The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strictly instructs gas stations and other UST facilities to report a UST release with their local agency within 24 hours.
How can a facility owner tell if a release has occurred at the site?
There are various warning signals that can help facility owners identify a leak in their UST systems and ultimately help them tell if a release has occurred at the site. These include:
- Erratic behavior of the dispensing pump
- Unaccounteddeviations in the readings of tank gauging systems
- Failed leak test
- Presence of unexplained petroleum vapors or residues at the site
- Contaminated domestic water supply in the neighborhood
Even if a release isn’t detected and the owner only suspects so to be the case, it should still be reported with the local agency.
However, few exceptions exist!
When it’s NOT necessary to report a UST release
It’s not necessary to report a UST release in cases when:
- The spill is less than 25 gallons (or another amount as specified by the local implementing agency) and can be cleaned up within 24 hours; or
- The released quantity of the hazardous substance is less than the reportable quantity specified under CERCLA.
How to find the contact details of a local implementing agency, you ask?
The EPA provides complete contact details of all local implementing agencies in the U.S. on the webpage Underground Storage Tank (UST) Contacts.
Please note that the EPA categorizes implementing agencies according to states, regions and tribes. If you’re located in an Indian Country, select the “Regions” tab on the webpage to access the contact details of your respective local agency.
Do all the releases need to be reported within 24 hours?
No, the reporting time frame may vary with different agencies; however, the faster you act the better.
Besides the obvious, is there any other benefitfor gas station owners of reporting the UST release to the implementing agency?
Not many gas station owners know this but involving the EPA in the process can help reduce cleanup costs as the burden is shared by the agency. Considering a cleanup typically costs between $100,000 and $1 million, reporting the release can definitely save you some serious money.
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