A guide to Underground Storage Tank Removal in Minnesota
Underground Storage Tank Removal in Minnesota
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is cracking down on the removal of old and possibly hazardous underground storage tank removal. In an effort to protect our soil and water systems, Minnesota is enforcing strict guidelines for underground storage tank removal. In this article, we are going to explain the Minnesota UST regulations and the UST removal process.
Minnesota Underground Storage Tank Program Regulation
There are about 13,000 USTs in use that are regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The MPCA sets specific guidelines, codes of practice, and industry standards to govern the rules under the UST program regulation that has been in existence for the past 29 years. These rules are to be adhered to by both Tank Owners and Tank Contractors. MPCA’s operating and design rules are applicable to USTs that contain petroleum or any other hazardous substances. The regulations include overfill protection, piping and tank corrosion protection, release detection, operation and maintenance testing, inspections, secondary containment, and more.
The complete Minnesota UST rules are available at Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7150, Underground Storage Tanks.
Temporary or Permanent Closure of Underground Storage Tank
Provisions allow some tanks to be closed temporarily for less than 90 days, but the safeguards like leak detection and corrosion protection must be done regularly for these tanks. If the tank remains idle for more than 90 days, MPCA marks the tank as Temporarily Closed when you submit the ‘UST Change in Status’ form. In case of closure for more than 90 days, the owner must empty the tank, secure all dispensers and pumps, lockout the fill pipe, leave the vent line functioning and make sure that no water enters the tank. The tank should not be restarted or filled again before contacting the MPCA inspector who observes the tank when it is not in use.
If this idle state or temporary closure continues for 1 year, then it is mandatory in Minnesota to permanently close the tank, unless an official MPCA approval for continuing the state of temporary closure is obtained. If a temporarily closed tank is to be returned to service, MPCA must also grant approval. To get approval, the tank owner must make sure that any water in the tank is removed, testing with a cathodic protection system is carried out, and that they are compliant with tank system construction and design standards. Other tests like tank and line tightness, overfill protection testing and applicable containment testing must also be done. The MPCA will change the tank status to Active when you submit the ‘UST Change in Status form’ once again.
If the tank is being closed permanently, it cannot just be abandoned because corrosion will eventually lead to leaks and even tank collapse. There is a method of permanent closure of underground storage tanks, without removing it, where the piping and the tank is filled with inert soil material and would be closed-in-place. However, in many cases, the preferred method is the complete removal of the vent line, piping, and the tank.
Underground Storage Tank Removal Process in Minnesota
There is a step-by-step UST removal process to avoid unexpected expenses and unpredicted delays during the cleanup and removal of USTs:
- If your tank is not registered, then your first step should be filing a ‘UST Notification form’ with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
- Hire MPCA certified contractors who have insurance coverage and the proper training. Underground storage tank removal can be dangerous. Certain measures must be taken to protect people and the environment, like purging of the explosive vapors, removal of any potential ignition sources, and other explosion and fire risk mitigating. A certified contractor would make sure that a standard and safe process is carried out for UST removal.
- Collect reference information from multiple contractors. When choosing an MPCA certified contractor, look for a company with years of experience, a clear track record, and lots of positive customer feedback. The best contractors will take care of everything for you, including form submittals, notifications, soil testing, subcontracting, safe removal, final in-filling, and other required steps.
- A ‘Ten-day Advance Notice form’ needs to be submitted to notify the MPCA of the UST removal well in advance. On the date of the tank removal, the Fire Marshal, MPCA, and other appropriate authorities must be notified.
- Arrange for a site assessment for any possible contamination, which should be followed by the cleanup of the site.
- Storing the excavated soil in plastic and always keeping it covered can help in preventing any run-offs and infiltrations. Your contractor can advise you accordingly.
- Get approval from MPCA for soil treatment and from the local officials for any land treatment and soil storage.
- The contractor and tank owner must again sign and submit the ‘UST Notification form’to MPCA within 30 days of the UST removal.
- Recycling the fuel and fuel water contents, removal of sludges and leftover liquids, and proper disposal of the tank must be ensured. All leftover sludge is assumed to be hazardous unless the tests say otherwise.
Selling a Property with an Underground Storage Tank
If a property is being sold in Minnesota and has an active or a closed tank, the property owner must disclose the existence of the UST. Then, it becomes the responsibility of the buyer to meet the requirements of the MPCA. The buyer must submit the ‘Change in Status form’ to notify MPCA of the change in ownership.
However, selling a property with an underground storage tank can be more difficult. Many buyers prefer for it to be removed, or expect a price reduction to accommodate for UST removal in the future. In order to sell more quickly and at a higher sales price, many real estate agents recommend removing underground tanks when listing a property for sale.
The Importance of UST Removal in Minnesota
Underground storage tank removal in Minnesota is complicated and can be quite frustrating. But strict regulations and adherence are in the best interest of our great state and its residents. MPCA UST regulations must be carefully followed, step-by-step. Any misstep could lead to fines, delays, or contamination.
If you prefer to have an experienced contractor handle the entire UST removal process for you, we can help. Rollie Sales is an MPA certified contractor and has years of experience under our belt. We know the UST removal process like the back of our hand. Contact Us today for the peace of mind of a job done right.