Regulatory Alert: Changes to Pennsylvania’s Storage Tank Regulations

Chris Kern PG underground storage tank expert

Updated January 2019

From the Desk of Chris Kern, P.G., Project Manager

Changes to Pennsylvania’s Storage Tank Regulations

Pennsylvania: Regulated agencies have determined that the main cause of releases of regulated substances from underground storage tanks (USTs) is poor operation and maintenance of UST systems. In an effort to reduce the number of these releases, new rules have been promulgated requiring owners and operators to increase the frequency of inspections and UST system testing. Release reporting requirements have also been increased. Operators of USTs supplying emergency generators are now being required to comply with leak detection requirements. Other UST systems that were previously exempt now require registration and compliance with tank regulations, such as wastewater treatment systems discharging under a NPDES permit and USTs at NRC-regulated facilities. A new Certified Installer category, “UMI”, has been created allowing for inspection, repairs and minor modifications.

Changes to Release Reporting Requirements

The term “reportable release” has been eliminated and releases need to be reported even if they do not impact the environment. Releases to secondary containment structures now require reporting to DEP and any affected municipalities.

Changes to Pennsylvania Cleanup Program (Act 2) Technical Guidance Concerning USTs

The following changes were made to Act 2 technical guidance:

>>   Act 2 sites now require free product recovery to the “maximum extent practicable”, consistent with storage tank corrective action process.

>>   Act 2 sites are now required to submit a Cleanup Plan when installing any type of vapor mitigation system.

>>  The gasoline additives 1, 2-dibromoethane (EDB), 1,2-dichloroethane (EDC) and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) are no longer classified as petroleum products and must be evaluated for vapor intrusion under the more stringent requirements for non-petroleum volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Additionally, there are changes to the medium-specific concentrations (MSCs) for several common gasoline constituents on the DEP short lists of petroleum products, including naphthalene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene (1,2,4-TMB), 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (1,3,5-TMB) and benzo[a] pyrene. Notably, naphthalene is now considered a volatile compound. The direct contact MSC for naphthalene has been lowered by an order of magnitude, and the soil-to-groundwater pathway MSC for 1,2,4-TMB has been substantially increased. The compound 1,2,4-TMB is one of the main drivers for environmental cleanups due to its toxicity and recalcitrance to remediation in the environment.