The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances regulates the installation, operation, maintenance, and closure of underground and aboveground storage tank systems in order to prevent contamination of soils and groundwater. The Division permits the installation and operation of vapor recovery equipment. And it oversees cleanup of releases from both underground and aboveground storage tank systems.
In the tank management world, an underground storage tank is sometimes referred to as an “UST.” An aboveground storage tank is sometimes called an “AST.” And vapor recovery is is sometimes referred to as “VR.”
The Division prevents leaks to the environment by conducting inspections at regulated storage tank facilities to ensure equipment is properly installed and maintained. These inspections take place at different types of facilities including gas stations, facilities that have large tank systems, and industrial or manufacturing sites located in Delaware.
Owners and operators of tank systems must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. These include maintaining records to document compliance with the regulations. The regulations may require that these records be submitted periodically to the state or may only require the records to be made available upon request.
When a permit is required there may be record keeping or reporting requirements specific to the permit. If DNREC requests records that are required to be maintained by regulation or permit conditions, the regulated entity is legally obligated to provide the records upon request, and failure to do so constitutes a violation separate and distinct from any violation that may be shown by the information in the records.
If a facility has unresolved violation(s) remaining after the time period specified in a written notice from the Department detailing the actions required to resolve the violations, enforcement actions may be taken. Two examples of a written notice are a Request for Information letter or a Corrective Action Warning letter.
Enforcement action can also be taken when Environmental Protection Officers (EPOs) are investigating or responding to a complaint or emergency.
The EPA has set up rules and guidance for Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) and Facility Response Plans (FRP).
The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) rule (40 CFR Part 112) helps facilities prevent a discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. There are streamlined SPCC rules for for facilities with smaller oil storage capacity (Tier I and Tier II Qualified Facilities). Self-certification is now an optional alternative to Professional Engineer (PE) certification of the Plan. The owner or operator of a “qualified facility” can prepare and self-certify a SPCC Plan, rather than have a PE review and certify the Plan. And there are SPCC resources for agricultural facilities.
The Facility Response Plan (FRP) rule requires certain facilities to submit a response plan and prepare to respond to a worst case oil discharge or threat of a discharge.