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Tag Archive for USTs

June 20th, 2018

LUST Fund Reauthorized in FY2019 Budget

State of Illinois has continued funding the UST Trust Fund with its FY19 budget that taxes effect July 1, 2018. Illinois maintains this UST Fund to help investigate and clean up eligible leaking tanks through the Illinois EPA’s LUST program.

Tank owners are assessed a deductible for each Incident, depending on the date of the tank registration and date of the LUST Incident.  Most site investigation and cleanup costs above that amount should be eligible for reimbursement from the UST Fund if activities are conducted in accordance with plans and budgets approved by Illinois EPA.

New owners of properties with existing LUST Incidents may also be eligible to access the UST Fund, even if they were not the owner or operator of the leaking tanks.

If you have questions about how the UST Fund works or if your tank/site is eligible to access the UST Fund, contact Nancy Valenta at nvalenta{at}gabenv.com or 773-486-2123.

July 21st, 2016

Illinois UST cleanup fund authorized in state budget

Cleanup funds are again available to help tank owners in Illinois investigate and cleanup contamination caused by leaking USTs (underground storage tanks)

The Illinois budget impasse had frozen the UST Fund since July 1, 2015.  Tank owners andIMG_0260 operators pay into this Fund with every gallon of petroleum product they purchase.  The Fund is then available to help investigate and cleanup any leaks or spills from these underground storage tanks.

Tank owners had continued to pay into this Fund while Illinois lawmakers failed to agree on a state budget, but the Illinois Comptroller lacked authority to issue checks from the Fund without a state budget.

The Illinois stopgap budget passed on June 30th re-authorizes payments from this cleanup fund to be issued, clearing the way for the Comptroller to send over $20 million to tank owners for currently approved reimbursement claims.  Cleanups in process should also have access to this fund, since the budget authorizes up to $60 million to be issued from the UST Fund.

If you have any questions about the UST Fund or the cleanup process, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-617-1046 or nvalenta{at}gabenv.com.

September 16th, 2015

EPA issues new UST regulations for the first time in more than 25 years

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its underground storage tank (UST) regulations for the first time since 1988.epa_logo2

Changes include:

  • Adding secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping
  • Adding operator training requirements
  • Adding periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems
  • Adding requirements to ensure UST system compatibility before storing certain biofuel blends
  • Removing past deferrals for emergency generator tanks, airport hydrant systems, and field-constructed tanks
  • Updating codes of practice
  • Making editorial and technical corrections

These changes will be effective October 13, 2015.

EPA estimates that these updated regulations will result in fewer releases of petroleum into the surrounding soil and groundwater, leading to savings for UST owners for avoiding environmental remediation, vapor investigation, and product loss.  Overall, after taking the costs for compliance into account, EPA estimates the net cost savings to UST owners across the U.S. to be more than $160 million annually.

Since the State of Illinois is not part of the EPA’s SPA (State Program Approval), UST owners in Illinois must meet the federal requirements in addition to the Illinois requirements.

In Illinois, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) regulates USTs.  According to the Division of Petroleum & Chemical Safety, Illinois has already implemented many of these requirements with the 2010 rewrite of tank regulations and 2012 Part 176 Subpart F Operator Training addition.

Some of the bigger changes in Illinois will be:

  • 30-day walk through inspections instead of the current quarterly inspections
  • 3-year containment testing for sumps and spill buckets
  • 3-year inspection of overfill equipment
  • Elimination of ball float valves in vent lines as flow restriction devices for new tanks

Most of these changes above have a 3 year implementation requirement, so Illinois will update its rules by 10/13/18 to include these revisions.  The ball float valve elimination is effective 10/13/15, but only for new tanks.  Existing devices may remain as long as they are working.

“For the most part, there will be little if any noticeable adjustment needed to be made by retailers in the short term,” said Fred M. Schneller, Division Manager of Petroleum & Chemical Safety.  OSFM continues to review the new regulations and will issue guidance to tank owners/operators in the coming months.

For more information on the EPA’s changes, visit the EPA’s “2015 Revised Underground Storage Tank Regulations” website.

If you have questions about the implementation of these regulations in Illinois, phone/email contact information for the Office of the State Fire Marshal can be found on their website.

July 29th, 2015

OSFM fines owner record $610,000 for UST violations

Failure to follow underground storage tank (UST) regulations can be osfmcostly, as a gas station owner in Silvis, IL recently discovered.

Baldev Singh was fined $610,000 for multiple violations by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM). This judgment is the largest ever awarded to the OSFM against an individual owner of a UST facility.

The Rock Island County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order on July 14, 2015 after Mr. Singh failed to appear to defend himself against the lawsuit filed by OSFM.

The ‘Jack and Jill’ gas station ceased operations sometime in late 2011.  OSFM first issued a notice of violation in 2012 for regulatory deficiencies regarding the two USTs.  Then in 2013, OSFM ordered the remaining gasoline from its tanks to be emptied and the USTs to be upgraded or removed.  When Mr. Singh did not comply with either notice of violation, OSFM filed a lawsuit against him in May 2014.

“Gasoline tanks left unattended with remaining fuel pose a significant risk to the public,” said Deputy Director Les Albert. “The Office of the State Fire Marshal remains vigilant in its mission to ensure the protection of lives and property.”

In a separate case, OSFM was also recently awarded a $365,000 judgment against another UST owner who did not properly remove their out-of-service USTs in Oakwood, IL.

The State of Illinois has been cracking down on UST violations.  If your facility receives a notice of violation from OSFM, do not ignore it.  Failure to address the violations can result in significant fines and penalties.  While the cases above are among the higher fines assessed, OSFM is more routinely penalizing UST owners $50,000 – $100,000, plus the cost to correct the violations.

If you need assistance with your UST violations, contact Nancy Valenta at nvalenta[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123.

http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=55&RecNum=13189

http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=55&RecNum=13127

August 22nd, 2014

History of Fire Insurance Maps

Photo courtesy of Historical Information Gatherers

Photo courtesy of Historical Information Gatherers

For environmental consultants, fire insurance maps (FIMs) can be a goldmine of historical information that is relevant to today’s environmental conditions on a particular property.  These FIMs were created for fire insurance companies to evaluate the degree of hazard for a particular building or area.  FIMs were first created in London in the late 1700s, and the practice quickly spread to the U.S.  The most well-known FIM company, the D. A. Sanborn National Insurance Diagram Bureau (later renamed to Sanborn Map Company) was founded in 1867 with an atlas of  fire insurance maps of the Boston area.  That book can be found today in the Library of Congress.

FIMs documented information that can still be important when conducting historical research during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.  They are recognized by ASTM as one of the standard historical sources that may be used to determine if a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) exists at the subject site.

Key environmental information that can be found on a FIM includes: storage tanks (including gasoline, heating oil, etc.); historical use of the property or adjoining properties; location of petroleum products; industrial processes; heating sources; chemical storage; etc.  Other useful information that may be available: if a basement is present, when a building was constructed, and general layouts.

Historical Information Gatherers (HIG) has recently released an interesting white paper about the history of fire insurance maps.  The white paper includes information about land use, structures and possible environmental issues that one can discover using FIMs, as well as how FIMs were created and updated.  It is available for a free download on HIG’s website.  HIG is in the process of digitizing more than 500,000 color FIMs available through the Library of Congress.

More information about the history of the Sanborn Map Company is available on the Library of Congress website.