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Texas Underground Storage Tank Permit (18-TX-a)

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality oversees the Underground Storage Tank Program under 30 Texas Administrative Code 334. The Underground Storage Tank Program establishes minimum standards and procedures to reasonably protect and maintain the quality of the state’s groundwater and surface water resources from environmental contamination that could result from the release of harmful substances stored in underground storage tanks (USTs) and provides for the protection of human health and safety as well as protection of the overall environment of Texas. 30 TAC 334.2(116) defines an “underground storage tank” as “any one combination of underground tanks and any connecting underground pipes used to contain an accumulation of regulated substances, the volume of which, including the volume of the connecting underground pipes, is 10% or more beneath the surface of the ground,” where as 30 TAC 334.2(117) defines an “underground storage tank system” as “an underground storage tank, all associated underground piping and underground ancillary equipment, spill and overfill prevention equipment, release detection equipment, corrosion protection system, secondary containment equipment (as applicable), and all other related systems and equipment.”

Underground Storage Tank Permit Process

18-TX-a.1 to 18-TX-a.2 – Is the Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulated under 30 TAC 334

30 TAC 334.1 states that a UST system is subject to the Underground Storage Tank Program when the system:

  • Meets the definition of UST system;
  • Contains, has contained, or will contain a regulated substance as defined in 30 TAC 334.2(91);
  • Is not completely exempted from regulation under 30 TAC 334.3(a); and
  • Is not completely excluded from regulation under 30 TAC 334.4(a).

Exemptions for Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) and UST Systems

Under 30 TAC 334.3(a) the following underground storage tanks and containment devices are completely exempt from regulation under 30 TAC 334:

  • Farm or residential tank with a capacity of 1,100 gallons or less used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes;
  • Tanks used for storing heating oil for consumptive use on the premises where stored;
  • Septic tank;
  • Surface impoundments, pits, ponds, or lagoons;
  • Stormwater or wastewater collection systems;
  • Slow-through process tanks;
  • Tanks, liquid traps, gathering lines, or other facilities used in connection with an activity associated with the exploration, development, or production of oil, gas, or geothermal resources, or any other activity regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas pursuant to the Natural Resources Code, §91.101;
  • Transformers or other electrical equipment that contains a regulated substance and that is used in the transmission of electricity, to the extent that such a transformer or equipment is exempted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 280;
  • Storage tanks located in an underground area, including a basement, cellar, mineworking, drift, shaft, or tunnel, if the storage tank is located on or above the surface of the floor;
  • Pipeline facilities, including gathering lines, if such facilities are regulated under:
The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (49 United States Code, §§1671, et seq.); or
The Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 (49 United States Code, §2001, et seq.);
  • Interstate pipeline facilities if such facilities are regulated under of the following state laws:
The Natural Resources Code, Chapter 111;
The Natural Resources Code, Chapter 117; or
Texas Civil Statutes, Articles 6053-1 and 6053-2.

Exclusions for Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) and UST Systems

Under 30 TAC 334.4(a) the following USTs are completely excluded from regulation:

  • Any UST system containing a hazardous listed waste or identified under the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle C, (42 United States Code §6921, et seq.), or containing a mixture of such hazardous waste and other regulated substances, where such system is already subject to regulation under the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle C;
  • Any wastewater treatment tank (including an oil-water separator and any pretreatment facility), which is an integral part of a wastewater treatment facility which is either:
Permitted under the federal Clean Water Act, either §402 or §307(b), (33 United States Code §1251, et seq.); or
Permitted pursuant to the Texas Water Code, Chapter 26;
  • Sumps which have a capacity of less than 110 gallons;
  • Emergency spill protection or emergency overflow containment tanks, including certain sumps and secondary containment systems, which are used solely for the temporary storage or containment of regulated substances resulting from a leak, spill, overfill, or other unplanned release, and where the regulated substances are routinely removed within 48 hours of the discovery of the release; provided that such tanks must be inspected for a release no less than once every month;
  • UST systems which during their entire operational life have exclusively contained only regulated substances at such dilute concentrations that any release would not pose any significant threat to human health and safety or the environment.

18-TX-a.3 – Construction Notification for UST or UST System

Any person wanting to install a new or replacement UST must submit a Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Construction Notification Form (Form 0495). If the proposed UST or UST system will be located in the designated recharge zone or transition zone of the Edwards Aquifer must also secure the requisite approval from the TCEQ prior to conducting certain regulated activities as listed in 30 TAC 213. The developer may submit the Construction Notifications for USTs or UST systems to the TCEQ’s central office or to the regional office in the area where the UST or UST system is located. The developer must file the notification with the TCEQ at least 30 days prior to initiating the construction activity, unless the construction activity falls under the alternative notification procedures exception in 30 TAC 334.6(c).

18-TX-a.4 to 18-TX-a.5 – Review Construction Notification Materials for Completeness

The TCEQ reviews the Construction Notification Materials. The TCEQ may request additional supporting information to assure that the construction activity is in compliance with 30 TAC 334.6. Supporting information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Detailed design plans and specifications;
  • Installation standards and operating instructions for major system components;
  • Quality assurance plans;
  • Compatibility data related to the stored substances and the materials of construction;
  • Specific geological, hydrological, and environmental site information
  • Qualifications and experience records of consultants, equipment installers, and contractors
  • Formal plan or procedures for tank removals, changes-in-, and abandonments in-place;
  • Disposal procedures for removed tanks;
  • General contingency plan for release abatement and the clean-up and disposal of any residual regulated substances, contaminated soils, or contaminated water (including wash water, groundwater, or surface water); and
  • Basis and description for any proposed change-in-service.

18-TX-a.6 – Confirm Initiation of Proposed Activity

Between twenty-four and seventy-two hours prior to the scheduled time to begin construction of the UST or UST system, the developer must contact the TCEQ regional office in the area where the construction will take place to confirm the time of the initiation of construction. If after the developer submits the notification, the developer decides to revise the construction start date, the developer must immediately report this to the TCEQ regional office. The developer may revise the start date to a later date as necessary so long as the developer notifies the TCEQ regional office and renews the original notification if construction will take place outside of the 150 day window from the originally anticipated construction date.

18-TX-a.7 – UST Registration and Self-Certification

All new and replacement underground storage tanks must be registered with the TCEQ, unless otherwise completed or partially exempted or excluded under 30 TAC 334. The developer must submit UST Registration and Self-Certification Form (Form 0724) with all of the information indicated on the TCEQ authorized form within 30 days of placing any regulated substance in the UST or UST system. Additionally, petroleum UST or UST Systems must have any installer employed or otherwise engaged by the UST owner or operator to install or replace a UST or UST system certify by signature that the installation methods are in compliance with 30 TAC 334.46.

18-TX-a.8 to 18-TX-a.10 – Review UST Registration Materials for Completeness

The TCEQ reviews the UST Registration form to make sure the form is filled out completely and accurately. If the TCEQ determines any information is inaccurate, unclear, illegible, incomplete, or otherwise inadequate, the TCEQ may require the developer to submit additional information. The developer must submit any additional information within 30 days of receipt of a request for additional information. If the UST Registration form is complete and accurate, the TCEQ issues a UST Registration Certificate to the developer for the UST or UST System.

18-TX-a.11 to 18-TX-a.12 – Does the UST Store Petroleum

If the developer will store petroleum in the UST or UST System, the developer must complete the Financial Assurance Certification process under 30 TAC 37.870(b). If the developer will not store petroleum in the UST or UST System, the developer may continue with the project.

18-TX-a.13 – Financial Assurance Certification

The developer must complete the Financial Assurance Certification process under 30 TAC 37.870(b) as required under 30 TAC 334.8(b). The developer must register and update the registration whenever there is a change in the financial assurance mechanism or coverage amount, as specified in 30 TAC 334.7. Additionally, the developer must identify the financial assurance mechanisms used to demonstrate compliance with corrective action and third party liability. The developer must submit with the form documentation of current financial assurance.

18-TX-a.14 – UST Delivery Certificate

Completion of the UST Registration and Self-Certification form that indicates compliance with the applicable UST regulations will result in the TCEQ issuing a UST Delivery Certificate for the USTs at the facility for which the developer self-certifies compliance. The TCEQ’s issuance of a UST Delivery Certificate does not constitute TCEQ certification or affirmation of the compliance status of the tanks in question with TCEQ technical and/or administrative requirements. Furthermore, TCEQ’s issuance of a UST Delivery Certificate does not preclude the TCEQ from investigating the tanks and pursuing enforcement actions under the Texas Water Code when the TCEQ discovers apparent violations.

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