If you’re interested in purchasing a property with a Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Incident, or you currently own a property with an open LUST Incident, the steps for satisfying the Illinois EPA (IEPA) to officially close your site may be confusing.
The goal of the LUST program is to obtain a No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter from the IEPA, which signifies that this leaking tank is no longer a threat to health or the environment. If you’re purchasing or refinancing your property, most lenders will require this NFR letter to satisfy their environmental due diligence requirements.
IEPA lays out the five steps to follow to obtain this NFR Letter:
- Early Action: Within 45 days of a LUST Incident being declared, the owner must take action to prevent any additional leaking from the UST. This may involve pumping out the tank, removing the UST, or properly abandoning the UST. The owner must also characterize the initial extent of any contamination through soil sampling, either via excavation samples (if removing the UST) or soil borings (if UST will remain in place, either operating or abandoned).
- Stage 1 Site Investigation: If contamination above IEPA limits exists, IEPA then requires soil sampling around the UST, plus groundwater sampling if groundwater is encountered.
- Stage 2 Site Investigation: If contamination is discovered during the initial Stage 1 analysis, IEPA requires additional on-site soil and/or groundwater sampling to determine the extent of the contamination. Soil gas sampling for potential vapor intrusion may also be required. Stage 2 may involve several rounds of sampling, depending on the size of the property and spread of contamination.
- Stage 3 Site Investigation: If contamination exists at the site boundary, IEPA also requires off-site sampling to determine if the contamination has migrated onto nearby properties.
- Corrective Action: Depending on the extent of contamination discovered during the Site Investigation stages, IEPA may require various Corrective Action strategies, including:
- If vapor intrusion exists, installation of Building Control Technology (BCT)
- Site use restrictions
- Engineered barriers
- Groundwater use restrictions
- UST removal
- Contaminated soil removal