The Nez Perce Tribe (Tribe) Water Resources Division was awarded a Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Prevention Grant beginning in 2008 to continue the successes of previous UST Direct Implementation Tribal Cooperative Agreements (DITCAs) Compliance Assistance Program from 2002 to present. Previous grants have focused on capacity development and compliance assistance. Currently, EPA certified UST inspectors conduct UST inspections within the reservation with the Tribe providing compliance assistance to owners and operators.
The Tribe was awarded a 3-year Community-Wide Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Assessment Grant. This grant is an extension of our current Underground Storage Tank (UST) Compliance Assistance program (FY2002-FY2018). The LUST Assessment Grant funds LUST Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) and make proposals to clean-up contaminated sites. The LUST Assessment Program objectives are identify, characterize, prioritize, and ultimately recommend properties for environmental cleanups, and if warranted, to return LUST properties within the Reservation boundaries to beneficial use.
The Tribe’s tasks to complete over the three year grant period are:
Prioritize and select possible LUST contaminated sites on the Reservation for Phase I ESAs
Conduct Phase I ESAs
Rank Phase I ESAs for continuing work as Phase II ESAs
Conduct Phase II ESAs
Complete Risk Based Corrective Action (RCBA) evaluations
The completion of an ESA for each property is an important component of the “all appropriate inquiry” requirements to satisfy the “innocent landowner provisions” under CERCLA. Sites selected for Phase I ESAs will be identified predominately through the Tribe’s capacity development activities funded by the LUST Prevention Grant. Additionally, the Tribe will identify sites based on receipt of complaints from the public, realtors, and referrals from IDEQ. Site ownership, initial determination of potentially responsible parties, and other EPA criteria will determine which sites are eligible for assessment under this grant.
Phase II ESAs will be used to determine if “recognized environmental conditions” identified in the Phase I Assessments need to be cleaned up. The Tribe will contract with drilling, geophysical, hydrological or environmental engineering contractors on an as needed basis. A Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) will be drafted and submitted to EPA for approval prior to collecting any environmental data. Water samples and soil samples will be collected, delivered under chain-of-custody to a contract environmental laboratory, and analyzed for appropriate “chemicals of concern” as identified by “recognized environmental conditions” as determined in the Phase I Site Assessments.
To ensure a “clean closure” from a LUST decommissioning samples will be collected from representative locations and analyzed for appropriate contaminants based on the previous contents of the tank. Soils below the tank and piping will be tested. In addition, if it appears that contamination has reached the groundwater, groundwater samples will be collected. In selecting sample types, locations, and methods of measurement, the following factors will be considered: the method of closure, the type of substance stored, the type of soil that was used as backfill, the depth to groundwater, and any other factors appropriate to identifying the release.
Risk Based Corrective Action (RCBA) evaluations will be conducted based on the Phase II Assessment results. The RBCA is a practical management approach that focuses explicitly on the protection of human health and the environment while promoting energy and cost-efficient remedies to allow limited resources to be targeted to the most hazardous sites.
There are currently 18 regulated facilities on Nez Perce Reservation with Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) – 2nd largest Indian Land UST population in EPA Region 10. UST’s are regulated under Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005). Unlike environmental statutes such as the CWA or the CAA, RCRA contains no provision for the delegation of regulatory authority to tribes. However, EPA provides grant funding for the management and execution of RCRA programs. Federal UST regulations implementing Subtitle I are contained in 40 CFR Part 280.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) has made certain revisions to the 1988 underground storage tank (UST) regulations. These changes establish Federal requirements that are similar to key portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct); they also update the 1988 UST and SPA regulations. Changes to the regulations include:
Due to the amount of the significant regulatory changes for the next 3 years (2015 – 2018), incremental implementation of these regulations are being initiated by the Nez Perce Tribe UST Program to avoid difficulty for Owners and Operators meeting the new requirements.
Implementation of monthly walk-through inspections at regulated UST facilities began October 2015 as part of the required monthly operation documentation . The objective of performing monthly inspections is to identify and resolve problems quickly and decrease the chance of a potential spill or release. Although these new regulations require that the containment or turbine sumps be inspected only on a yearly basis, it is being recommended that these areas be inspected quarterly, particularly if water and/or corrosion are issues at your facility.
These forms conform to industry standards and recommendations (PEI 900 and 1200), and meets the EPA requirement for walk through documentation found in 40 CFR 280.36. In addition to the form, it is recommended to take photographs with a date stamp to further document the condition of your UST equipment and proof of your monthly inspection.
Designating Class A, Class B and Class C operators for UST facilities began February 2017 with notification mailed to the 18 regulated UST facilities on Nez Perce Reservation. Each designated operator must be trained and pass a comparable standalone examination of the requirements. Operator Training rules and requirements are found in 40 CFR Part 280.240 thru 280.245 (pages 41666 & 41667). A reference sheet is provided of Operator Class Training Requirements here or visit https://www.epa.gov/ust/operator-training-minimum-training-requirements-and-training-options
Designated Owner and Operators on the Nez Perce Reservation must take have taken and passed this exam by October 13, 2018. In keeping with US EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) commitment to the 18 UST facilities, EPA has developed a free exam to help class A and B designated operators in Indian country meet the 2015 UST requirement for designated operators to demonstrate knowledge, also known as the Operator Training requirement. The online exam for class A and B designated underground storage tank (UST) operators is now available on EPA’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/ust/class-a-and-class-b-ust-operator. On the website you will find not only how to access the exam, but also EPA’s guidance documents which can help designated operators prepare for and complete the exam.
A UST facility is required to designate their “A” and “B” Operators and post for personnel, inspectors and emergency personnel. This form is designed to meet the requirements found in 40 CFR Part 280.240 thru 280.245 (pages 41666 & 41667).
Below is a list of informative literature and reference material to help owners, operators and the general public understand federal UST regulations. The material has been updated to reflect the 2015 changes to the new regulations. Additional updates and new material are being added :