The Utah State Underground Storage Tank Program is a regulatory branch of the Department of Environmental Quality. Its primary goal is to protect human health and the environment from leaking underground storage tanks (USTs). The UST staff oversees: UST notification, installation, inspection, removal, and compliance with State and Federal UST regulations concerning release prevention and remediation.
Underground Storage Tanks
An UST is a tank system, including piping connected to the tank, that has at least 10 percent of its volume underground. Federal and state regulations apply only to those USTs containing petroleum products or certain hazardous chemicals. USTs not regulated include:
- Farm or residential tanks 1,100 gallons or less, used non-commercially.
- Tanks storing heating oil, used on the premises.
- Flow-through process tanks.
- Emergency spill and overflow tanks.
- Tanks holding 110 gallons or less.
- Others as described in the federal register.
UST Release (Leaks)
Utah obtains more than 50% of the population’s drinking water from groundwater. Currently, there are more than 3000 leaking UST sites in Utah. These sites have resulted in contaminated ground water and in some cases, explosive situations. Many more USTs in Utah could leak or have yet to be discovered in the future adding to the existing problems.
UST Regulations: Accomplishments
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the help of the regulated industry, developed regulations concerning UST owners and operators. The goals of these regulations include:
- To prevent leaks and spills.
- To find leaks and spills.
- To correct the problems created by leaks and spills.
- To ensure the owners and operators can pay for clean-up associated with leaking USTs.
- To ensure that Utah has a regulatory program that complies with the Federal regulations.
The EPA phased-in many of the requirements over a ten year period beginning December 22, 1988. By December 22, 1998, all operating facilities were required to be upgraded with corrosion protection, spill and overfill equipment, and regularly monitored for a release. Non-operational facilities must be properly closed.
For more information regarding the EPA UST regulations, please visit “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)” on the EPA’s OUST site.
Utah UST Program
As a result of the federal mandate, the State of Utah amended the Solid and Hazardous Waste Act in 1986 which established the Utah UST Program. UST owners and operators were required to register all USTs. In 1989, the Underground Storage Tank Act was enacted; it details the duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR), the Solid and Hazardous Waste Control Board, and the Utah UST Program Authority. The act established the Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Fund and provides certain requirements for UST owners and operators.
The Director of the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation is an individual who has the authority to administer the UST Program as established by the Utah Legislature. The Director answers to the Utah Solid and Hazardous Waste Control Board which consists of approximately ten individuals appointed by the Governor.
The UST Section
The UST section of the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation, is a group of environmental scientists whose task is to oversee the regulated public in issues that concern the operational life of USTs up to proper closing of UST systems. The UST staff has tracked about 15,000 USTs and currently regulates approximately 4,300 USTs at more than 1,500 different facilities. UST staff members perform compliance inspections, issue compliance notices, and serve as expert witnesses at administrative hearings. Outreach classes and seminars are taught throughout the state.
The LUST Section
The Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) section of DERR oversees remediation of contamination from USTs. LUST scientists and engineers review and reestablish clean-up guidelines. When responsible parties are not available or are unable to pay for the remediation of a LUST site, the LUST staff is required to define the degree of hazard, possibly take action with LUST-TRUST money to abate the hazard and remediate the site, and recover costs incurred from responsible parties. Often, responsible parties seek the guidance of the LUST staff to insure clean-up in a timely and economical fashion.
Administrative Support Section
The administrative support section oversees collection of UST fees and monitors expenditures. Accountants and technicians answer questions concerning billings and distribute funds where appropriate.
Requirements for Owner/Operators of Underground Storage Tank Systems
- Notify the DERR of all regulated USTs with EPA Notification Form 7530-1 (276 KB)
- Pay any applicable fees.
- Obtain a Certificate of Compliance.
- Maintain compliance with regulations.
- Upgrade USTs when required.
- Report any UST release to the DERR.
- Remediate contamination.
- Remove UST appropriately.
Comments and Questions
You can obtain more information and forms from:
Division of Environmental Response and Remediation
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
Phone: (801) 536-4100