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Toxics Cleanup Program

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Overview of Program

Washington State has a federally-approved Underground Storage Tank (UST) program.  This means that state law, not federal law, applies to UST systems in this state.

Under state law, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) currently regulates more than 9,200 tanks at more than 3,400 facilities, including gas stations, industries, commercial properties, and governmental entities.  Ecology works to ensure these tanks are installed, managed, and monitored in a manner that prevents releases into the environment.  To do so, Ecology conducts compliance inspections at about 1,200 facilities each year, and provides technical assistance to tank owners.

2015 Changes to Federal UST Rule and Applicability  (click to show/hide)

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:

Compliance with Operator Training Requirements  (click to show/hide)   

Visit our operator training webpage to learn more about operator training requirements and training opportunities.

Sources and Causes of UST Releases (click to show/hide)

Ecology collects data on the sources and causes of releases from underground storage tank (UST) systems in Washington State. Ecology is required to report this information under the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005. View the latest report.

* Check with your local city and county authorities to verify you are meeting any additional local regulations that may be required for activities associated with your UST System(s).

Page last revised July 14, 2015

Photo:  Tank removal


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