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Underground Storage Tanks FAQs

  • When was the most recent update of the UST Regulations?
  • What is DDOE doing toward meeting the Energy Policy Act Requirements?
  • Where can I find the Operator Training Requirements for DDOE?
  • Which training providers are currently approved by DDOE to conduct Class A, B and C Operator Training?
  • Would DDOE allow some flexibility for sites with sacrificial anodes where the Class B Operator has not had specialty training to determine if that type of corrosion protection equipment is functioning properly?
  • What new information will DDOE make available to the public as a result of the Energy Policy Act requirements?
  • What tags will DDOE be using to enforce delivery prohibition on Facilities?
  • What do UST and LUST mean?
  • What is the definition of an underground storage tank (UST)?
  • What is the deadline for me to register my tanks with DDOE?
  • What is the required timeframe for me to submit activity notification forms to DDOE?
  • How many active USTs and UST Facilities are known to DDOE?
  • How many open LUST cases does DDOE have?
  • Has DDOE received any Stimulus Funds for LUST remediation?
  • Which inspector is responsible for USTs in my ward?
  • Where can I find applicable soil and groundwater standards for petroleum contaminants?
  • I have a heating oil UST of 1,100 gallon capacity or less. What is required of me?
  • I wish to remove a small UST from my property. Am I required to call DDOE for an inspection and obtain a DCRA permit?
  • Where do I report UST related complaints?
  • How do I handle a UST leak or emergency?
  • Who regulates Aboveground Storage Tanks in the District? Who should I call about an AST emergency?
  • How do I obtain a permit for construction-assessments, installation, removal, upgrades or other activities?
  • Where can I find certified UST removal and installation Contractors and Risk Assessors?
  • How do I apply to become a DC Certified UST Contractor, UST System Technician or Risk Assessor?
  • What are the reporting requirements for new and old tank owners when purchasing or selling Properties with known USTs?
  • What are the tank labeling requirements for USTs in the District of Columbia?

When was the most recent update of the UST Regulations?

The most recent update of the UST regulations, incorporating the requirements of the Federal Energy Policy Act, was published August 21, 2009.

What is DDOE doing toward meeting the Energy Policy Act Requirements?

The District has recently revised its regulations to incorporate the new Energy Policy Act requirements for Public Record, Secondary Containment, Operator Training and Delivery Prohibition. DDOE has notified the general public and District of Columbia tank owners via U.S. Mail of the new requirements which will come into effect once the new regulations are finalized. The UST Civil Infractions Schedule will also be updated to reflect new fines and penalties.

Where can I find the Operator Training Requirements for DDOE?

The new Operator Training Requirements mandated by the Energy Policy Act can be found in the District’s Underground Storage Tank Regulations Title 20 DCMR Chapter 65 [PDF]. Additional information and guidance has been placed on our website and on fact sheets that are made available to the public.

Which training providers are currently approved by DDOE to conduct Class A, B and C Operator Training?

DDOE is accepting applications from independent third party contractors wishing to provide training for the District’s Operator Training Program. As contractors are approved, their names will be posted on the List of Approved Training Operator Providers [PDF].

Would DDOE allow some flexibility for sites with sacrificial anodes where the Class B Operator has not had specialty training to determine if that type of corrosion protection equipment is functioning properly?

The District’s Underground Storage Tank Regulations (20 DCMR § 5901) identify the corrosion protection requirements for owners and operators. In addition, EPA’s Grant Guidelines specify that operation and maintenance state requirements must include corrosion protection (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Underground Storage Tanks, Grant Guidelines to States for Implementing the Operator Training Provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, August 2007, Page 6).

The DCMR Section 6502.9(a) requirement that Class B Operators check spill prevention and overfill control equipment and corrosion protection equipment to ensure proper function and that any required systems tests are performed at appropriate intervals is consistent with both 20 DCMR 5901 and the EPA Grant Guidelines. At a minimum, the Class B Operator should ensure that: 1) the corrosion protection equipment is inspected and maintained following a code of practice developed by a nationally recognized association or independent testing laboratory; 2) inspection, testing schedules and requirements, specified in Section 5901, for that type of correction protection system are followed; and 3) records of the operation of the cathodic protection are maintained to demonstrate compliance with the performance standards.

In cases where sacrificial anodes are used for Cathodic Protection (CP), the owners will have to indicate this to DDOE in advance and the operators should have knowledge of where they are installed, their purposes, records of functionality and when to call a professional CP tester.

What new information will DDOE make available to the public as a result of the Energy Policy Act requirements?

DDOE will post information on our website, no later than December 31 of each year, regarding: 1) the number of UST tanks, facilities and inspections in the District; 2) percent of overall UST regulatory compliance within the District; and 3) the confirmed releases from underground storage tanks within the District and sources and causes of the releases.

What tags will DDOE be using to enforce delivery prohibition on Facilities?

DDOE currently uses a green tag program to enforce its delivery prohibition regulations. The “green tag” is not an actual “tag,” but a current year DDOE UST Registration Certificate. If the Registration Certificate is not on display at the facility or is expired, then delivery of product should not be made at that facility.

DDOE will soon begin using a yellow tag program (instead of red, as was initially proposed) in conjunction with the green tag program. The yellow tag will consist of a tag or lock with the words “DO NOT FILL” written on it. Yellow tags will be placed on a tank’s fill port to prevent delivery of product to facilities that have been deemed to be in serious violation of the Regulations. Accordingly, delivery should not be made for tanks with a yellow tag.

Pursuant to the new regulations, all product delivery companies must verify that each facility has a current Registration Certificate on display that is not expired AND that the facility does not have any yellow tags on its tanks, prior to making delivery of product. All facilities that either do not have a current Registration Certificate or have received a yellow tag will be listed in the Delivery Prohibition List*.

What do UST and LUST mean?

UST stands for Underground Storage Tank and LUST stands for Leaking Underground Storage Tank. The UST and LUST Programs are authorized to regulate USTs that store petroleum products and some hazardous materials. Please consult 20 DCMR § 5501.3 for a list of products that are exempted from regulation under these programs.

What is the definition of an underground storage tank (UST)?

A UST is any combination of tanks including any underground pipes that is used to contain an accumulation of regulated substances and the volume of which (including the underground pipes) is 10 percent or more beneath the surface of the ground.

What is the deadline for me to register my tanks with DDOE?

Tank owners will receive a registration invoice annually in October requiring them to renew their tank registration for the upcoming year by November 30th of each year. Failure to do so will result in fines and penalties. In addition, the facility will be placed on our delivery prohibition list until the registration has been renewed.

New tank systems will receive an invoice within 30 days after completion of installation and submittal of the Notification form. This registration shall be effective for the remainder of the current calendar year. Thereafter, they will receive their tank registration invoice along with all other existing tank owners in October for the upcoming year. Invoices will only be sent once. You are required to register your tanks(s) with DDOE on an annual basis, regardless of whether or not you have received an invoice.

What is the UST Notification Form?

The UST Facility Notification Form [PDF] is required to be completed and submitted to DDOE for each facility whenever there are changes to the number or type of tanks/piping changes, the product stored, owner's name and address or other such details necessary for registration, operational, compliance monitoring and enforcement purposes. This form is first completed after UST installation, but has to be updated after UST system removal/abandonment or any changes occur regarding the UST System.

Note: The UST Facility Notification Form is different from the UST Activity Notification Form [PDF], that is required for permit purposes and to schedule an inspection with DDOE before any work, i.e. removal, upgrade installation, closure-in-place, etc. is conducted for the UST System.

What is the required timeframe for me to submit activity notification forms to DDOE?

DDOE UST program requires that the activity notification form be submitted to the office at least 5 days prior to the scheduled date of activity, i.e. tank removal, upgrade, installation, closure in place, etc. You are also required to call DDOE at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled activity to make an appointment for a DDOE inspector to be present during the tank activity, and to perform an inspection immediately following the activity.

DDOE requires that a notification form or in the case of removal/abandonment in place, a closure report also be submitted to our office upon completion of the project and within 30 days of bringing the new UST system into use. This requirement may be found at 20 DCMR, Chapter 56.

How many active USTs and UST Facilities are known to DDOE?

As of April 2010, there are approximately 628 active UST Facilities and 1069 active UST tank systems in the District of Columbia, including federal and district-only regulated tanks. There are about 300 active federally regulated UST facilities in the District and 618 tanks (excluded heating oil tanks). Significant Compliance Inspections (SOC) of the federal facilities are conducted at least once every 3 years by EPA and DDOE.

These numbers constantly change due to new installations and removals. A list of the District’s active tanks is updated quarterly and can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for a nominal fee. To obtain this listing, please email Ibrahim Bullo, DDOE FOIA Officer, or call him at (202) 535-2506.

How many open LUST cases does DDOE have?

As of April 2010, there are 285 open LUST cases in the District of Columbia, of which 165 are federally regulated facilities and 122 are District regulated only. This listing is updated quarterly and can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for a nominal fee. To obtain this listing, please email Ibrahim Bullo, DDOE FOIA Officer, or call him at (202) 535-2506.

Has DDOE received any Stimulus Funds for LUST remediation?

Yes, the District’s LUST program has received stimulus funds to aid the program in petroleum cleanups reducing the number of LUST cases throughout the city. Of $607,000 allocated to the District, 75 percent is being used for actual cleanup and site assessments of at least two sites that met the EPA ARRA criteria, and 25 percent is being used directly by DDOE to cover administrative costs. EPA, through an existing contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, has retained the 75 percent to help DDOE expedite these state lead cleanups. DDOE will then pursue cost recovery against the responsible parties.

Which inspector is responsible for USTs in my ward?

View a listing of inspectors assigned to each ward.

Where can I find applicable soil and groundwater standards for petroleum contaminants?

The District’s soil and groundwater standards (Tier 0,1,2) can be found in a guidance document entitled DC Risk Based Corrective Action. The soil standards were revised in 2003. Download the District’s soil and groundwater standards* or request a copy from our office. Note that DDOE plans to revise this document in 2010 to include vapor intrusion guidance.

I have a heating oil UST of 1,100 gallon capacity or less. What is required of me?

Heating oil USTs which are less than 1,100 gallons and petroleum USTs that are less than 110 gallons are not required to register with the District and are therefore exempted from regulation by DDOE, except in the event of a leak.

I wish to remove a small UST from my property. Am I required to call DDOE for an inspection and obtain a DCRA permit?

Yes, you are required to obtain a DCRA permit, which should be certified by DDOE, regardless of the tank capacity and stored product. In addition, you are required to contact DDOE at least 24 hours before the removal to make an appointment for a DDOE inspector to be present during removal of the tank, and to perform an inspection immediately following removal.

Where do I report UST related complaints?

Any complaints concerning USTs can be reported to the DDOE Director or directly to the UST Program, by telephone (202-535-2600), email: ust.ddoe@dc.gov, fax (202-535-1383) or by visiting our office. You may also mail us a completed UST Citizen Complaint Form [PDF].

How do I handle a UST leak or emergency?

In cases of a leak/emergency the owner/operator should immediately call (202) 727-1000 for the Mayor's Command Center, which is the first respondent to emergiences, or dial 311 for the Citywide Call Center. The call center will then contact all agencies that need to respond to the emergency. The tank owner/operator should also contact the DDOE Director within 24 hours of the leak/emergency to ensure that we are aware of the situation and to provide us with pertinent information.

Who regulates Aboveground Storage Tanks in the District? Who should I call about an AST emergency?

Above-ground Storage Tanks (ASTs) are primarily regulated by the DC Fire BOCA codes. The Fire Prevention Branch of DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (DC FEMS) is charged with regulationg ASTs in the District. DDOE does not have authority to regulate AST operations or the release of petroleum products from ASTs.

How do I obtain a permit for construction-assessments, installation, removal, upgrades or other activities?

All permits to perform work in the District are issued/obtained from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), One Stop Permitting Center located at 1100 4th Street SW. For further information on permitting, please visit the DCRA website or call them at (202) 442-4400.

Please note that DDOE must sign off on the permit application before it goes to DCRA. In addition to the DCRA permit, you must also complete and deliver the UST Activity Notification Form [PDF] to DDOE five (5) days in advance of the UST activity you are planning.

 Where can I find certified UST removal and installation Contractors?

- List of Certified Installers Removers and Testers [PDF]

How do I apply to become a DC Certified UST Contractor, UST System Technician or Risk Assessor?

To become certified, you must complete an application package and submit it along with the required fee and your resume. DDOE will administer a questionnaire to test your familiarity with the DC UST regulations before a certificate of approval can be issued. Certificates are usually valid for 1 to 2 years depending on the amount of the fee paid. To renew your certification, a new application must be submitted with the required fee. Please contact our office for further guidance.

What are the reporting requirements for new and old tank owners when purchasing or selling Properties with known USTs?

The District requires owners/operators to disclose any information which is known regarding USTs existing on their property or USTs removed during their ownership prior to sale. New owners of active USTs are also required to register these tanks with DDOE. This requirement may be found in Title 20 DCMR Chapter 56. Failure to comply is a violation by both the seller and the buyer.

What are the tank labeling requirements for USTs in the District of Columbia?

The District follows the American Petroleum Institute (API) industry color codes as follows: White = Low grade, Blue = Mid grade, Red = High/Premium grade, and Yellow = Diesel. The District tank labeling requirements can be found in Title 20 DCMR Chapter 59.

Please contact DDOE's Underground Storage Tank Branch at 202.535.2600 if you would like clarification or additional information.

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