The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday, June 22, 2015 announced revised regulations strengthening the rules governing the operation and maintenance of underground storage tanks (USTs). The new regulations are the first update to federal UST rules since the 1980s, and are applicable to both retail marketers of petroleum products and manufacturing or industrial facilities that store petroleum products on-site in USTs (such as for use in production processes or for transportation).

The core purpose of the revisions is to reduce spills and leakage from USTs, primarily through the introduction of operator training and secondary containment requirements. The new operator training requirements will be implemented through state-developed training programs, and include a requirement that every covered facility designate at least one operator trained at the highest level. The secondary containment requirements will require installation of under-dispenser containment for all for new and replaced tanks and piping installed within 1,000 feet of certain sensitive areas, such as community water systems or surface waters, along with monitoring of such equipment. Additionally, the new rules require periodic walkthrough inspections and testing of UST-related equipment.

The new UST rules are scheduled to become effective 90 days after their publication in the Federal Register this summer. Owners and operators of facilities that contain USTs should review their current operation and maintenance programs and plans for any new installations or replacements to ensure compliance with the new standards.