New Pennsylvania Storage Tank Regulations
by Scott A. Gould
Pennsylvania recently published revised storage tank regulations that immediately effect tank owners and operators. The new regulations bring certain tanks that were previously unregulated into the tank program, set deadlines for tank registrations, contain revised standards for new underground storage tank systems and replacement piping, and revise certain recordkeeping requirements.
Underground storage tanks (“USTs”) and aboveground storage tanks (“ASTs") are regulated under the Pennsylvania Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act (“STSPA”) and the regulations and various technical guidance developed under the STSPA. The STSPA identifies certain storage tanks for regulation based on their size and use. Both ASTs and USTs are only regulated if they store a “regulated substance,” which is defined in the STSPA to include, among other things, petroleum and hazardous substances.
Newly Regulated Tanks
The revisions to the tank regulations add the following substances to the definition of “regulated substance”:
- Ethanol and petroleum mixed with ethanol
- Nonpetroleum oils including biodiesel, synthetic fuels and oils such as silicon oils, and tung oils and wood-derivatives such as resin/rosin oils
- Inedible seed oils from plants which are liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure
Accordingly, ASTs and USTs used to store those substances will now be regulated under the STSPA and must be registered and eventually meet the performance standards applicable to regulated tanks, including leak detection, cathodic protection, and overfill prevention requirements.
In addition, ASTs with capacities of greater than 30,000 gallons used to store heating oil for use on the premises where they are located (i.e., tanks storing heating oil for “consumptive use”) are now regulated under the STSPA. Previously all tanks used to store heating oil for consumptive use were excluded from regulation. (Please note that USTs and smaller ASTs used to store heating oil for consumptive use are still excluded from STSPA regulation.)
The revised regulations provide for a phase-in period for existing tanks that are newly regulated as a result of the change in the definition of “regulated substance” or the change to include large heating oil ASTs (>30,000 gal.). Those tanks must be registered with the PADEP on or before January 9, 2008. Newly regulated USTs must meet the technical and operating requirements applicable to regulated tanks by November 10, 2010. Existing ASTs that are newly regulated and have a capacity of 21,000 gallons or less have to meet leak detection requirements by November 10, 2008 and containment and inspection requirements by November 10, 2010. Larger ASTs will be immediately subject to most regulatory requirements, except the monitoring and inspection requirements (by November 10, 2010). Please note that any new tank systems will have to meet all regulatory requirements immediately upon installation.
The revised regulations significantly change the performance standards that all new USTs must meet. As of November 10, 2007, all new UST systems (tanks and piping) must be doublewalled, full secondary containment systems. All newly installed containment buckets, tank riser sumps, dispenser pans, and containment sumps must be constructed liquid-tight and tested prior to use of the system. Further, when more than 50% of the piping in a UST system is replaced, all piping in the system must be upgraded to double-walled. The regulations also require 30-day advance notice to PADEP prior to installing any regulated UST.
The regulations change the inspection frequency for UST systems from once every 5 or 10 years to once every 3 years. For existing tank systems that are already subject to routine inspections, the regulations set forth a schedule to determine when the next inspection is due.
Tank Registration and Temporary Closure
The revised regulations also establish a deadline for registering new tanks and for filing amended registrations for transfer or closure of tanks. The registration documents must be filed within thirty days of installation or taking ownership of a regulated tank, and an amended registration must be filed within thirty days of removal/relocation, closure (temporary and permanent), a change in use to non-regulated, a change in substance stored, a change in operator, and a change in contact information. Failure to register a tank or to timely pay the registration fee could result in permit revocation and loss of Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund coverage. Under the new Regulations, the operating permit for the tank system is automatically revoked when a tank is registered as “temporarily closed,” and the tank must be emptied of all regulated substances. In addition, the regulations expressly prohibit operation of an unpermitted tank system and make it unlawful to deliver regulated substances to the tank.
The regulations contain changes to the recordkeeping requirements whereby certain records (installation, modification, closure, upgrades, corrosion analysis, etc.) must be retained for at least a year after closure, and certain records must be immediately available at any time for PADEP inspection. The regulations also contain changes to inspection requirements, certification requirements for tank installers, and temporary closure of tank systems. If you have any questions regarding the storage tank requirements please contact Scott Gould at (717) 237-5304 or .
The MWN Environmental Law and Toxic Tort Group assists clients in understanding environmental laws and regulations and, where necessary and appropriate, conducts litigation to protect their interests. The Group handles the spectrum of environmental law matters, including regulatory counseling, environmental issues associated with business and real estate transactions, and environmental and tort-based litigation before all federal, state, and local courts and agencies.
If you have any environmental law based issue, please contact a member of our Environmental and Toxic Tort Group (Scott Gould, Rick Friedman, Curt Stambaugh, or Kim Selemba) at 717.232.8000, or visit our website at www.mwn.com.
© 2007 McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC Environmental Law Bulletin is presented with the understanding that the publisher does not render specific legal, accounting, or other professional service to the reader. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the law, information contained in this publication may become outdated. Anyone using this material must always research original sources of authority and update this information to ensure accuracy and applicability to specific legal matters. In no event will the authors, the reviewers, or the publisher be liable for any damage, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, claimed to result from the use of this material.