Third Party Inspection Program for Underground Storage Tanks
Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where do I find an inspector?
- DEC maintains a list of inspectors certified to perform operations inspections.
- Is there an Inspector handbook?
- Yes. DEC has created an Inspector Handbook to help outline inspection requirements and answer questions about filling out the inspection report form.
General Program Questions
- How does it work?
- Once every 3 years, an owner or operator must hire a certified Operations Inspector to ensure the UST system is in compliance with release detection, spill and overfill prevention and corrosion protection. "In compliance" means that all your equipment is present and operating properly.
The tank owner\operator has up to 120 days to correct deficiencies found during inspection without penalty.
- Why is there an inspection program?
- DEC inspections have shown that many UST systems are not being operated properly, even with new tanks. Often times equipment is found not functioning, broken or simply missing. Many tank owners still cannot detect leaks, spills or rust at their UST systems. Also, tank owners have told us they would rather work with a private inspector than deal with a state inspection.
We have also learned that most tank systems had at least one problem discovered during inspection that required fixing. The sooner you inspect the more time you have to correct any problems. Those who wait until the end of the inspection season may have difficulty finding an available inspector and having repairs completed timely.
- What tanks require inspection under the regulations?
- Inspection is required for all currently in use and temporarily out of use tank systems regulated under 18 AAC 78. This includes tanks as well as piping. Only tanks subject to UST regulations need to be inspected. Residential heating oil tanks are exempt.
- Doesn't the State pay for the Inspection?
- No. It is the responsibility of the UST Owner or Operator to pay for the inspector.
- I have a tank out of service. Must this tank be inspected?
- Yes. Inspection is required if the tank is not permanently closed by the date an inspection is due.
- What are the benefits to me?
- UST system is inspected by a third party and not by the State.
- Up to 120 days to correct any problems without DEC involvement.
- Inspection combined with other pre-existing test requirements to save money.
- Small problems discovered before they become large ones (i.e.: leak detection system is fixed).
- Save money by having UST system periodically checked. This should extend the life of your UST.
- Where can I get more information?
- Contaminated Sites Program contacts
- When is my first inspection due?
- Check your existing UST tank tag for the expiration date.
- What paperwork must be filed?
- Owners or Operators must submit a 16 page inspection report form signed and dated by the owner/operator and the certified inspector. You will have until September 30 of the year inspection is due to submit your inspection report to DEC. Inspector must submit Inspection Notification form after the inspection.
- What happens after my UST system passes inspection?
- You will then submit your signed inspection report to DECas indicated on the report form. DEC will then send you a permanent tag to display at the facility. Your distributor must be able to see your tag before delivering fuel.
- What happens if I don't have 12 months of leak detection records?
- If you pass inspection but do not have 12 months worth of leak detection records, further follow-up will be required.
- What happens if my tank can't pass an inspection or if my tank doesn't get inspected at all?
- Your tank will not be allowed to receive fuel until the tank passes the inspection and receives a tag or decal. You will not need to do an inspection if you decommission the tank, in accordance with 18 AAC 78, prior to the inspection due date.
- How can I prepare for an inspection?
- Read your DEC UST Operation and Maintenance Manual for Owners and Operator's. Regular "O&M" will keep your inspection costs down.
- Review your equipment manuals and booklets.
- Have all of your records and receipts ready for the inspector to review.
- Complete the DEC "Voluntary Self Inspection Checklist" found in the UST Operation and Maintenance Manual for Owners and Operator's.
- If you have any questions, please contact us.
- How does the "Tag" work?
- Once DEC approves your inspection results, you will receive an UST operating tag. You must have the new tag in place no later than October 31 of the year inspection is due. The tag must be posted where your petroleum distributor can see it prior to delivery.