PR Developments: Underground Storage Tanks Control Regulation
The Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”) has adopted a new Underground Storage Tanks Control Regulation (“Regulation”) for Puerto Rico that became effective January 23, 2015. The EQB’s action revokes the existing Underground Storage Tanks Regulation of 19901. The proposed Regulation is intended to protect the environment and human health from leaks from underground storage tanks (“UST”) by establishing: (1) the minimum standards for the installation and operation of leak detection and spill prevention systems, (2) the procedures for closing UST systems (3) the requirements for notification, and registry of UST owners, (4) the requirements for UST operators and the accreditation of training programs. This Regulation applies to all owners and operators of UST systems, that include a tank or a combination of tanks, underground pipes and equipment connected, used to contain regulated substances (e.g., gasoline), and the volume of which, including the volume of underground pipes connected, is 10% or more beneath the surface of the ground.
Some of the most significant changes are: (i) new UST operator training requirements; (ii) additional requirements regarding secondary containment for new UST systems; and (iii) an expressly stated prohibition to deliver to, deposit into, or accept a regulated substance into an UST at a facility that has been identified by the EPA or State as ineligible for fuel deposit or delivery.
In particular, the fuel product delivery prohibition (“red-tag”) authorizes EQB to deem the tanks ineligible for delivery, deposit or acceptance of product upon finding of any of the following conditions: (a) failure to install required spill prevention, overfill protection, release detection, or corrosion protection equipment; (b) failure to properly operate or maintain release detection equipment or spill, overfill, or corrosion protection equipment; (c) failure to maintain financial responsibility; or (d) failure to protect a buried metal flexible connector from corrosion.2 In order for an owner and operator of an UST, which has been red tagged, to have the tank reclassified by the EQB as eligible to receive regulated substances, owner or operator must provide a written statement to the EQB indicating that the deficiencies listed in the noncompliance notice have been corrected.
Given the impact on the local UST regulatory framework, we believe that this development may interest you. Should you wish to further discuss or obtain additional information on how this development may impact your business operations please contact us at your convenience.
1 Regulation No. 4362 of September 14, 1990.
2 Rule 927 of the Regulation.