NACS Urges Changes to EPA's Proposed UST Rules

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NACS Urges Changes to EPA's Proposed UST Rules


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NACS , the Association for Convenience & Petroleum Retailing, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) have filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over proposed regulations affecting underground storage tanks (UST).

While NACS supports some of the provisions on the table, it considers some of the proposals onerous and unnecessary, according to the association.

"An overriding concern we have is the somewhat skewed message the agency sends to the regulated community as it relates to secondary containment. Specifically, by adding various obligations on those entities that have already invested in secondary containment and not imposing them on entities that have not installed secondary containment, [the] EPA is effectively penalizing companies that have behaved in conformity with the agency's desire," wrote NACS and SIGMA.

The groups submitted comments on eight key points: extension of regulated universe; operator training; secondary containment; walkthrough inspections; spill-overfill prevention inspections; elimination of ball floats; notification requirements; and alternative fuel compatibility.

For example, NACS and SIGMA support extending existing obligations for operator training, on-site inspections, public reporting and mandatory closure of non-compliant tanks to all tanks in the nation, including tribal lands, and not just within those states that receive federal financial support. In addition, both contend the EPA should allow for third-party training and certification of employees and to require recertification once every five years.

The groups also said they appreciate the agency's decision to not require retrofit of any systems but object to the seemingly punitive requirement that existing secondarily contained systems be subject to testing and inspections that new systems won't have to undergo, according to NACS.

In addition, the groups also opposed the EPA's proposal that all facilities conduct monthly walkthrough inspections, calling such inspections burdensome, potentially dangerous and costly. As an alternative, the groups suggested annual or biannual inspections.

NACS and SIGMA did throw their support behind the EPA's approach to determining the compatibility of equipment with new fuels and suggest that the organization make it easier for retailers to determine whether their equipment meets the compatibility standards by conducting a test of UST systems that are in the market to provide a baseline for what systems are compatible with which fuels.