May 28, 2014
West Virginia’s Aboveground Storage Tank Rule Takes Effect
In response the January 9, 2014 chemical spill that contaminated the Elk River the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 373, the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Act. The law officially takes effect on June 6, 2014, 90 days from its date of passage on March 8, 2014
The AST Act requires owners or operators of ASTs with a capacity 1,320 gallons of fluid, that are in one place for more than 60 days and are 90 percent or more above ground to be registered with the WVDEP by Oct. 1, 2014. Registration will begin around June 10, 2014 and will require information regarding the tanks size, contents, construction age, location of the tank and distance to nearest groundwater or surface water source used for public water supply. Tank registration will be accomplished via WVDEP’s Electronic Submission System (ESS). Tank owners are encouraged to sign up for their login IDs now . A registration fee for the purpose of supporting the registration program will be invoiced to the tank owners. It will be illegal to operate or use an AST after October 1, 2014 that has not been properly registered.
WVDEP is also developing rules that will include performance standards for the design, construction and maintenance; corrosion and release detection and prevention; and detailed Spill Prevention Response Plans, including requirement for secondary containment for any releases. Tank operators will be required to have early release detection systems; immediate release reporting; development of corrective action plans; closure and remediation of tank sites in accordance with standards to be developed by the WVDEP; have annual inspections conducted by registered professional engineers or otherwise qualified persons; and provide financial resources to take corrective actions in the event of a fluid release. WVDEP will consider nationally recognized tank standards, such as those issued by the American Petroleum Institute and the Steel Tank Institute.
Tanks will be subject to inspection and enforcement by the WVDEP, with potential penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation, as well as criminal penalties and potential actions by the WVDEP seeking injunctive relief to eliminate continuing violations.