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April 01, 2013
EPA's proposed UST rules - Secondary containment

"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) required states to implement additional measures to protect groundwater as a condition of receiving money from EPA. EPA decided to revise its UST secondary containment and under-dispenser containment (UDC) regulations to meet this provision. 

This proposed change will ensure secondary containment and UDC are required for all new and replaced UST systems across the country, including those in Indian country and in states without additional measures to protect groundwater requirements. Requiring secondary containment will reduce releases to the environment by containing them within a secondary area and detecting them before they reach the environment."

What is EPA proposing?

Currently EPA requires secondary containment and interstitial monitoring for hazardous substance tanks only.

EPA is proposing UST owners and operators install secondary containment and interstitial monitoring for new and replaced tanks and piping installed after the effective date of the final UST regulation. The secondary containment must be able to contain regulated substances released from the UST system until they are detected and removed.

In addition, UST systems must have under-dispenser containment for new dispenser systems.

EPA is not proposing secondary containment for suction piping, sometimes called safe suction piping, and piping associated with field-constructed tanks and airport hydrant fuel distribution systems. Only new and replaced tanks must meet the secondary containment requirement.

EPA is also proposing the following new terms and definitions:

Dispenser system : Equipment located aboveground that meters the amount of regulated substances transferred to a point of use outside the UST system, such as a motor vehicle. This system includes equipment necessary to connect the dispenser to the UST system.

Replaced: For a tank, to remove a tank and install another tank. For piping, to remove 50% or more of piping and install other piping, excluding connectors, connected to a single tank. For tanks with multiple piping runs this definition applies independently to each piping run.

Secondary containment or secondarily contained: A release prevention and release detection system for a tank and/or piping. This system has an inner and outer barrier with an interstitial space that is monitored for leaks.

Under-dispenser containment (UDC): Containment underneath a dispenser system designed to prevent dispenser system leaks from reaching soil or groundwater.

EPA is in the process of reviewing stakeholder comments to gain additional information in considering the significant cost to UST owners/operators.

Regulations.gov Docket for Proposed UST Regulations
EPA Guidelines for Implementing Secondary Containment Provision of the EPAct

Stakeholder Comments — PMAA

Since it is required by the EPAct, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America ( PMAA ) supports EPA 's proposal to add a secondary containment requirement for new and replaced tanks and piping.

PMAA also supports the proposed definition for “replaced” which triggers the secondary containment requirement for existing tanks and piping. Specifically, PMAA agrees with the agency that “replaced” should apply to piping when 50% or more of a pipe run to a single tank is removed.  PMAA also agrees that this definition be applied independently to each piping run for tanks with multiple lines.

Replacing a piping run is expensive because it requires taking a UST out of service for several days and removal and replacement of concrete surfaces overlaying the UST system. Limiting the definition to a minimum 50% replacement and to independent lines is the most cost effective and least burdensome way for marketers to upgrade with secondary contained piping. PMAA strongly supports the EPA 's decision to not make the double wall piping requirement retroactive for all UST systems.

However, PMA strongly opposes any alternative definition that would set a lower replacement percentage or require all lines in a multiple line system to be replaced when more than 50% of a single, independent line is removed and replaced. A trigger below the 50% level would be a strong incentive for not replacing aging single walled piping systems. Instead, small repairs and patches would be made to lengthen the life of existing single walled piping until a larger run over 50% of total length requires replacement.

Stakeholder Comments – Veeder-Root

Veeder-Root Company recommended that the requirement for a 3-year test be waived for operators that have installed more protective continuous vacuum or pressure monitoring on secondary systems designed to monitor both primary and secondary walls and detect leaks before they enter the environment.

Stakeholder Comments – Boeing

Boeing also believes the 3-year test for secondary containment areas that use interstitial monitoring is onerous and increases the regulated community's costs significantly with very little benefit. All pressurized piping is already tested annually and any leaks would be detected during these tests.

Stay tuned for updates on any revisions to the proposed rules and continued discussions related to the impact the new UST rules will have on UST businesses.

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