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Toxics Cleanup Program


Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

Federal Requirements

Federal UST Program


The following laws establish the federal UST program, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Statute: Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. Chapter 42, Subchapter IX)
    Federal statutes are passed by Congress and establish the legal authority for federal agency programs. They are codified in the United States Code (U.S.C.).

  • Rules: 40 CFR Part 280
    Federal rules are laws issued by a federal agency providing instructions on how to comply with a federal statute. Rules are issued under the authority granted to the agency by the statute. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) codifies the rules and arranges them by subject or agency. The terms rule and regulation are used interchangeably

Requirements for State Program Approval


To obtain federal approval of their UST programs, states must meet the requirements specified in 40 CFR Part 281.  The rules also specify the procedures EPA will follow in approving, revising, and withdrawing approval of state programs.
 
Washington State currently has an approved UST program. This means that state law, not federal law, applies to regulated underground storage tanks in the state.

Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005


In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act.  Title XV, Subtitle B of this act (titled the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act) contains amendments to Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the original legislation that created the federal UST program.  The Act requires state UST programs receiving federal funding to comply with new federal requirements, including:

  • Conducting more frequent compliance inspections.
  • Implementing a delivery prohibition process.
  • Developing an operator training program.
  • Requiring secondary containment for new or replaced tanks and pipes.
  • Requiring containment under new or replaced dispenser systems.
  • Providing reports to EPA and the public (see below).

To learn more about these new federal requirements, see www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/epact_05.htm.

In 2007, the Washington State Legislature amended chapter 90.76 RCW to implement the new federal requirements in the UST Compliance Act of 2005. The Legislature directed Ecology to adopt rules that are consistent with and no less stringent than those requirements.  For more information about the amendments, see: app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5475&year=2007 and Focus on Underground Storage Tank Law.

In 2012, Ecology adopted changes to the state UST rules (chapter 173-360 WAC) to implement the federal requirements in the UST Compliance Act of 2005. To learn more about the changes, visit: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/regs/ust/2012/rule-making.html.

Federal Rule Making


In June 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted changes to the federal UST rule (40 CFR Part 280). This is the first major revision to the federal rule since 1988. The changes implement the requirements in the UST Compliance Act of 2005, add new operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems, and establish requirements for certain types of UST systems deferred in the 1988 rules.
 
EPA also adopted changes to the state program approval requirements (40 CFR Part 281) to reflect the changes in the federal UST rule. States with approved programs must incorporate the new federal requirements within three years (by June 2018) to maintain program approval.
 
Washington State currently has an approved UST program. This means that state law, not federal law, applies to regulated UST systems in the state (except for those in Indian country). This also means that many of the new requirements in the federal UST rule do not currently apply to UST systems in the state.
 
However, to maintain state program approval, the state’s requirements must be revised to be at least as stringent as the new federal requirements. Accordingly, Ecology plans to amend the state rule (Chapter 173-360 WAC) by EPA’s June 2018 deadline to incorporate any new federal requirements not already included in the state rule.

To view the new federal rules and learn more about the changes, visit: http://www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/revregs.html.