Contributed by Todd Perry, Principal, PPM Consultants
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) with the help of The Louisiana Oil Marketers and Convenience Store Association has launched an ambitious initiative to tackle environmental risks associated with underground storage tanks (USTs). The Underground Storage Tank Grant Program, effective from January 1, 2024, is a significant stride towards enhancing the state’s environmental standards, specifically outlined in LAC 33:XI.303. This program is a boon for private entities looking to upgrade or improve their single-wall UST systems, aligning them with current environmental safety standards.
Purpose and Impact
The primary aim of this grant program is to assist in financing the costs necessary for upgrading single-wall UST systems. By focusing on these improvements, Louisiana is taking a proactive approach in preventing environmental contamination and protecting public health. The move not only underscores the state’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices but also supports businesses in achieving compliance without the financial burden usually associated with such upgrades.
To qualify for the grant, applicants must meet specific criteria:
- Domicile in Louisiana.
- Registration of the site with the Department as a single-wall UST system.
- Compliance with the Environmental Quality Act and associated fees.
These criteria ensure that the grants are directed towards those entities that are committed to environmental stewardship and are in good standing with regulatory requirements.
The grant covers a range of equipment essential for UST system upgrades, including double-wall tanks and product piping, submersible turbine pumps, and spill prevention equipment. This comprehensive list ensures that all critical aspects of UST systems are addressed, minimizing the risk of leaks and environmental contamination.
Funding and Application Process
With a cap of $3,000,000 per state fiscal year and individual grants up to $150,000, the program offers substantial support for eligible projects. The application process is designed to be straightforward, with submissions accepted from January 1 to March 31 each year. Following a review period and compliance inspections, funding priorities are set based on the Department’s Prioritization Sheet, ensuring that the most impactful projects receive support.
Steps to Success
Once approved, applicants have two fiscal years to complete the upgrade or improvement projects. The process includes notifying the Department at critical installation junctures and upon project completion, allowing for inspections that ensure compliance with the approved scope of work.
To receive reimbursement, applicants must submit the Grant Program Reimbursement Form along with all paid invoices within 90 days of the project’s completion. This step is crucial in securing the grant funds, with the Department committed to issuing reimbursement checks within 90 days of verifying the completeness and accuracy of the submission.
The Underground Storage Tank Grant Program represents a critical investment in Louisiana’s environmental future. By providing financial assistance for UST upgrades, the state is not only preventing potential environmental hazards but also supporting businesses in their compliance efforts. This initiative is a testament to Louisiana’s dedication to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all its residents.
For more information about the UST Grant Program or to apply, interested parties can contact Kyle Blanchard at (225) 219-3618, via email at USTGrantProgram@la.gov or visit https://deq.louisiana.gov/page/ust-grant-program%20. For more information about PPM Consultants, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.