The Florida Secondary Containment Deadline Has Passed
The deadline for Florida owners of underground and aboveground storage tank systems to install secondary containment ended on January 1, 2010. Provisions in the UST and AST rules allowed owners with signed contracts or local government permits to continue the work they initiated before the deadline for an additional 90 days, and that deadline ended on March 30, 2010. So just what is the current status for compliance with this deadline?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is still assessing the compliance status, but as of May 24, 2010, less than 100 owners have "officially" missed the deadline. Combined compliance rates for the December 31 UST deadline, the January 1 AST deadline, and the 90 day post-deadline provision date exceeded 95%, with the remaining five percent either in an out-of-service status or under enforcement with a signed consent order. This compliance rate is truly exceptional and a credit to the Storage Tank Regulation Section, the DEP District Tanks Program Staff, and the County Storage Tank System Inspectors.
In the next several months, the Department's Storage Tank Regulation Section and the District and County Storage Tank Programs will be pursuing enforcement for the facilities that missed the deadline and ensuring that the facilities under consent orders comply with the time schedules established in the orders. Owners with facilities in an out-of-service status should be making plans to fund upgrades of their storage tank systems within the time period provided by the rules (one to two years, depending on the corrosion protection of tank), or they should be making arrangements for permanent closure of their systems.
In late April, 2010, there were several attempts to attach provisions to bills in the Florida House of Representatives to extend the deadline. The Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, the Florida Petroleum Council, and the DEP were not in favor of the proposed changes. Nevertheless, a Bill
passed Legislature on the last day of the session with language that stated that "any entity who has entered into a consent order with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by June 30, 2010 will now be required to complete all of the upgrades by September 30, 2011." This new law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2010, but as of May 25, 2010, has not been signed by the Governor. The new law also requires facilities completing the upgrades by September 30, 2011, to be in compliance with the Florida tank rules. This will probably include the rules requiring a demonstration of financial responsibility, so it should be interesting to see how this new requirement will effect storage tank system management in Florida.
We recommend that you consult with your County Inspector or District Office if you have any questions, or for general technical assistance about the rules, please contact John Svec at 850-245-8845. More information is available at the DEP website:
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