Responsibility shift for aboveground tanks

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 15, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last year, Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) authored AB 1130 which shifted responsibility for aboveground storage tank (AST) regulation from the State Water Resources Control Board to the Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs).  CUPAs are the designated local agency responsible for enforcing environmental regulations, often the County Health Department, Office of Emergency Services or local Fire Department.  This bill passed the Legislature, was signed by the Governor and went into affect on January 1, 2008.  In reality, the State program has been defunct since 2002 when the Legislature eliminated funding for AST inspection.  

AB 1130 allows CUPAs to establish a fee structure effective January 1, 2010 to recover costs associated with implementation of this program.  The program is applicable to ASTs with the capacity to store 55 gallons or more of petroleum where the tank is entirely or substantially above the ground.  

There are a number of changes effective with the new law.  The owner or operator of a facility with a total storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or more of petroleum must prepare and implement a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan conforming to federal law.  They must also file a tank facility statement annually with a CUPA.  (A business plan can satisfy this requirement).  A spill or release of 42 gallons or more of petroleum must be immediately reported by the owner or operator to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and CUPA.  The new law establishes civil penalties to be pursued by the city or district attorney. The money is shared 50/50 between the CUPA and the city or district attorney.

CUPAs are required to establish an inspection/compliance plan subject to approval by California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). The CUPA inspection does not require the oversight of a professional engineer, but training for the inspectors is to be developed by Cal/EPA.  The CUPAs must inspect every facility with an aggregate storage capacity with 10,000 gallons or more at least once every three years.

Additional information on the AST program is available on a Cal/EPA Fact Sheet at:
www.calepa.ca.gov/CUPA/Aboveground.

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