As of April 11, 2016, new or replacement underground storage tanks (USTs) must have secondary containment in order to be compliant with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. If UST operators who have had new tanks and pipes installed in the last few years have followed best practices, their installations probably meet with the EPA’s new standards of UST environmental compliance. It is important to be aware, however, that simply having secondary containment is hardly an assurance that releases or leaks will be contained.
Compliance Should Not Mean Complacence
It is pretty much standard practice for secondary containment systems to be tested upon installation, either by pressure testing or by hydrostatic methods. In many cases, that is the first and last time that the integrity of secondary containment measures is checked.
Under the new EPA regulations, containment sumps and other spill prevention equipment must be tested for tightness every three years at a minimum.
Even so, UST operators who think about secondary containment purely from an environmental compliance perspective are really missing the point. Performing tests on new installations, after repair, and in accordance with the three-year regulatory requirement, should be considered the bare minimum in terms of protecting the environment.
Corporate social responsibility and a proactive approach to environmental protection demand a more rigorous regime of testing and inspection. After all, three years is a long time—time in which equipment ages and wears, the elements take their toll and things…just happen.
It’s Cheaper to Test than to Remediate
Discovering a secondary containment failure as the result of a contaminant leak into soil or groundwater is akin to shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. There’s nothing quite like the cost of remediation to have UST owners wishing they had tested more often.
It does not have to be difficult to ensure the integrity of secondary containment. If you have responsibility for operating petroleum USTs and associated equipment, you can ease the effort of environmental compliance with assistance from ATC and our Eclipse Fuel System Management division.
Our expertise in environmental compliance, along with our portfolio of fuel system management and inspection services, can keep your operation compliant and free from remediation woes.
Contact us to find out more.