Government Goings-On: The New UST Program

alDulaney—by Alan Dulaney

Beginning in the 1990s, one of ADEQ’s largest programs was the Underground Storage Tank Program. Leaking USTs turned up everywhere, and consultants were busy with site investigations and corrective actions. Then the tide turned, and opposition to expensive cleanups grew. Finally, the State Assurance Fund (SAF) disappeared in 2010, and the LUST program largely went dormant.

Well, they’re back! The potential liabilities never went away, and UST owner/operators became concerned about the lack of any means of remediating their sites. House Bill 2636 (sponsored by Representative Rusty Bowers and signed by Governor Ducey) addressed many of the issues of the Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association. The program will be created anew, minus the UST Policy Commission and Technical Review Panel. The one-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax is revived and rededicated to a new SAF. Outstanding claims against the old SAF will be paid, and money will be available for owner/operators who cannot demonstrate a full financial responsibility mechanism. Baseline assessments and site characterizations will be reimbursed from the new SAF. Preapprovals by ADEQ will be necessary, and ADEQ is charged with writing new standards. But timelines are mandated, and owner/operators must act by 2017.

For environmental consulting firms, the prospect of renewed LUST investigations and assessments looms on the near horizon. Are they ready? Given the hiatus between old and new UST programs, the new standards ADEQ must develop, and the updated investigative techniques of today, possibilities are high that they are not. For this reason, AHS is offering a workshop on the new UST program at the Annual Symposium in Phoenix on September 16. Participants will learn the legal basis for the new program, potential new standards, and how the review process might work. This material is definitely of major interest to any environmental consulting firm. Managers and supervisors should be sending their newest staff to get trained on the upcoming regulations, as well as their more experienced staff to learn the differences between the old and new UST programs.

This is one workshop that no consultant can afford to miss. Don’t let this ship sail without you. Sign up now for the workshop — and for the rest of the Symposium, too!

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