Ecology Revising UST Rule

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is starting work on changing the state's rule for preventing leaks of gasoline and diesel fuel from underground storage tanks, according to an Aug. 26 press release.

The 2007 Legislature directed the state agency to revise the current rule to include some recent changes in state and federal laws and to improve compliance with the rule. The changes will help protect human health and the environment. Leaks from underground storage tanks can contaminate underground water tables, the source of drinking water for 60 percent of Washington's residents.

"The updated rule will help tank owners and operators learn how to better manage their tanks," said Mike Blum of Ecology's Toxics Cleanup Program.

Most underground storage tanks are located at gas stations. Others are owned and operated by other businesses and by local, state, and federal governments.

Ecology proposes to:

• Require training for tank owners and operators.

• Detail requirements for secondary containment systems on new tanks, piping and dispensers.

• Increase annual fees as specified by the Legislature.

• Improve the rule's readability.

• Include changes in standards for equipment, maintenance, and inspections to reduce the potential for leaks and spills.

Ecology expects to hold public hearings on a draft rule in early 2009. The final rule should be ready for adoption in summer 2009. Documents related to the proposed rule will be posted at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/activity/wac173360.html.

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