Enforcement Advisory: #170: California Motor Vehicle Fuel Deliveries - The New Underground Storage Tank Standards

This page last reviewed March 3, 2009

Advisory

California Motor Vehicle Fuel Deliveries
The New Underground Storage Tank Standards

Number 170

December 30, 1998


HOW THE NEW UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK STANDARDS
WILL AFFECT MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL DISTRIBUTORS

Under regulations issued ten years ago by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), owners and operators of underground storage tank systems (UST) have until December 22, 1998 to upgrade, replace, or close USTs that do not meet EPA's technical standards for protection against spills, overfills, and corrosion. Generally speaking, only tanks installed prior to January 1, 1984 need to be upgraded or replaced.

The UST standards are promulgated by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and regulated under both state and federal law, although state and local agencies typically enforce the law. In California, newly upgraded tanks are reported by local oversight agencies to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Motor vehicle fuel distributors should be aware that as of January 1, 1999, it will be illegal for a fuel to be delivered to an UST that does not meet the new requirements. The requirements are the same for government owned tanks as well as for any privately-owned tanks. The law places an affirmative obligation on the person placing fuel in an UST to check the upgrade compliance certificate which is required to be displayed by the tank owner. Violations will be enforced under the Health and Safety Code (H&SC) Section 25299.01 and the Business and Professions Code Section 17200. Excerpts of the SWRCB (board) regulations in the H&SC of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) are quoted below in italic.

H&SC Section 25292

(d) On or before December 22, 1998, the underground storage tank shall be replaced or upgraded to prevent releases due to corrosion or spills or overfills for the underground storage tanks operating life.

H&SC Section 25292.3

(a) On and after January 1, 1999, no person shall deposit petroleum into a underground storage tank system unless the underground storage tank system meets the requirements of Section 25291 or subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 25292 and related regulations adopted pursuant to
Section 25299.3.

(b) Any person depositing petroleum into an underground storage tank system shall verify that the system meets the requirements of Section 25291 or subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 25292, and related regulations adopted pursuant to Section 25299.3, by taking one of the following actions:

(1) Viewing the upgrade compliance certificate for the petroleum underground storage tank system displayed pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 25284.

(2) Obtaining written verification from the local agency that the petroleum underground storage tank system is on a list maintained by a local agency pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 25284.

(3) Obtaining a correct copy of the upgrade compliance certificate from the owner or operator of the petroleum underground storage tank system.

H&SC Section 25293

(a)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (c), no person shall own or operate an underground storage tank unless a permit for its operation has been issued by the local agency to the owner or operator of the unified program facility on which the tank is located.

(e) A permit issued for a petroleum underground storage tank system that meets the requirements of Section 25291 or subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 25292 and related regulations adopted pursuant to Section 25299.3 shall include an upgrade compliance certificate, the color, size, and content of which shall be specified by the board, that documents that the petroleum underground storage tank system meets the requirements of Section 25291 of subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 25292 and related regulations. The owner shall place the upgrade compliance certificate in a conspicuous location that can be readily viewed by any person depositing petroleum into the underground storage tank system.

(f) On or before December 22, 1998, the board shall notify all persons that may deliver petroleum to an underground storage tank of where they can obtain a list of underground storage tank facilities that have been issued an upgrade compliance certificate. Local agencies shall maintain a list of underground storage tank facilities that have been issued an upgrade compliance certificate and shall provide this information to anyone requesting it.

The complete UST regulation as well as other information concerning UST can be found in the SWRCB's webpage on the internet at www.swrcb.ca.gov. If you do not have accesss to the internet, or you need more information, you can contact the SWRCB's UST program at 916-227-4313.

A motor vehicle fuel distributor can contact the local agency responsible for the UST program that covers the jurisdiction where the tank is located. In California, the local agencies may be either city or county offices - the same agency that issued the UST operating permit. A list of local agencies can also be obtained from the SWRCB's website.

Service stations and facilities with upgraded tanks will have bright blue and white SWRCB decals in the windows of the gas stations or in a conspicuous location at the site. The SWRCB is also supplying local government UST inspectors with plastic tags to identify individual upgraded USTs. The plastic tags will rarely be seen by the general public because they will be attached to UST fill pipes concealed under manhole covers.

If you have any questions about this advisory, please contact Mr. Mark Stover, Manager, Fuels Enforcement Section at (916) 322-2056. Written inquiries may be addressed to:

James R. Ryden, Chief
Enforcement Division
California Air Resources Board
P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95812

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