Amendments To Chapter 691, Rules for Underground oil Storage Facilities

AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 691, RULES FOR UNDERGROUND OIL STORAGE FACILITIES

By: Rudman Winchell Attorney Virginia K. Putnam

The Rules for Underground Oil Storage Facilities were adopted in 1991, to reduce the number of discharges from underground oil storage tanks, to protect surface water, ground water and drinking water supplies, to prevent vapor intrusion in homes and other buildings, and to generally protect human health and the environment.   On January 7, 2014, amendments to Chapter 691 were approved by the DEP commissioner and the Secretary of State and became final. As set forth by the DEP, the primary purposes for the rulemaking were to amend current requirements by providing additional options for conducting a site assessment when an underground oil storage tank or facility is abandoned and to update the rules regarding the installation, operation and maintenance requirements of underground storage facilities.

Some of the more significant changes to Chapter 691 include the following:

Under the general facility installation requirement, the facility owner must maintain a to-scale, as-built drawing of the facility at the facility or the owner’s primary place of business for all installations and replacements of tanks and piping after January 1, 2014. The drawing must show the location of tanks, piping, dispensers and other major underground facility components. The plans should be used to help ensure the safety of workers prior to future subsurface work.

Actual oil leaks and discharges now must be reported to the Commissioner by the facility owner, operator, or the certified tank installer or inspector within two hours of discovery. This does not apply to certain discharges of ten gallons or less as long as the requirements set forth in the rules are followed. If there is evidence of a possible leak, but the oil has not yet discharged to the environment, there is still a 24 hour reporting period.

The minimum corrective action requirements in the event of a discharge were amended substantially.

The site assessment requirements in the event of a facility closure or when tanks or piping are removed and replaced have also changed substantially. See Appendices P and Q.

Updates to the installation, operation and maintenance requirements were made to be consistent with changes in industry and national standards of practice. See Appendix R.

To review the changes in their entirety, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/rules/.