On May 15, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) published a new rule to toughen up the requirements for managing regulated underground storage tanks (USTs) in New Jersey. On January 16, 2018, these amendments to the regulation were made final. The list of changes is extensive and includes amendments (or additions) to at least the following requirements:

 

– Secondary containment

– Operator training

– Civil and administrative penalties

– UST service provider certifications

– UST registration and notification

– Operations and maintenance/self-inspections

– Field constructed tanks

– Airport hydrant systems

– Partially regulated UST systems

 

What follows is a brief review of several noteworthy changes.

Underground Storage Tank Facility Certification Questionnaire

The new regulations require that UST owners/operators submit the entire financial responsibility document (such as an insurance policy) when filing the Underground Storage Tank Facility Certification Questionnaire (USTFCQ). For those who have grown accustomed to submitting a single-page insurance endorsement, this will no longer be sufficient. In addition, although e-mail is not a federally approved method for USTFCQ submittal, the NJDEP is accepting and encouraging electronic submittals of financial assurance documents through e-mail. The entire copy of your current UST Financial Responsibility Insurance policy – including all endorsements or certificates – can be e-mailed to srpustregistration@dep.nj.gov.

 

In addition, the USTFCQ form itself has been revised to incorporate the regulatory changes. The new USTFCQ is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/forms/ust/ and will need to be submitted on an annual basis under the new rule.

 

New Jersey UST Operator Training

In order to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations (40 C.F.R. Part 280), the NJDEP has now instituted a three-tier (Classes A, B, and C) training and certification program. All regulated UST systems at facilities are required to have an authorized operator (one who has participated in training and passed the accompanying exam) no later than October 13, 2018. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that owners and operators understand how to properly operate and maintain their UST systems to prevent emergencies and/or environmental contamination. As UST systems have become more complicated – especially with computerized monitoring and leak detection systems – there is a growing amount of technical competencies required of on-site personnel. Training classes are given in conjunction with Rutgers University, and a schedule of class locations and schedules can be found here: http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/brochures/intros/ust-AB.html.

 

First Environment has been communicating with Acting Bureau Chief John Olko (NJDEP) and Rutgers University to see that additional training classes are offered before the October 2018 deadline; as a result, several new training classes have been added (and some of the new classes are already sold out). Each regulated UST system or group of UST systems at a facility must have a Class A, Class B, and Class C operator designated.

 

Class A Operator – “A Class A operator has primary responsibility to operate and maintain the UST system. The Class A operator’s responsibilities include managing resources and personnel, and activities such as establishing work assignments to achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. In general, this individual focuses on the broader aspects of the statutory and regulatory requirements and standards necessary to operate and maintain the UST system (i.e., N.J.A.C. 7:14B).”

 

Class B Operator – “A Class B operator implements applicable UST regulatory requirements and standards (i.e., N.J.A.C. 7:14B) in the field. This individual implements the day-to-day aspects of operating, maintaining and recordkeeping for USTs at one or more facilities.

 

Class C Operator – “A Class C operator is an individual who would act as the first line of response to any event which results in an emergency condition. This individual is responsible for responding to alarms or other indications of emergencies caused by spills or releases from UST systems. This individual notifies the Class B or Class A operator and appropriate emergency responders when necessary. Not all employees of the facility are necessarily Class C operators.” (Note: For further detail, see the NJDEP Enforcement Bulletin “New Jersey UST Operator Training Information,” found here: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/docs/ust-operator-training.pdf)

 

Under this new requirement, if the NJDEP determines that a UST system is out of compliance (such as failing to respond to alarms), the agency can require retraining of the designated A/B Operator as part of the administrative penalty. For a “remote” facility (e.g., a pump station with an emergency generator and a regulated UST), a Class A, B, or C operator need not be present, but the designated operator is still responsible for the operations, maintenance, and emergencies regarding the UST.

 

For more information regarding training requirements, please review NJDEP’s New Jersey UST Operator Training Information bulletin: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/docs/ust-operator-training.pdf

 

Inspections and Testing

Additional inspection and testing requirements under the new UST rule include the following:

 

– Sumps and dispenser containment systems must be inspected every 30 days for the presence of water and/or product

– All spill prevention equipment (e.g., spill buckets, etc.) must be tested every 12 months using vacuum pressure or liquid testing within one year of the adoption of these regulations

– All electrical and mechanical components (e.g., Automatic Tank Monitor (ATM) system probes, software, sensors, and line leak detectors) must be tested annually

Tank Construction Changes

Under the previous rules, UST systems that provide fuel for emergency power generation (such as an emergency generator at a pump station) have not been required to comply with release detection monitoring. This exemption disappears under the new regulations, and owners/operators will have three years after the adoption of these changes to comply with release detection monitoring. This can impact facilities that have relied on emergency back-up generators at pump and lift stations, with the results most likely being replacing older USTs in order to achieve compliance.

 

As a result of these regulatory changes, anyone managing regulated UST systems should familiarize themselves with the training/certification programs required for those tasked with managing tanks; they will also need to revise the information typically provided to the NJDEP in order to meet new requirements going forward, as well as evaluate their tanks to see if any need to be upgraded to meet the new regulations. These can be expensive and time consuming requirements, but our environmental professionals are available to help guide you through the process.

 

Please note that this is only a summary of the some of the changes in effect under the proposed regulations. Visit NJDEP’s website for a look at the official rule: http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/bust/