Underground Storage Tanks: From Legal Updates to Redevelopment Tools
Recently, there have been some very newsworthy items concerning Underground Storage Tanks (USTs). For the first time since the federal UST regulations were promulgated in 1988, EPA is proposing significant revisions to the regulations. The EPA is proposing the revisions to strengthen the 1988 federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations. The revisions increase an emphasis on operation and maintenance of UST equipment in an effort to improve prevention and detection of UST releases, which are one of the leading sources of groundwater contamination. The proposal would revise the UST technical regulation in 40 C.F.R. Part 280 by:
· Adding secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping;
· Adding operator training requirements for UST system owners and operators;
· Adding periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems;
· Removing certain deferrals;
· Adding new release prevention and detection technologies;
· Updating codes of practice;
· Making editorial and technical corrections.
EPA is also proposing to update the state program approval (SPA) requirements in 40 CFR part 281 to incorporate the proposed changes to the UST technical regulation listed above.Interested and affected stakeholders can review the proposed revisions at (http://www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/proposedregs.html.)
Additionally, new guidance is available for municipal and county leaders seeking to reclaim and redevelop the thousands of abandoned gas stations, auto body shops, and industrial facilities nationwide affected by USTs. The guidance document, titled From Vacancy to Vibrancy focuses on underground storage tank (UST) sites – properties with buried or partially buried tanks that have been used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. (http:www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/from-vacancy-to-vibrancy.pdf). When gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities or other types of development close down, these tanks are often left behind. As they age, the tanks are prone to leakage and can contaminate both soil and groundwater, posing a serious environmental threat. The new guide takes aim at one of the primary reasons these types of properties remain vacant for so long: many officials just don’t know what to do with them.
The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC addresses many UST issues on behalf of its clients, including: providing advice to clients regarding what is and is not regulated, filing compliance documents, notification and permitting, dealing with regulatory violations and discharges to soil and groundwater, providing advice to clients concerning offsite impacts caused by leaking USTs, defense of administrative or civil enforcement actions related to USTs and seeking insurance coverage for discharges. Further, the firm has substantial experience in positioning properties impacted by USTs for redevelopment as the firm has substantial experience in the redevelopment arena.
About The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC
The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC is a boutique law firm located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey committed to providing the highest quality of legal services in the select areas of real estate, land use and environmental law. The firm is committed to working collaboratively with clients to achieve practical, cost effective results- whether it be in complex litigation, transactions, cleanups and/or development projects. The firm provides transactional and litigation counsel to a broad spectrum of clients including private and public corporations, trade associations, nonprofit institutions, banks, real estate investment trusts and individuals in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC
1812 Front Street
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076