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More Money for Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup in Tennessee & Alabama

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Countless underground storage tank (UST) cleanup sites in Tennessee are approaching their $1 million UST fund limit. However, a recently passed bill in the Tennessee Senate will now provide a significant financial safeguard for tank owners as well as help ease the cleanup burden.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 92 was passed on April 13, and it will raise the reimbursement cap for the UST program in Tennessee from $1 million to $2 million. In the past, tank owners were fiscally responsible if they went over their allotted $1 million max.

"The recent increase in Tennessee's UST Trust Fund coverage to $2 million per eligible occurrence gives tank owners greater piece of mind that an eligible release will have enough funding to be cleaned up," said Greg Stephenson, PM principal and vice-president. "The only out of pocket expense for the tank owner will be the initial deductible, which ranges from $10,000 to $20,000, depending upon site upgrades."  

The bill will cover all cases currently in remediation and any new releases in the future.  More specifically, sites still undergoing corrective action on July 1, and releases that occur on or after July 1. The fund will also be responsible for cleanup for contamination due to release from petroleum USTs on a per-site, per-occurrence basis.

"This is also great news for PM because we will no longer have to renegotiate projects with tank owners if they exceed their trust fund coverage," said Stephenson.

In May, the Alabama Underground and Above Ground Storage Tank Trust Fund Management Board also voted to increase the coverage limits for the UST Trust Fund from $1.3 million to $1.5 million per release. The increase will cause 98 percent of all eligible releases from UST and AST facilities to be fully covered under the Fund.

The recommendation will go to the Environmental Management Commission for approval. The vote is expected to take place later this year. When approved by the Commission, the coverage limit increase will be backdated to all eligible releases.