interstitial monitoring is a system that involves monitoring the space between the primary and
secondary containment for the presence of regulated substances.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

! - Underground Storage Tanks
The regulations outline eight types of release detection methods, however, some of these
methods may only be used on a temporary basis, while others may not be suitable for all USTs or
all types of regulated substances (280.43).  These release detection methods are briefly
described below:

      Inventory Control: The owner or operator records the volume of regulated
       substance  in a tank on each operating day, plus any additions or withdrawals
       associated with the tank.
      Manual Tank Gauging: This method involves leaving the UST undisturbed for 36
       hours each week, during which time the tank's volume is measured, twice at the
       beginning and twice at the test period's end. This method has certain size
       restrictions, because accuracy of the results decreases as tank size increases.
      Tank Tightness Test: Tightness tests check for the presence of a leak, and can
       include a wide variety of methods  and technologies.  The method must be capable
       of finding a 0.1 gallon/hour leak from the tank, while accounting for site-specific
       factors.  Typically, a testing company performs the tightness test, and the tank is
       taken out of service during the procedure.
      Automatic Tank Gauging (ATG): A probe is permanently installed in the tank to
       measure product level and temperature. The monitoring device is connected to a
       console that displays product information. The system must detect a 0.2
       gallon/hour leak rate.  Often, systems are equipped with alarms to alert staff of
       sudden changes in substance levels.
      Vapor Monitoring: This method  requires installation of prudently placed
       monitoring wells.  Sensors in the wells detect the presence of fumes due to a release
       from an UST.  Vapor monitoring is not appropriate at all sites or for all types of
       regulated substances.  A site assessment must be conducted prior to installation to
       analyze site conditions, such as soil type and aquifer depth.
      Groundwater Monitoring: Owners or operators strategically place monitoring
       wells around USTs to check for regulated substances floating on the water table.
       Similar to vapor monitoring, this method can only be used for certain materials
       (e.g., substances with a specific gravity less than one) and at certain locations (e.g.,
       underlying aquifers must be within 20 feet of the ground surface).
      Interstitial Monitoring: This method is used when a tank has secondary
       containment, such as a vault, liner, or outer wall. The space between the primary
       and secondary containment (interstitial space)  captures leaked product from the
       primary tank. Owners or operators must check the interstitial space at least once
       every 30 days. Monitoring devices can range from simple dipsticks to continuous
       detection systems.
      Other Methods: Owners and operators can use other technology if it meets a
       performance standard of 0.2 gallons/hour with a 95 percent detection probability
       and a false alarm probability of five percent. An example of this is statistical
       inventory  reconciliation (SIR), a method that employs sophisticated software to
       conduct statistical analysis of inventory, delivery, and dispensing data. Moreover,
       implementing agencies can approve other methods if the owner or operator can
       show that  it works as well  as any of the specifically outlined methods.

Although the UST regulations outline the  above release detection methods, owners or operators

     The information in this document is not by any  means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                   Underground Storage Tanks - 9
must choose one of a number of monthly monitoring methods in 280.43(d) through (h) to
ensure timely detection of leaks.  These methods are automatic tank gauging, vapor monitoring,
groundwater monitoring, interstitial monitoring, and other methods that meet the performance
standards or are specifically approved. Essentially, there are two exceptions to this requirement.
First, smaller USTs can use the manual tank gauging method(280.43(b)(5)).  Second, owners
and operators may use a combination method of release detection, which is less expensive, for a
prescribed period of time.  The "combination method" involves inventory control with periodic
tank tightness testing (280.41 (a)). In general, tanks installed today can use this option for 10
years.  In certain instances, tanks installed before the 1998 deadline may still be using this
method as well. For a detailed discussion of these  scenarios, see EPA's guidance on the
"combination method" (e.g.,  Memo, Virbick to Regions; July 25, 1997).

Underground piping that routinely contains regulated substances is also subject to release
detection standards (280.41(b)). In fact, the September 23, 1988 Federal Register preamble
stated that piping releases occur twice as often as tank releases (53 FR 37082, 37088). The
piping release detection requirements differ  slightly from those for tanks as they are tailored to
the specific piping functions. For example, suction piping has less stringent standards than
pressurized piping, because proper suction piping design ensures that suction piping is less likely
to leak than pressurized systems.

To ensure release detection performance, the release detection recordkeeping requirements in
280.45 include maintaining results of any sampling, testing, or monitoring, as well as
maintaining documentation of all calibration, maintenance, and repair of release detection

In addition to meeting the same requirements for installation, corrosion protection, and spill and
overfill protection as petroleum USTs, new and existing USTs containing CERCLA hazardous
substances, also known as chemical USTs, must meet special leak detection requirements


New chemical USTs and their associated underground piping must meet more stringent
requirements (280.42(b)).  EPA requires secondary containment with interstitial monitoring,
unless  an implementing agency approves a site-specific variance.  By enclosing a tank with a
second wall, leaks can be contained and detected quickly before harming the environment.
Acceptable methods of secondary containment include: (1) placing one tank inside of another
tank or one pipe inside another pipe, (2) placing the UST system inside a concrete vault, or (3)
lining the excavation zone around the UST system with a liner that cannot be penetrated by the
chemical.  Interstitial monitoring refers to a leak detection device that can detect the presence of
a leak in the confined space between the inner and outer barrier of the secondary containment
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

10 - Underground Storage Tanks

The secondary containment and interstitial monitoring requirements that apply to new chemical
USTs were not applicable to existing chemical USTs until December 22, 1998 (280.42(a)).
Before the deadline, owners and operators of existing chemical USTs were permitted to use any
leak detection method found in 280.43, if the method chosen would detect the release of
chemicals stored in the UST.  By December 22, 1998, unless granted a variance by the regulating
agency, all  existing chemical USTs must have been closed or brought into compliance with the
leak detection requirements for new chemical USTs (280.42). In addition, owners and
operators of existing chemical USTs were not required to install corrosion protection and spill
and overfill equipment until December 22, 1998 (280.21).

Part 280 also includes regulations that address release reporting, response, and corrective action
requirements for petroleum and hazardous substance USTs. The Part 280, Subpart E, release
reporting and Subpart F release response and corrective action regulations include procedures for
investigating and confirming suspected releases, reporting releases to the implementing agency,
and steps for cleaning up releases to the environment. All UST owners and operators must be
attentive to a variety of warning signals that indicate an UST may  be leaking (280.50).  These
include evaluation of results of leak detection monitoring and testing, observation of any unusual
operating conditions at the pump (e.g., erratic or overly slow product flow), and evidence of
product leakage into the environment (e.g., the presence of free product in nearby surface water
or soil). Upon observing such a warning signal, the owner or operator must immediately report
the suspected leak to the implementing agency and determine whether the suspected leak is an
actual leak.  To make this determination, the owner or operator can use either the procedure
outlined in 280.52, or another procedure approved by the implementing agency. The procedure
in 280.52 requires that the owner or operator conduct tightness testing of the entire UST
system, measure for the presence of contaminants in  soil or groundwater, and determine the
source of the release if there was any observed damage to the environment. If the results of tank
tightness testing and/or the site check indicate that no leak has occurred, then no further
investigation is required. If, however, the results of these investigations indicate a release has
occurred, the procedures in 280.52 require that the owner or operator respond by controlling
and cleaning up the release as well as repairing or replacing any damaged equipment.

Response to a confirmed release is laid out in Part 280, Subpart F, and consists of a short-term
and a long-term stage.  The initial stage of the response consists of short-term actions to stop  and
contain the leak or spill, and steps to ensure that the leak or spill poses no immediate hazard to
human health and safety by removing explosive vapors and fire hazards (280.61). The owner
or operator must report the confirmed release to the implementing agency within 24 hours or
another reasonable time specified by the implementing agency.  Unless directed to do otherwise
by the implementing agency, the owner or operator must also remove as much product from the
UST system as necessary to prevent any further release, begin to recover any free (released)
product, and provide a report to the implementing agency (280.62).  The report should include a
description of the initial abatement actions taken, an  assessment of the extent of contamination,
and a plan describing how the release will be cleaned up (280.62(b)).
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                  Underground Storage Tanks - 11
Based on this initial site characterization, the implementing agency will decide whether further
action is warranted. Some leaks and spills will require additional, long-term attention to correct
the problem.  In these cases, the implementing agency may request a corrective action plan from
the owner and operator that describes how they will respond to and clean up any contaminated
soils and groundwater (280.66). The implementing agency then evaluates the plan to determine
if it will adequately protect human health and the environment, taking into account such factors
as the type of substance released, hydrogeology at the site, and potential impacts on drinking
water.  Once the corrective action plan is approved, the owner or operator must implement the
plan and report the results of the cleanup to the implementing agency.  The implementing agency
is then required to provide notice to the public about the corrective action plan (280.67).

UST owners and operators must also respond immediately to all spills and overfills by
containing and cleaning up the released product.  If more than 25 gallons of petroleum are
released, or if the petroleum release causes an oily  sheen on nearby surface water, the owner or
operator must immediately notify the implementing agency and begin corrective action in
accordance with Part 280, Subpart F.  Likewise, if a spill or overfill of a hazardous substance
results in the release of a CERCLA reportable quantity, the owner or operator must report the
release and commence corrective action.  Any release below these quantities that cannot be
cleaned up within 24 hours must also be reported to the implementing agency (280.53).

EPA encourages states to incorporate risk-based decision-making when implementing their
corrective action programs. Risk-based decision-making (RBDM) is a process that uses risk and
exposure assessment methodology to help implementing agencies establish enforcement
priorities.  Because of the vast number of leaking USTs and the limited financial and human
resources available to implement corrective action  at these sites, risk-based decision-making is
an important element in expediting assessments and cleanups at contaminated sites.  It is also
used to tailor the response to the level of risk posed by a particular site. For example,
implementing agencies may use risk-based decision-making to categorize or classify sites, to aid
in establishing cleanup goals,  and to decide on levels of oversight of UST owners and operators.


In certain cases, leaking tanks and piping can be repaired and put back in operation. If an owner
or operator chooses to repair rather than replace a damaged pipe or tank, EPA requires the
repairs to follow standard industry codes for correct repair practices (e.g., codes established by
the American Petroleum Institute (API)). Within 30 days of completion of the repair, the owner
or operator must demonstrate that the tank or piping has been successfully repaired. This
demonstration can be accomplished using a variety of methods, including internal inspection for
tanks, and tightness testing for tanks and piping.  Note that damaged metal piping cannot be
repaired and must be replaced. Cathodically protected UST systems that are repaired must be
tested within six months to ensure that the cathodic protection is working properly.  The owner
or operator must keep records of each repair as long as the UST is in service (280.33).
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

12 - Underground Storage Tanks

Another valid compliance option is the temporary or permanent closure of USTs (280.70). If
the owner or operator plans to bring a tank system back into service at a later date, the tank may
be closed temporarily provided its corrosion protection system is maintained; if any product
remains in the tank, its leak detection system must also be maintained. The tank also continues
to be subject to the release response and corrective action requirements discussed previously.  If
the owner or operator temporarily closes the UST for longer than three months, they must also
leave the vent lines open and functioning, and cap and secure all other lines attached to the tank.
Temporary closure as a deadline compliance option was only available through December 22,
1999, unless the implementing agency granted an extension.

More stringent regulations apply if an UST system is temporarily closed for longer than 12
months (280.70). Tanks cannot be temporarily closed for this long unless they meet the
requirements for new or upgraded tanks, except for the spill and overfill requirements.
Similarly,  a tank that was temporarily closed prior to the December 22, 1998  deadline, and
remained closed after December 22, 1998, must be upgraded or replaced before it can be legally
operated.  If the tank does not meet these requirements, or if the owner and operator decide to
discontinue using the tank altogether, the tank must be permanently closed, unless an extension
is granted  by the implementing agency.

Permanent closure involves a number of steps designed to ensure that the tank will not pose any
threat to human health or the environment after it is closed.  These steps include the following:
notifying the implementing agency of the intent to close so that it can oversee the closure
process; assessing the tank and surrounding area to determine if any releases have occurred;
initiating corrective action to clean up any such releases; removing all liquids and accumulated
sludges from the tank; and either removing the tank from the ground or filling it with an inert
material such as concrete or sand (280.71-280.72).

In some cases, an owner or operator may decide to use a formerly regulated UST system to store
a nonregulated substance.  This use is considered a change-in-service.  Before making this
change, the owner or operator must notify the implementing agency, empty and clean the tank,
conduct a  site assessment to determine if a release has occurred, and initiate corrective action if
appropriate (280.71-280.72). For both tank closures and changes-in-service, the owner or
operator must maintain results of the site assessment for at least three years or mail the results to
the implementing agency (280.74).

Environmental cleanups can be both costly and time consuming.  In 1986, Congress directed
EPA to develop regulations requiring petroleum UST owners and operators to demonstrate that
they have the financial resources available to pay for the cleanup of any releases from their USTs
and to compensate third parties for bodily injury and property damage caused by their leaking
USTs.  In essence, the financial responsibility regulations require UST owners and operators to
certify that they have sufficient financial resources to pay for corrective action costs and lawsuits
from injured third parties. Part 280, Subpart H, lays out the minimum financial coverage
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                  Underground Storage Tanks - 13
required and provides a number of different mechanisms by which an UST owner or operator
can demonstrate compliance with these requirements.


Currently, the financial responsibility regulations apply only to owners and operators of
regulated petroleum USTs.  Either the owner or the operator of the UST (if they are different
individuals or firms) must demonstrate compliance with the financial responsibility
requirements. It is the responsibility of the owner and operator to decide who will meet the
requirements; both parties can be held liable for costs incurred as a result of a release from the
UST (280.90(e)).

Federal and state governments and their agencies that own USTs are not required to demonstrate
financial responsibility, since EPA considers them "permanent  and stable institutions that have
the requisite financial strength to cover the costs of taking corrective action and compensating
third parties" (52 FR 12796; April 17, 1987). In contrast, local governments and Indian tribes
must comply with the financial responsibility requirements.  However, tribally owned USTs that
were in full compliance and located on Indian lands were not required to demonstrate financial
responsibility until December 22, 1998.


There are two categories of financial responsibility coverage: "per occurrence" and "annual
aggregate" (280.93). Per occurrence means the amount of money that must be available to pay
the costs from one leak.  Annual aggregate is the total amount of financial responsibility
coverage required to cover all leaks that occur in one year. For example, an owner or operator
may be required to have per occurrence coverage of $1 million and annual aggregate coverage of
$2 million. An  UST owner or operator with this amount of coverage will have sufficient funds
available to spend up to $1 million twice a year to respond to any leaks. Alternatively, the owner
or operator would be able to spend $100,000 per leak 20 times in the year, or any other
combination within the prescribed annual aggregate limits.

The minimum amount of coverage required depends on the type of business operated (i.e.,
petroleum marketers v. nonmarketers), the average amount of petroleum handled at the  facility
per month, and the number of tanks at the  facility. A petroleum marketer is a facility at which
petroleum is produced, refined, or sold (e.g., service stations and truck stops). All petroleum
marketers  must have per occurrence coverage of $1 million. Nonmarketing facilities (e.g., car
dealerships and farms) must have per occurrence coverage of either $500,000 or $1 million,
depending on the amount of petroleum handled by the facility per month, based on annual
throughput (280.93)(a)). The amount of petroleum handled per month is calculated by counting
the total amount of product removed or dispensed  from USTs at a facility over the course of the
previous calendar year and dividing by 12. For example, a facility with an annual throughput of
110,000 gallons handles 9,167 gallons per month.  Nonmarketing facilities that handle 10,000
gallons or less per month must have per occurrence coverage of $500,000. Nonmarketing
facilities that handle more than 10,000 gallons per month must  have per occurrence coverage of
$1 million.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

14 - Underground Storage Tanks
The required amount of annual aggregate coverage depends on the number of tanks that are
covered by a single financial assurance mechanism or combination of mechanisms
(280.93)(b)).  Mechanisms that cover more than 100 tanks must provide annual aggregate
coverage of at least $2 million, while mechanisms that cover 100 tanks or less must provide at
least $1 million in annual aggregate coverage.  For example, if an insurance policy covers more
than 100 tanks, the owner or operator must have annual aggregate coverage of at least $2 million
for this group of tanks.  If the policy covers 100 or fewer tanks, the owner or operator must have
annual aggregate coverage of at least $1 million.


There are a variety of methods petroleum UST owners and operators can use to demonstrate
compliance with the financial responsibility requirements.  These methods can be used alone or
in combination, as long as the total amount of coverage equals or exceeds the minimum amount
required (280.94).

Financial Test of Self-Insurance

Many large corporations, based on their financial strength, may be able to demonstrate that they
have the assets or funds available to pay for costs incurred by releases from their USTs. These
firms may satisfy the financial responsibility requirements by passing the financial test of self-
insurance. The test's conditions include a demonstration that the firm has a tangible net worth 10
times the required annual aggregate coverage.  For example, if a petroleum marketer with 450
tanks must have annual aggregate coverage of $2 million, then the marketer must have a tangible
net worth of at least $20 million in order to qualify for the financial test (280.95).

Corporate Guarantee

The corporate guarantee allows a firm that is related to or has a substantial business relationship
with the owner or operator of the UST to "guarantee" coverage for any costs incurred by releases
from the UST for which the owner or operator is unable to pay (280.96). For example, a
company that has a controlling interest in the owner or operator (i.e., a parent firm) can
guarantee coverage for the daughter company. In order to qualify as a guarantor, the  firm must
demonstrate that it meets the financial test criteria in 280.95. An owner or operator that uses
the corporate guarantee to meet the financial responsibility requirements must supplement it with
a standby trust fund  (see Standby Trust Fund section).

Insurance Coverage

An owner or operator may demonstrate financial assurance by obtaining coverage through a
private insurer, a process similar to obtaining car or health insurance, or by joining a risk
retention group (RRG).  An RRG is an insurance company formed by businesses or individuals
with similar risks to provide insurance coverage for those risks.  To join an RRG, an owner or
operator may be asked to make a one-time payment, called a capital contribution, and pay annual
premiums thereafter (280.97).
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                  Underground Storage Tanks - 15
Surety Bond

A surety bond is a guarantee from a surety company that it will meet the obligations of the owner
or operator in the event of failure to perform the necessary cleanup activities or failure to pay
someone else to perform them. Unlike an insurance policy, however, the use of a surety bond
does not transfer the ultimate obligation to pay for the cleanup from the owner or operator to the
surety company.  Instead, the owners or operators using a  surety bond must repay any amounts
advanced under the surety.  Any owner or operator that uses a surely bond to meet the financial
responsibility requirements must also establish a supplemental standby trust fund to ensure that
the funds will be accessible and available (280.98).

Letter of Credit

A letter of credit is a contract between three parties: the issuer (usually a bank), the owner or
operator, and the implementing agency. By issuing a letter of credit, the issuer promises to pay a
certain amount, as directed by the implementing agency, in the event that the owner or operator
fails to meet an obligation to pay for a cleanup or compensate third parties for damages. Owners
and operators must establish a standby trust fund in conjunction with a letter of credit (280.99).

State-Required Mechanism

Some states that have not received approval for the federal UST program (see Section 3.2) have
their own UST regulatory programs, including financial assurance requirements. Recognizing
the potential for UST owners and operators in these states to be subject to both federal and state
financial responsibility regulations, EPA included a provision in 280.100 that allows UST
owners and operators to use a state mechanism in lieu of one of the Part 280, Subpart H,
mechanisms.  In order to be eligible for use on the  federal  level, these state-required mechanisms
must provide a level of financial assurance equal to or greater than that provided by one of the
federal mechanisms, and the Regional Administrator must approve their use.

State Financial Assurance Fund

Many states have established financial assurance funds that can be used by owners  and operators
of petroleum USTs located in their state (280.101). In fact, state financial assurance funds are
the primary methods used by owners and operators to comply with the financial  responsibility
provisions. Owners and operators can access these funds to help pay for the cleanup costs
resulting from a release. Owners or operators may be required to pay an annual  fee per tank in
order to qualify for coverage by the state fund. Also, some state funds pay only  for a portion of
cleanup costs, require the payment of a deductible  amount, have eligibility requirements such as
proof of compliance with leak detection and recordkeeping regulations, and do not  cover third-
party liability costs.

Trust Fund

Under a trust fund, monies for corrective action and third-party liability costs are held and
administered by an impartial third party.  In order to demonstrate compliance with the financial
responsibility requirements using only this mechanism, the owner or operator must place the
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

16 - Underground Storage Tanks
entire annual aggregate amount required into the fund. By placing the money in an independent
fund, it will be kept separate from the owner or operator's other assets and will always be
available in the event that a release occurs and a claim is made (280.102).


The UST regulations contain specific provisions describing how the financial responsibility
mechanisms are implemented.  For example, the regulations address the use of standby trust
funds in conjunction with the other mechanisms, the availability of alternative mechanisms to
local governments, and the combination of mechanisms when demonstrating financial

Standby Trust Fund

A standby trust fund cannot be used as a financial responsibility mechanism; rather, it is a
depository  instrument that an owner or operator must put in place when using a letter of credit, a
surety bond, or a corporate guarantee (280.103). In the event that an owner or operator cannot
pay for corrective action or liability claims, the implementing agency will direct that the UST
financial responsibility money that has been set aside in a letter of credit, surety bond, or
corporate guarantee be deposited into a standby trust fund. These funds are then held and
administered by an impartial third party, such as a bank or other financial institution, ensuring
that funds provided by the issuer of the letter of credit, surety bond, or corporate guarantee will
be immediately available for use in an UST cleanup or third-party  compensation.  This
framework is necessary because funds paid directly to EPA are deposited into the U.S. Treasury
and require congressional action to make them available for corrective action and liability costs.
For example, if a release occurs at a facility where the owner or operator has a letter of credit,
but does not have the necessary funding to pay for cleanup, the issuer of the letter of credit will
transfer funds into the standby trust fund rather than directly to the agency overseeing the
cleanup.  Consequently, monies necessary for the UST cleanup will be dispersed directly from
the standby trust fund by  an impartial third party, such as the bank administering the fund.

Local Governments

In the past, local government entities that own or operate USTs,  such as municipalities,
townships,  and school districts, have had difficulty demonstrating compliance with the Part 280,
SubpartH,  financial responsibility requirements, since many  of the financial assurance
mechanisms were developed to meet the needs of the private  sector. In response, EPA
promulgated four additional options that local governments can use to demonstrate financial
responsibility (58 FR 9026; February 18, 1993). They include a bond rating test (280.104), a
financial test (280.105), a guarantee (280.106), and a dedicated fund  (280.107). These
mechanisms are similar in intent to the corporate guarantee (280.96) and the financial test of
self-insurance (280.95), but they are tailored to meet the special needs of local governments
rather than  private corporations.  In essence, they allow financially capable entities the
opportunity to self-insure, in lieu of obtaining insurance coverage from a private carrier.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                    but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                  Underground Storage Tanks - 17
Combinations of Mechanisms

Owners or operators can combine mechanisms to demonstrate UST financial responsibility. It is
important to note, however, that if an owner or operator uses different mechanisms to
demonstrate financial responsibility for different groups of tanks, then the annual aggregate
coverage requirement for each group must be met.  For example, an owner of 300 tanks that uses
an insurance policy for 140 tanks located in Massachusetts and a state fund for 160 tanks in
Florida must have $2 million annual aggregate coverage for each of the two mechanisms, for a
sum of $4 million. Conversely, if the same owner or operator were to use a single mechanism to
cover all 300 tanks, only a $2 million in annual aggregate coverage would be necessary.

Many UST owners and operators must secure loans from financial and other institutions to
comply with environmental regulations, such as UST upgrading and maintenance requirements.
These owners and operators often use the property on which the UST is located as collateral in
order to secure the loan. Financial institutions historically have been reluctant to extend loans to
UST owners and operators for fear of later incurring UST cleanup liability. For example, if a
bank held property as collateral for a service station that later became bankrupt, the lender would
take possession of the property, becoming the "owner" of the property and the tanks on it.
Financial institutions feared that they would then be subject to the Part 280 regulations,
specifically corrective action and third-party liability.  Until recently, this potential for lending
institutions to be held liable for releases from USTs, known as "lender liability," greatly
hampered the ability of UST owners and operators to secure the capital necessary to make tank
improvements, upgrade tanks, or comply with other requirements. The Part 280, Subpart I,
lender liability regulations provide lenders with an exemption from all federal UST regulatory
requirements provided that the lender, or secured creditor, does not participate in the
management of the UST system.  This means that the lender is exempt from corrective action
requirements and liability for cleanup costs of contaminated property, both prior to and after
foreclosure, as long as the lender complies with the following regulatory provisions: the lender
does not engage in petroleum production, refining, or marketing; the lender does not manage or
operate the UST; and the lender does not store petroleum in the UST after foreclosure.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

18 - Underground Storage Tanks
                                3.   OTHER ISSUES
Although the UST regulations comprise the foundation of the UST program, other related topics
are important.  The Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund, UST State
Programs, and additional UST Initiatives are summarized below.

Congress created the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund in 1986 to provide
state agencies with additional funds to oversee UST cleanups and to provide money to clean up
abandoned leaking USTs. The LUST Trust Fund may be used if the  financial resources of an
owner or operator are not sufficient to pay for corrective action costs, if the owner or operator is
unwilling or incapable of carrying out corrective action properly, or if the owner or operator
cannot be identified.  An excise tax on motor fuels finances the LUST fund and most of the
collected money is dispersed to states for use in administrative, oversight, and cleanup work.
Congress restored this taxing authority effective September 30, 1997, until April 1, 2005, under
the Tax Payers Relief Act of 1997.

States play an important role in the administration of the UST program.  Because of the size and
diversity of the UST regulated community, states and local governments are in the best position
to oversee USTs. Under RCRA Subtitle I, Congress granted EPA the authority to approve state
UST programs to operate in lieu of the federal UST program if they are at least as stringent as
the federal program and provide adequate enforcement.  The regulations in 40 CFR Part 281
establish the application and approval processes.

A state program must meet three requirements to receive approval by EPA.  First, the state
program must set standards that are no less stringent than the federal standards for eight
performance criteria including the technical standards for UST system design, release
detection,  and upgrading, as well as release reporting and corrective action.  Second, the
program must contain adequate enforcement provisions to demonstrate that the state has
adequate legal authority to implement and enforce the regulations, including the authority
to inspect  records and sites, require monitoring and testing, and assess penalties.  In
addition, the program must contain opportunities for public participation in the
enforcement process. Finally, the state program must regulate at least the same universe of
USTs as is covered by the federal program, although states may  implement programs that
are broader in scope than the federal program. For example, a state may choose to regulate
all heating oil tanks, even though the federal UST program excludes tanks used for storing
heating oil for consumptive use on the premises where stored. In such cases, EPA does not
review or approve the portion of the program that is broader in scope than the federal
program.  EPA can, however, approve requirements that are more stringent than the federal
program.  For example, a state may be authorized by EPA to implement release detection
requirements that are more  stringent than those contained in Part 280.

     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                 Underground Storage Tanks - 19
Because state programs operate in lieu of the federal program, owners and operators in states
with an approved UST program do not have to deal with two sets of statutes and regulations that
may be conflicting. Once their programs are approved, states have the lead role in UST program
enforcement.  On the other hand, states without formal
EPA approval may have agreements with the Agency that allow the state a lead role in
implementing certain aspects of the UST program.

Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have approved UST programs.
For states without approved programs, EPA works in conjunction with state officials to enforce
the federal UST regulations.  These states may have Memoranda of Agreement with their EPA
Regional office allowing the state to implement specific parts of the UST regulations on behalf
of EPA.  The following table lists the states and U.S. territories that have received final approval
for their UST programs.

                                        Table 2
States With Final Approval for UST
Puerto Rico
States Without Final Approval for
UST Program

NJ, NY, Virgin Islands

American Samoa, AZ, CA, Guam,
Northern Mariana Islands

As the 1998 deadline has passed, the Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) is
focusing its efforts on improving regulatory compliance and accelerating cleanup progress.
Pursuant to these goals, OUST introduced four priority initiatives that will serve as a
framework for future UST program activities:

       USTfields for Abandoned Tanks
      Improving Compliance
      Faster Cleanups
      Evaluating UST System Performance.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

20 - Underground Storage Tanks

The USTFields for abandoned tanks initiative was launched in November 2000 to encourage the
reuse of abandoned properties contaminated with petroleum from USTs.  USTfields are
abandoned or underutilized industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is
complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination from petroleum from federally-
regulated USTs. Sites contaminated by a substance other than petroleum, and  sites contaminated
by petroleum as a result of releases from  USTs not covered under the federal program, are not
USTfields. For example, because tanks storing heating oil for consumptive use are not included
in the definition of underground storage tank in 280.12, properties contaminated by leaking
underground heating oil tanks are not USTfields.

The four main goals of the program are to:

       Clean up unused properties;
       Demonstrate what can be accomplished in the cleanup of brownfields sites
       impacted by underground storage tanks when federal, state, tribal, intertribal
       consortium, local, and private entities collaborate and combine their knowledge and
       Take advantage of the expertise and infrastructure already being employed in
       similar EPA cleanup projects to maximize the utilization of available resources; and
       Observe and learn from the challenges and accomplishments of pilot projects, with
       a view to disseminating the "lessons learned" to other states, tribes, intertribal
       consortia, territories, and local entities.

To  address these goals, as well as the petroleum releases that plague many of EPA's
cleanup initiatives, EPA implemented the USTfields Pilot project.  Selected pilots are large
areas identified by state and local or EPA and tribal partnerships that contain two or more
USTfields properties in need of an assessment or cleanup activities. EPA awards each
pilot up to $100,000 from the LUST Trust Fund for use in assessing the site for the
existence of chemicals of concern (e.g., methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE)), cleaning up
petroleum contamination, monitoring soil and groundwater to evaluate whether chemicals
of concern have been removed, and maintaining public participation during the assessment
and/or cleanup activities of community sites.  Award money cannot be used for
redevelopment activities, general education or job training activities, lobbying  efforts,
matching any other federal funds without specific statutory authority, or paying any
outstanding fines or penalties. As of July 2002, EPA had awarded 50 USTfields  pilots.

New USTfields pilots will not be awarded in fiscal year 2003, but communities may still
receive funds to assess and clean up petroleum-contaminated properties.  In January of
2002, President Bush expanded the Brownfields program by signing into law the Small
Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act ("Brownfields Law") (P.L.
107-118).  Under this new authority, low-risk petroleum sites are now eligible  for
assessment and cleanup grant funding under the Brownfields program.  The grants are
available to a number of entities, including states and local governments. For more
information on the Brownfields program, see the Call Center training module entitled,
Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative and Environmental Justice.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

                                                                  Underground Storage Tanks - 21

The 1998 standards require that all existing USTs either close or come into compliance
with the standards for new tanks. By the end of 2002, 81 percent of USTs nationwide were
in compliance with release prevention requirements (spill, overfill, and corrosion
protection), and only 74 percent of the UST universe was in compliance with release
detection requirements. Through the Improving Compliance Initiative, EPA hopes to
prevent future releases from USTs by bringing more tanks into compliance, and ensuring
that all tanks remain in compliance.  The five main components of this initiative are as

       Improving the quality of compliance data by encouraging EPA Regions and states
       to focus on operational compliance data, ensuring that EPA, states, and the public
       have an accurate and consistent measure of compliance;
      Setting national and regional targets for bringing tanks into operational compliance
       with the spill, overfill, and corrosion protection requirements and leak detection
       requirements, and obtaining commitments for state-specific targets through EPA
       and state UST grants;
      Obtaining commitments from states to increase their inspection and enforcement
       presence if state-specific targets are not met, with possible  supplemental state
       compliance assurance and enforcement efforts from EPA in those states that fall
       significantly below compliance targets;
      Exploring the use  of the federal audit policy and other approaches to promote
       multi-site compliance agreements between EPA and multi-site owners to bring their
       tanks into operational compliance; and
       Providing tools (such as technical assistance, improved guidance, and training) that
       will provide owners, operators, and inspectors with accurate information about the
       operation and maintenance of UST systems and foster improved operational


Approximately 143,000 petroleum releases nationwide have yet to be addressed.
Furthermore,  cleanup of petroleum releases has become increasingly important in light of
the new, more pervasive threat posed by MTBE releases.  The Faster Cleanups initiative
makes the cleanup of existing petroleum contamination caused by releases from federally-
regulated USTs a higher national priority and also strives to increase the pace at which
cleanups are initiated and completed. The four main components of this initiative are as

       Setting national and regional targets through 2005 for cleaning up releases,
       providing states with technical support and incentives to help states meet these
       targets, and obtaining commitments through EPA-state cooperative agreements for
       state-specific targets;
      Exploring the use  of the federal audit policy and other approaches to promote
       multi-site cleanup agreements between EPA and multi-site owners to  clean up
       releases from their sites;
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.

22 - Underground Storage Tanks
      Conducting 10 cleanup pilots (one per Region) to test the benefits of incentive
       based cleanups (e.g., pay-for-performance cleanup contracts or risk-based cleanups)
       at UST sites, especially those owned by small businesses and those where MTBE is
       affecting drinking water; and
      Providing tools, such as technical assistance, improved guidance, and training,
       which will help states achieve faster, less expensive, and more effective cleanups
       by assisting with risk management practices and program performance evaluations,
       and by providing guidance on how to improve the cleanup of releases, including
       MTBE releases.


Evaluating the environmental performance of UST systems is a priority  of the UST
program. Despite the increased stringency of the new tank standards and leak detection
requirements, there continue to be releases from UST systems, even from UST systems in
full compliance with current requirements. The three main components of this initiative

      Evaluating the performance of UST systems to determine what, if any,
       improvements are necessary;
      Determining whether the regulations are working and what, if any, changes should
       be made; and
      Determining whether there are regulatory or statutory gaps and, if so, whether they
       should be closed.

OUST has already begun the evaluation process and has partnered with industry and
academia to analyze the components and processes of UST systems.  Some activities
performed by these partnerships include:

       Survey of UST management and operation practices
      Field verification of UST system leak detection performance
      Investigation of MTBE occurrence associated with operating UST systems
      Field investigation of leak prevention and detection.
     The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                   but is an introduction to the topic used for Call Center training purposes.