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Washington Underground Storage Tank Permit (18-WA-a)

Information current as of 2019
In Washington, a (person) developer may need an Underground Storage Tank (UST) Permit from the Washington Department of Ecology (Department of Ecology) for all owners and operators of a UST system. An owner means:
  • In the case of an UST system in use before November 8, 1984, but no longer in use on that date, any person who owned the UST system immediately before the discontinuation of its use;
  • In the case of an UST system in use on November 8, 1984, or brought into use after that date, any person who:
    • currently owns the UST system; or
    • owned the UST system immediately before its permanent closure or change-in-service; and
    • in the event that the owner of an UST system cannot be physically located, any person who owns the property where the UST system is located.

W.A.C. § 173-360A-0150;

Owner does not include any person who holds indicia of ownership primarily to protect the person's security interest in the UST system or the UST facility or property where the UST system is located. The person holding indicia of ownership cannot participate in the management of an UST system or be engaged in petroleum production, refining, and marketing. Operator means any person in control of, or having responsibility for, the daily operation of the UST system. W.A.C. § 173-360A-0150; W.A.C. § 173-360A-0110; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.

40 CFR 281 Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Programs allows a state to obtain approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to implement a state program that regulates Underground Storage Tanks in compliance with the technical standards established in 40 C.F.R.§ 280 Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements for Owners and Operators of Underground Storage Tanks (UST).

Washington has a federally-approved state UST program regulated by the Department of Ecology. Washington Department of Ecology – Underground Storage Tanks Webpage. The Department of Ecology regulates USTs to prevent threats to human health and the environment pursuant to R.C.W. §§ 90.76 et seq., Underground Storage Tanks and Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations. W.A.C. § 173-360A-0100; R.C.W. §§ 90.76.005.

Washington defines an “Underground Storage Tank” as any one tank or combination of tanks (including underground pipes connected thereto) that is used to contain an accumulation of regulated substances, and the volume of which (including the volume of underground pipes connected thereto) is ten percent or more beneath the surface of the ground. “Underground Storage Tank” does not include any of the exempt UST systems specified in W.A.C. § 173-360A-110(2), or any piping connected thereto. W.A.C. § 173-360A-0150.



Underground Storage Tank Permit Process

18-WA-a.1 – Conduct Technical Assistance Inspection (Optional)

The Washington Department of Ecology (Department of Ecology) offers new Underground Storage Tank (UST) owners (either new owners of existing tanks or new owners of a new facility) an optional free technical assistance inspection to review the requirements for the particular site. A developer seeking assistance can contact UST Staff in the appropriate regional office of the Department of Ecology.

18-WA-a.2 to 18-WA-a.3 – Is the UST System Exempt From Regulation?

The following UST systems, including any piping connected thereto, are exempt from regulation under W.A.C. § 173-360A-0110:

  • Any UST system holding hazardous wastes subject to Subtitle C of the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act, or a mixture of such hazardous waste and other regulated substances;
  • Equipment or machinery that contains regulated substances for operational purposes such as hydraulic lift tanks and electrical equipment tanks;
  • Any UST system whose capacity is one hundred ten gallons or less;
  • Any UST system that has never contained more than a de minimis concentration of regulated substances. De minimis concentration means either less than one inch of regulated substance, or less than a reportable quantity Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA);
  • Any emergency spill or overflow containment UST system that is expeditiously emptied after use;
  • Farm or residential UST systems of 1,100 gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes;
  • Any UST system used solely for heating structures on the property where the system is located;
  • Septic tanks;
  • Any pipeline facility (including gathering lines) regulated under:
(i) The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (49 U.S.C. App. 1671, et seq.); or
(ii) The Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 (49 U.S.C. App. 2001, et seq.); or
(iii) Which is an intrastate pipeline facility regulated under state laws comparable to the provisions of the law referred to in (j) (i) or (ii) of this subsection;
  • Surface impoundments, pits, ponds, or lagoons;
  • Stormwater or wastewater collection systems;
  • Flow-through process tanks;
  • Liquid traps or associated gathering lines directly related to oil or gas production and gathering operations; or
  • Storage tanks situated in an underground area (such as a basement, cellar, vault, mineworking drift, shaft, or tunnel) if the storage tank is situated upon or above the surface of the floor.

W.A.C. § 173-360A-0110.

If the UST system is regulated through another program, the developer should consult the agency responsible for regulating the program. If the UST system is completely exempt, the developer does not need to complete this process.

18-WA-a.4 to 18-WA-a.5 – Consult with Local Governments

The developer should consult local authorities to ensure compliance with any applicable regulations that are stricter than Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations. A city, town, or county may adopt ordinances or resolutions establishing requirements for UST systems that are more stringent than the statewide requirements if it falls under one of the exceptions listed below. W.A.C. § 173-360A-0130. If the local law does not fall under a listed exception, then Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations supersedes and preempts any state or local UST law, ordinance, or resolution governing any aspect of regulation covered by Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations. Local laws that are not superseded or preempted are:

  • International Fire Code that are not more stringent than and do not directly conflict with Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations;
  • Local laws, ordinances, and resolutions pertaining to local authority to take immediate action in response to a release of a regulated substance;
  • Local laws, ordinances, and resolutions pertaining to permits and fees for the use of underground storage tanks in street right of ways that were in effect on July 1, 1990;
  • City, town, or county underground storage tank ordinances that are more stringent than the federal regulations and the uniform fire code adopted under chapter 19.27 RCW and were in effect on November 1, 1988. Under chapter 90.76 RCW, local jurisdictions were required to notify the department of the existence of such ordinances by July 1, 1989. The Department of Ecology received notification from the city of Redmond, and city of Renton, the city of Spokane, Spokane County, and Tacoma-Pierce County; and
  • Local laws, ordinances, and resolutions pertaining to the protection of environmentally sensitive areas that are more stringent than the requirements of this chapter and have been approved by the department under WAC 173-360A-0130.

W.A.C. § 173-360A-0120.

18-WA-a.6 – Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form

To apply for a UST permit for a new UST system or a previously unreported UST system, the developer must complete a 30-Day Notice Form and submit the form with payment of the applicable annual fee at least 30 days and not more than 90 days before installing the UST system. The developer may use the form to provide notice for more than one UST system at the same site, but UST systems installed at separate sites must file a separate notice for each site. The 30-Day Notice Form must include, at minimum, the following:

  • Information about the owner of the UST system;
  • Information about the site of the UST system;
  • Information about the UST system, including substance stored, capacity, and project start date; and
  • Information about the service provider(s) installing the UST system.

Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form

Developers seeking to install a UST system sooner than 30 days should contact the Department of Ecology for a waiver. Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.

18-WA-a.7 to 18-WA-a.8 – Review 30-Day Notice Form for Completeness

The Department of Ecology will review the 30-Day Notice Form for administrative and technical completeness. The Department of Ecology must ensure that the proposed project is in compliance with Washington – Wash. Admin. Code §§ 173-360A et seq., Underground Storage Tank Regulations. UST systems are eligible for a UST permit if the following conditions are met:

  • The owner or operator is in compliance with all requirements of W.A.C. § 173-360A-0700, including the financial responsibility requirements of WAC 173-360A Part 10, if applicable, or the owner or operator is in conformance with a compliance schedule negotiated with and agreed to by the Department of Ecology;
  • The UST is not known by the owner or operator to be leaking; and
  • All annual state tank fees and local environmentally sensitive area tank fees have been remitted.

W.A.C. § 173-360A-0200.

If the 30-Day Notice Form lacks required information, the Department of Ecology will request the additional information.

18-WA-a.9 to 18-WA-a.10 – Does the Department of Ecology Approve the 30-Day Notice Form?

If the Department of Ecology approves the 30-Day Notice Form, the Department of Ecology issues an Underground Storage Tank System Permit, which allows for the developer to install the UST. Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.

18-WA-a.11 – Begin UST System Installation

Within 90 days after receiving the Underground Storage Tank System Permit the developer must have a Washington licensed UST installer install the UST system. The date stamped on the approved 30-Day Notice Form constitutes the beginning of the 90-day period in which the installation must begin. Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit.

18-WA-a.12 – Business License and UST Addendum

The developer must complete the Business License Application and Underground Storage Tank Addendum and submit the forms to the Washington State Department of Revenue. The developer must complete the Business License Application regardless if the developer already holds a business license. If the developer holds a business license, the application will serve the purpose of adding an endorsement to the current business license. In addition, the developer must complete the Underground Storage Tank Addendum and submit the form upon installation of the UST system. The Underground Storage Tank Addendum includes an installer certification section, whereby the certified UST installer must sign the form certifying that the installation of the new UST system listed on the form was in compliance with all applicable regulations, codes, and standards and that a certified supervisor was on site during all required installation activities. Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form.

There is not an appeal process for an UST Permit.

Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit.


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