The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation is charged with protecting public health and Utah’s environment through cleanup of chemically contaminated sites, and by ensuring that underground storage tanks are used properly and by providing chemical usage and emission data to the public and local response agencies.
The Superfund Branch
The Branch focuses on properties, most currently unused, that have been contaminated by improper use, storage or disposal of hazardous wastes. Three programs tools are used:
The Superfund program was designed to investigate and, where appropriate, cleanup abandoned hazardous waste sites that pose a threat to public health and/or the environment. The Division, working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, currently oversees 22 Superfund sites involved in cleanup and has investigated over 370 waste site areas.
The State Voluntary Cleanup Program offers an option to Superfund and other traditional environmental cleanup programs. Landowners selecting this route work closely with Division staff to develop and implement a workplan. Applicable environmental standards must be met, but the program gives participants the ability to address a problem in a timely manner.
The Brownfields program is an Economic Redevelopment Initiative designed to return property with a real or perceived environmental impact back to a beneficial use. Funded by EPA grants, the program provides a way to assess existing sites, prevent further contamination, safely clean up sites, and design plans to re-use them.
The Branch also runs the Department’s Emergency Response Program, coordinating information and providing back-up to local public health and safety agencies in the event of chemical spills.
The Underground Storage Tank Program
Several million underground tank systems in the United States contain petroleum or hazardous chemicals. Tens of thousands of these underground storage tanks (USTs), including their piping, are leaking. Many more are expected to leak in the future. Leaking USTs can cause fires or explosions and they can contaminate nearby ground water. Half of the U.S. population uses ground water as a source of drinking water.
In light of these conditions, the EPA developed UST regulations to prevent, find, and correct the leaks and spills and assure that owners and operators of USTs can pay for correcting the problems.
UST regulations apply only to those tanks with at least 10 percent of their volume underground and which store either petroleum or certain hazardous chemicals.
The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation:
- Oversees a certification program for tank installers, inspectors, testers, removers, and consultants
- Administers the Petroleum Storage Tank Loan Fund
- Registers USTs
- Assesses and collects registration fees
- Issues (or revokes) certificates of compliance to facilities which meet (or fail to meet) the necessary requirements
- Performs inspections of records and facilities
- Enforces rules and requirements by issuing notices and orders and assessing penalties.
A fund has been established to help petroleum tank owners/operators meet the financial burden of abatement, investigation, and cleanup of leak or spill. The Petroleum Storage Tank Fund carries a $25,000 deductible for releases which occurred and were reported prior to July 1, 1994 and $10,000 for releases which occurred and were reported after that date.