|Frequently Asked Questions About UST and AST Systems|
1. What Is an Underground Storage Tank (UST) System?
According to the Codified Law of South Dakota, Chapter 34A-2-98, an underground storage tank (UST) is defined as any tank, or a combination of tanks, that have 10 percent or more of their capacity below the surface of the ground. This definition includes the tank, all connected underground piping, any underground ancillary equipment, and the containment system. Further, this definition specifically pertains to UST systems that contain regulated substances such as petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof which is liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure.
Not all underground storage tanks (USTs) systems are regulated by the state of South Dakota. For example, USTs owned and operated by registered Native Americans within reservation boundaries are regulated by the EPA through the Region VIII, Denver, Colorado, (303) 312-6788. In addition, under the Administrative Rules of South Dakota Chapter 34A-2-98, the following groups of tanks are not included in the definition of an UST:
UST systems that are excluded from state UST regulations include the following:
Applicability of some of the Federal UST regulations has been deferred for the following systems, however, releases from these systems must still undergo corrective action. Since the state rules do not define the following systems, DENR will observe the U.S. EPA regulations.
USTs storing fuel solely for use by emergency power generators are deferred from only the release detection requirements. Fuel tanks supplying emergency generators must still meet the upgrade requirements for spill protection, overfill protection and cathodic protection by December 22, 1998.
According to the Codified Law of South Dakota, Chapter 34A-2-100, aboveground storage tank (AST) systems are defined as aboveground stationary storage tank or combination of tanks, including connected piping which stores an accumulation of regulated substances such as petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof which is liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure. Stationary tanks are those that do not move, such as tanks fixed permanently in place on foundation, racks, cradle, or stilts, or on the ground. The term does not include tanks mounted on wheels, trolleys, skids, pallets, or rollers; vessels such as 55-gallon drums. Produced-substance storage tanks directly related to oil and gas production and gathering operations are also exempt.
The following ASTs are exempt/excluded/or deferred from regulation:
Tanks used for the storage of heating oil for consumptive use on the premises where stored are excluded from State UST/AST regulations.
Releases from UST systems can originate from one or more of the system components (i.e., tanks, piping, and pumps), as well as from spills and overfills. Because most of the components are buried beneath the ground, you usually have to rely on methods other than sight and smell to determine if a release has occurred. Various types of release detection methods are available to indicate that your UST may be leaking and creating problems for the environment and your business. You can also minimize these problems by paying careful attention to these early warning signals, and reacting to them quickly before major problems develop. Some warning signals include:
If you suspect that a release may have occurred, you must immediately notify the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at (605) 773-3296. If your tank is located within the boundaries of an Indian Reservation and you are a registered Native American with that Indian Tribe, then you must contact the EPA Regional UST program office in Denver, Colorado at (303) 312-6788. Quick action on your part can minimize the extent of environmental damage and the threat to human health and safety, and it can minimize your share of the high costs that can result from cleaning up extensive releases and responding to third-party liability claims.
If a release from an AST or UST system is suspected, the owner or operator must report the release to the DENR within 24 hours at (605) 773-3296. If the leak occurs from tanks located within reservation boundaries contact the EPA's Regional UST program in Denver, Colorado at (303) 312-6788. Take immediate steps to stop the release and ensure that there is no threat to the safety of persons in the vicinity of the release. It is not necessary to notify DENR of aboveground overfills of petroleum that are less than 25 gallons if the release can be contained and cleaned up within 24 hours. It is also not necessary to notify the implementing agency of a spill or overfill of a hazardous substance which results in a release to the environment that is less than its reportable quantity under CERCLA if it can be contained and cleaned up within 24 hours.
The Groundwater Quality Program, underground storage tank section, (605) 773-3296, is your primary first point of contact. You can also contact Scott Bickler in our Sioux Falls regional office, (605) 362-3500. If your tank is located within the boundaries of an Indian Reservation and you are a registered Native American with that Indian Tribe, contact the EPA Regional UST program in Denver, Colorado, (303) 312-6788.
State of South Dakota has changed the upgrade deadline from November 23, 1997 to be consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Federal deadline of December 22, 1998.
The U.S. EPA has indicated no extension of that deadline will be given. Therefore, underground storage tank systems that do not meet the upgrade requirements will not be able to operate. If you miss the December 22, 1998, deadline you can be cited for violations and fined. Failure to be in compliance may reduce or eliminate coverage provided by insurance firms or state reimbursement fund just when you may need these financial resources.
Used or abandoned underground storage tanks may not be re-used for underground storage or used for above ground storage of a regulated substance unless they are upgraded to meet the criteria for new tanks. South Dakota DENR Waste Management Program requires proper disposal of abandoned tanks. Please call (605) 773-3153 for additional information regarding disposal.
Underground storage tanks may be abandoned in place if an assessment has been completed to show no underground releases have occurred. Soil samples must be obtained by a Certified Petroleum Release Assessor or Remediator and the results must be submitted to the DENR Ground Water Quality Program for review prior to abandonment. Please contact the SD Board of Engineering and Architects Examiners Board for information regarding certification requirements at (605) 394-2510. Please contact DENR for additional information regarding abandonment procedures at (605) 773-3296.
You have two options. You can properly abandon the tanks or you can bring tanks back into service. To bring tanks back into service, first you must determine if the tanks still need to be upgraded to be in compliance with the December 22, 1998 upgrade requirements. If the tanks will require upgrade, they must be upgraded before bringing the tanks back into service. If the tanks have already been upgraded, DENR requires a tank tightness test to be performed within 24-hours of the initial filling of the tanks. After ensuring the tanks are in good condition, on-going release detection must be performed while the tank system is in operation.