By Todd Perry, Principal Monroe Office
We are routinely asked if retail gas stations, specifically underground storage tanks (USTs), are required to participate in the EPCRA Section 312 Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting and are they required to have Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans.
Below is an excerpt from EPA on the requirement and threshold reporting amounts:
For EPCRA Section 311 safety data sheet (SDS) reporting and EPCRA Section 312 Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting, the minimum thresholds for reporting for gasoline and diesel fuel stored completely underground at retail gas stations in compliance with underground storage tank (UST) regulations are 75,000 gallons and 100,000 gallons, respectively (40 CFR 370.10(a)(2)(ii) and (iii)). Is there an exemption for gasoline or diesel fuel from Tier II reporting at a facility other than a retail gas station?
Retail gas stations are not exempt from Tier II reporting but have higher thresholds, as noted. The higher thresholds only apply to retail facilities engaged in selling gasoline and/or diesel fuel principally to the public for motor vehicle use on land.
A facility may be eligible for other exemptions under EPCRA Sections 311 and 312 for the storage of gasoline or diesel fuel; for example, a farm that uses gasoline or diesel fuel to run farm machinery may be eligible for the exemption for a substance to the extent it is used in routine agricultural operations (EPCRA section 311(e)(5), 40 CFR 370.13(c)(3))
If the facility doesn’t meet the criteria for the higher thresholds for a retail gas station or is not eligible for other exemptions in EPCRA section 311(e) (codified in 40 CFR 370.13), then the facility is subject to the standard applicability criteria in 40 CFR 370.10 for SDS and Tier II inventory reporting under EPCRA Sections 311 and 312.
Below is an excerpt from EPA on SPCC requirements for transfer areas associated with exempt USTs:
Gas stations typically are not subject to the SPCC Rule because completely buried storage tanks subject to 40 CFR Part 280 or 281 are exempt per §112.1(d)(4). However, a gas station would be subject to the SPCC Rule if it has more than 1,320 gallons of oil in aggregate above ground storage capacity (e.g., aboveground storage tanks containing gasoline or used motor oil). If a gas station is subject to the SPCC Rule because of its aboveground storage capacity, what requirements, if any, must the fuel pumps or dispensers connected to underground storage tanks (USTs) meet to be in compliance with the SPCC Rule?
Transfer areas, such as areas containing dispensers or other oil transfer equipment, associated with exempted USTs at an otherwise regulated SPCC facility are subject to the secondary containment requirements in §112.7(c). A transfer operation is one in which oil is moved from or into some form of transportation, storage, equipment, or other device, into or from some other or similar form of transportation, such as a pipeline, truck, tank car, or other storage, equipment, or device. Areas where oil is transferred but no loading or unloading rack is present are subject to §112.7(c), and thus appropriate containment and/or diversionary structures are required, which may include active containment such a s response action or sorbent deployment. EPA does not require specifically-sized containment for transfer areas; however, containment size must be based on good engineering practice (§112.3(d)).
So, the simple answer is that retail gas stations are required to participate in Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting if they have storage greater than 75,000 gallons of gasoline and 100,000 gallons of diesel. Retail gas stations typically are not subject to the SPCC Rule because completely buried storage tanks subject to 40 CFR Part 280 or 281 are exempt per §112.1(d)(4). However, if the location has more than 1,320 gallons of oil aboveground, an SPCC plan would be required on the aboveground containers.