ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging owners of underground storage tanks (USTs) that are 30 years or older to obtain insurance in order to satisfy the EPA’s financial responsibility requirements.
The EPA’s financial responsibility requirement states that UST owners and operators must pay the costs of cleaning up leaks from USTs and compensate third parties for bodily injury or property damage resulting from leaks, and the UST financial responsibility regulation allows UST owners and operators to choose from a variety of financial mechanisms to comply with the regulation. One of the financial mechanisms is the use of insurance.
Because of the risks of older USTs, many current providers are unwilling to insure 30-year-old and older USTs. The EPA was able to identify a few companies that continue to insure aging USTs. Each provider identified different conditions under which they insure aging USTs. Because insuring USTs involves many equipment and site-specific factors, the EPA advises owners and operators to contact their insurance agent or broker to discuss their unique risk profile and insurance options.
The insurance providers generally agreed that owners and operators can increase the likelihood of obtaining coverage by taking certain actions. For example, owners and operators can demonstrate compliance by maintaining thorough inspection and system maintenance records.
Recently, the EPA, with assistance from NACS and other pertinent organizations, developed wildfire guidance as a resource for UST and AST owners and operators, helping them prepare for and respond to the catastrophic effects and environmental harm that may occur because of partial or fully burned UST systems or oil ASTs and associated piping and appurtenances. The EPA also offers an Underground Storage Tank Flood Guide with suggested practices that may help owners and operators quickly and safely restart UST systems and bring them back into service in the event of a flood.
Read more about the expiring warranty issue and insurance on underground storage tanks in “Tank Time” in Fuels Market News Magazine.