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Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About the Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks

The Questions

  1. What is an Underground Storage Tank (UST) System?
  2. What is a hazardous substance?
  3. Is there money available to help me meet the 1998 upgrade deadline?
  4. Is there money available for remediation?
  5. Is my oil water separator regulated?
  6. Is my heating oil UST regulated?
  7. Who do I call if my UST is leaking?
  8. What is "Risk Based Corrective Action?"
  9. Does New Jersey allow the use of a "Risk Based Corrective Action?"
  10. Do I have to remove my UST?
  11. Do I have to be certified to do UST work?
  12. Can I get a list of all the underground storage tanks in New Jersey?
  13. Can I get a list of all the leaking underground storage tanks in New Jersey?
  14. How do I find out who is assigned to my leaking underground storage tank case?
  15. What can I do if I disagree with my case manager?
  16. How can I find out the status of a leaking underground storage tank case?
  17. What is the BUST Cooperative Venture Program?
  18. As an individual, can I participate in the Cooperative Venture Program?
  19. How do I know if an individual or firm is certified to do work at my UST site?
  20. How do I inquire about or obtain a list of laboratories certified by the State of New Jersey?
  21. How can I find out when the next regulatory refresher class (commonly referred to as the UST certification course) is, and when do I need to take it?

If you have questions regarding the BUST process that are not covered by this list call 609/292-8761.

The Answers

1. What is an Underground Storage Tank (UST) System?

The definition of an UST, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:14B-1.6: is any one or combination of tanks, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:14B-1.4, including appurtenant pipes, lines, fixtures, and other related equipment, used to contain an accumulation of hazardous substances, the volume of which, including the volume of the appurtenant pipes, lines, fixtures and other related equipment, is 10 percent or more beneath the surface of the ground.

A 'Tank' is a stationary device designed to contain an accumulation of hazardous substance which is constructed of non-earthen materials (for example, concrete, steel, plastic) that provide structural support.

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2.What is a hazardous substance?

The definition of a hazardous substance, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:14B-1.6 is:

  1. Motor fuel;

  2. Petroleum products which are liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure (60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute);

  3. The hazardous wastes designated pursuant to:

    1. Section 3001 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, Pub. L. 94-580 (42 U.S.C. 6921); and

    2. N.J.A.C. 7:26-8;

  4. The hazardous substances designated pursuant to:

    1. Section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. 92-500 (33 U.S.C. 1321);

    2. Section 101 (14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, Pub. L. 96-150 (42 U.S.C. 9601); and

    3. The Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.; and

  5. The toxic pollutants designated pursuant to Section 307 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. 92-500 (33 U.S.C. 1317).

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3. Is there money available to help me meet the 1998 upgrade deadline?

Yes, The Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Remediation, Upgrade And Closure Fund was established to provide assistance for UST owners and operators.

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4. Is there money available for remediation?

Yes, The Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Remediation, Upgrade And Closure Fund was established to provide assistance for UST owners and operators.

ECA also administers the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF), which provides financial assistance and grants for investigations and/or remediation of certain contaminated properties.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a program which provides Technical Assistance Grants to affected groups at Superfund sites. The purpose of these grants is to assist citizens' groups in understanding technical information that assesses potential hazards and the selection and design of appropriate response actions at these sites.

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5. Is my oil/water separator regulated?

Oil water separators are not regulated as an underground storage tank. When a separate tank is used with the oil water separator to collect waste oil, the UST is regulated as a waste oil UST.

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6. Is my heating oil UST regulated?

Heating oil USTs with an aggregate capacity of 2,000 gallons or less are exempt from the UST regulations.

Heating oil USTs of any size, used exclusively to heat residential buildings, are exempt from the UST regulations.

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7. Who do I call if my UST is leaking?

If a release occurs from an underground storage tank, you are required to notify the DEP 24-hour hotline at 609/292-7172.

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8. What is "Risk Based Corrective Action?"

Risk Based Corrective Action (RBCA) in New Jersey is a streamlined approach in which exposure and risk assessment practices are integrated with traditional components of the corrective action process to ensure that appropriate and cost-effective remedies are selected, and that limited resources are properly allocated. To accomplish a RBCA cleanup in New Jersey, based upon New Jersey State laws, the end product could include a Ground Water Classification Exception Area (CEA), a Declaration of Environmental Restriction (DER) and/or an alternate Direct Contact soil cleanup standard.

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9. Does New Jersey allow the use of Risk Based Corrective Action?

Yes, New Jersey uses Risk Based Corrective Action in all underground storage tank cases.

There are two possible paths or Tiers which are:

NJ RBCA Tier I: Compare initial Site Investigation or Remedial Investigation work to New Jersey's Soil Cleanup Criteria (latest version 7/11/96) and the Ground Water Quality Standards. Remediate to these levels or move to Tier II.

NJ RBCA Tier II: Define the extent of soil and ground water contamination to unrestricted use levels. Conduct appropriate contaminant fate and transport modeling to determine what levels of contamination can be left behind to prevent direct contact under engineering and institutional controls, to prevent further degradation of ground water, and to allow ground water to naturally attenuate under a Classification Exception Area. Conduct a risk assessment consistent with the EPA's methodology for an alternate direct contact soil cleanup standard.

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10. Do I have to remove my UST?

No, if your tank system is not temporarily closed as described below, and is in compliance with all applicable regulations, you do not have to remove your underground storage tank. All regulated USTs must be upgraded or closed by December 22, 1998. It is, however, good practice to remove USTs not currently in use and may reduce ones environmental liabilities.

An UST may be "temporarily closed" for up to 12 months by removing all product and maintaining all existing cathodic protection systems. In addition, an UST which has been empty for more than 12 months must be closed unless a site investigation in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E is conducted and submitted to the department for review and approval.

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11. Do I have to be certified to do UST work?

Yes, all persons who provide services on underground storage tank systems (USTs) which are regulated pursuant to P.L. 1986 c.102 must be certified by the Department of Environmental Protection in a particular classification or classifications or perform the services while under the immediate on-site supervision of a person certified in that classification. All certified individuals may only perform these activities while working for a firm certified in the same classification(s). The classifications of certification are Installation (Entire System or Release Detection Monitoring Systems), Closure, Tank Testing, Corrosion Protection System Analyst (Cathodic Protection Tester or Cathodic Protection Specialist) and Subsurface Evaluation.

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12. Can I get a list of all the registered underground storage tanks in New Jersey?

Yes, a copy of the department's UST Registration and Billing database is available to the public as a downloadable file. The file is comma delimited, compressed, using PKZIP, into a 3,021,293 byte file that includes a data dictionary explaining the fields and a readme file. The department anticipates updating this file quarterly.

This information is also available to the public on two 3.5-inch, 1.44 Mb diskettes. The discs can be obtained from the Maps and Publications Sales Office, P.O. Box 438, Trenton, NJ 08625-0438 at 609/777-1038. They sell for $25 and will be updated quarterly.

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13. Can I get a list of all the leaking underground storage tanks in New Jersey?

Yes, a list of the regulated UST contamination cases is now available exclusively on the Internet. This list contains selected information from the regulated UST contamination database for the regulated community to determine the status of their leaking UST case. This list is sorted alphabetically by county and municipality.

In addition, the department's Known Contaminated Sites in New Jersey includes all leaking underground storage tank cases and is available from the Office of Maps and Publications at 609/777-1038 or 777-1039. The cost for the publication is $15.

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14. How do I find out who is assigned to my leaking underground storage tank case?

The status of a regulated leaking underground storage tank case can be found in the regulated UST contamination cases list which is now available exclusively on the Internet. This link includes the UST case number, registration number, address, program currently overseeing the case, the case status, and the BUST case manager.

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15. What can I do if I disagree with my case manager?

If you disagree with your case manager on specific requirements of your case, first contact your case manager to discuss the requirements. If an agreement is not reached, contact the case manager's supervisor to discuss the requirements. If an agreement can not be reached at this level, ask the supervisor to discuss the case specific situation with the Section Chief. If an agreement still is not reached the issue should be raised to the bureau chiefs attention. These steps can be eliminated if time is of the essence. If the situation can not be resolved, a Dispute Resolution may be filed with the department at any step in the process.

Dispute Resolution is a formal process for resolving disputes of technical requiements. To aid in this process, the department developed a Dispute resolution Guidance document which was implemented on August 17, 1993. Specific timeframes were established for a decision to be rendered at each level of management.

If you have questions regarding the Dispute Resolution process or would like a copy of the guidance document, please contact your assigned case manager or 609/292-8761.

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16. How can I find out the status of a leaking underground storage tank case?

The status of a regulated leaking underground storage tank case can be found in the regulated UST contamination cases list which is now available exclusively on the Internet. This link includes the UST case number, registration number, address, program currently overseeing the case, the case status, and the BUST case manager. If additional information is needed, the case manager may be contacted directly for a brief update of the case status. Consultants conducting file searches and due dilligence inquiries for a client should follow the NJ Open Public Records Act (OPRA) proceedures. The request should include a list of all cases you wish to review.

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17. What is the BUST Cooperative Venture Program?

The BUST Cooperative Venture Program is an alternative case processing plan intended to increase cooperation between UST owners and operators and the department in pursuing site cleanup compliance with federal and state regulations. These changes should facilitate the department's efforts to maximize the "teamwork approach" with the regulated community, while continuing our mission to protect public health and the environment.

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18. As an individual, can I participate in the Cooperative Venture Program?

Yes, an individual resposible party, as well as responsible parties with multiple cases, may participate in the Cooperative Venture Program. Please contact your assigned case manager to discuss the development of an agreed upon schedule.

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19. How do I know if an individual or firm is certified to do work at my UST site?

The DEP's Bureau of Revenue maintains the list of certified firms and individuals. You may also ask the contractor to see a copy of the firm's UST Certification Card and Placard. Each individual and firm is issued a certification card and placard. In addition, a list of certified firms is available through the UST Home Page. The Bureau of Revenue can be reached at 609/777-1013.

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20. How do I inquire about or obtain a list of laboratories certified by the State of New Jersey?

The Office of Quality Assurance handles the certification of laboratories. Their number is 609/292-3950.

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21. How can I find out when the next regulatory refresher class (commonly referred to as the UST certification course) is, and when do I need to take it?

The course is mandated only for renewal of certification and initial certification for those exempt from examination. Those exempt from the exam must take the course within one (1) year of certification. Those renewing their certification must take the course within one (1) year before renewal. The UST certification course is a regulatory refresher ONLY. It is not intended to be a primer for the exam, nor is it the sole requirement for certification or renewal. All candidates for renewal must not only take the course but also be current with their OSHA training and submit an application for renewal.

To find out when the next regulatory refresher class is you may call: a)Rutgers Continuing Education (908) 932-9271; b) New Jersey Institute of Technology (800) 624-9850; or c) New Jersey prossional Engineers Society (609) 393-0099.

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