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Federal regulations governing underground storage tanks require tank owners and/or operators to have financial responsibility for taking corrective action (cleaning up a release) and for third party claims resulting from a law suit(s) filed against a tank owner and/or operator for damages caused by the release of petroleum from an underground storage tank system.
Based on the 2008 Amendment to the UST Act (Public Chapter #794 of the Public Acts of 2008), on or after July 1, 2008, all regulated tanks which are registered with the Division of Underground Storage Tanks of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will be fund eligible for costs associated with releases which occur on or after July 1, 2008. The Tennessee Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund will serve as the financial assurance mechanism or as financial responsibility for all registered petroleum underground storage tanks which are regulated by Tennessee and not deferred from fund eligibility by regulation. Therefore owners and/or operators of registered, regulated tanks (not deferred from fund eligibility requirements by rule) meet the federal financial responsibility requirements.
If the date of the release of petroleum contamination from a regulated underground storage tank system was before July 1, 2008, fund eligibility will be based on (1) timely registration of the petroleum underground storage tanks; (2) timely payment of annual fees for tanks and/or tank compartments as required by the versions of UST Act and regulations in effect at the time of the release; and (3) filing an Application for Fund Eligibility by the deadline (see below).
If the date of release of petroleum contamination from a regulated underground storage tank system was on or after July 1, 2008, fund eligibility will be based on (1) registration of the petroleum underground storage tank prior to the date of the release and (2) filing an Application for Fund Eligibility by the deadline (see below).
Application for Fund Eligibility Deadline – The UST Act establishes a deadline for tank owners, tank operators or petroleum site owners to file an Application for Fund Eligibility. If the application form is not received by the UST Division by the deadline established by law, the release WILL NOT BE FUND ELIGIBLE. The application must be received:
Within 60 days of a release which was identified in any manner other than the process for confirmation of a suspected release in the regulations; or
Within 90 days of the discovery of evidence of a suspected release which is subsequently confirmed in accordance with the regulatory requirements.
[NOTE: The 90 day deadline applies even if confirmation of a release does not occur within 90 days of the discovery of evidence of a suspected release. An application should be filed as soon as possible after a release is suspected, even if all the confirmation steps have not been taken.]
A release may be fund eligible but still not be reimbursed for one or both types of reimbursement: (1) clean-up costs and (2) for third party claims. This is because the tank owner and/or operator or the petroleum site owner must comply with certain provisions of the regulations to have fund coverage for each specific release.
Fund coverage of corrective action costs hinges on meeting 18 provisions of the regulations. These provisions are listed as subparagraphs (a) through (r) in rule 0400-18-01-.09(10).
Fund coverage of third party claims also hinges on meeting 8 provisions of the regulations. These provisions are listed in subparagraphs (a) through (f) in rule 0400-18-01-.09(11) and subparagraphs (a) and (b) in rule 0400-18-01-.09(13).