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Underground Storage Tanks - Delivery Prohibition Guidance
The District Department of the Environment (DDOE), in accordance with Title 20 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Section 5601.12 (20 DCMR 5601.12) may prohibit the delivery of a regulated product to an underground storage tank system when it is determined that the system is not properly registered with the District of Columbia government.
EPA has defined Delivery Prohibition as: prohibiting the delivery, deposit, or acceptance of product to an underground storage tank that has been determined to be ineligible by EPA or the implementing agency of such delivery, deposit, or acceptance.
It is DDOE’s policy to also prohibit the delivery of regulated substances, through the issuance of an immediate cease and desist order, to an underground storage tank system that is in serious violation of the District’s Underground Storage Tank Regulations (20 DCMR 55 - 70), as defined in DDOE’s Enforcement Guidelines. The Enforcement Guidelines define serious violations as those that have significant potential to harm human or environmental health or are otherwise flagrant and egregious. In addition, any fraudulent activity or recalcitrant behavior is a serious violation. Examples of serious violations in the Underground Storage Tank Program include:
- Missing or inoperable spill prevention, overfill protection, release detection, or corrosion protection.
- A known release from one or more tanks in the system, until the impacts of that release are known.
- Lack of adequate financial responsibility to respond to a release of petroleum products from an underground tank system.
Serious Violations will be ascertained either through the regularly scheduled Significant Operational Compliance (SOC) inspection process or from inspections conducted in response to complaints.
DDOE retains complete discretion to determine if a delivery prohibition is advisable for operation and maintenance violations.
Decision Process for Determining Delivery Prohibition:
Improperly Registered Tank Systems
By the second workday after the expiration of the previous year’s registration (12/31), DDOE/UST staff will compile a list of all tank systems that have not been properly registered. This list will be published on DDOE’s website and will identify these tank systems as ones where delivery of product is prohibited. The list will be updated to remove the names of these systems as they become properly registered, within three (3) business days of receipt of the registration information and fee.
Upon discovery of a serious violation that warrants the enactment of delivery prohibition through the issuance of an immediate cease and desist order, the DDOE/UST staff member making the discovery shall alert the Chief of the Underground Storage Tank Branch (UST) within 24 hours. The Branch Chief will review the case in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and make a determination within 48 hours if a delivery prohibition is warranted or if other enforcement mechanisms could be used instead to gain compliance. If other enforcement options are chosen, the Branch Chief will instruct the appropriate staff to pursue those options, such as issuance of a Directive, Notice of Violation or Notice of Infraction (fine).
When the Branch Chief determines that a delivery prohibition is the proper course of action the site is entered into the UST Access database and the Associate Director of the Toxic Substances Division is alerted. The Branch Chief, or in his absence the Associate Director, must alert the Director’s Office of the action.
Improperly Registered Tanks
All tank systems must be registered by November 30 of each calendar year. For tanks that are not registered by the deadline, DDOE’s UST Program may notify the owner/operator of the tank system in writing of such delinquency by sending at least 1 invoice. The notice will state that if the tank system is still not registered when their current year registration ends on December 31, the tank system will be placed on a list of systems that are unregistered and for which delivery will be prohibited until registration has occurred. The list will be published on the DDOE Website. Notice must be served by certified mail or delivered by hand by a DDOE representative.
In situations where there is an immediate threat to human health or the environment, DDOE may initiate a delivery prohibition by issuing an immediate cease and desist order, pursuant to 20 DCMR § 6606. DDOE’s UST Program will alert the UST owner/operator or their representative in writing that the UST system cannot receive new deliveries of product until the system is brought into compliance. The written notice will state the violations and actions that must be taken to achieve compliance. The notice must also state how the owner/operator can inform DDOE of achieving compliance. The notice must also state the potential consequences for continuing to operate the UST system. Notice must be served by certified mail or delivered by hand by a DDOE representative.
For both, unregistered tanks and tanks with serious violations, DDOE’s UST program will make a good faith effort to determine who the delivery company is. If determined, the company will receive a copy of the delivery ban notice issued to the UST owner/operator. DDOE’s UST program will also post on DDOE’s website the facility name and address and state that a delivery prohibition is in place.
Green and Red (Yellow) Tags Provisions
For unregistered systems the UST Program will utilize a “green tag” approach. The current year registration certificate posted at the facility serves as a “green tag” for product delivery. Unregistered systems can be identified by the absence of a current year registration certificate posted at the facility. In addition, the UST program will compile a list of unregistered tanks and publish this list for Delivery Prohibition on DDOE’s Website.
For serious violations, UST program staff will affix a yellow tag (instead of red tag, to be consistent with Virginia and Maryland tag colors and to avoid confusion with existing red tags used for other purposes), lock clip and/or padlock to the fill of the noncompliant UST system. This tag or lock must be marked “Do Not Fill” and have DDOE’s UST contact information upon it. Should the fill be in a condition where locking or tagging is not feasible DDOE’s UST Staff may plug and label the fill in such a manner that alerts a delivery company but does not damage the fill port. Additional stickers or labels may be affixed to locations at the facility where DDOE deems it is warranted to alert a delivery company of the ban. In addition, DDOE’s UST program will compile a list of tanks where the delivery prohibition is in place due to serious violations and publish this list on DDOE’s website.
In accordance with 20 DCMR § 5601.12, no person shall deposit a regulated substance into an UST, without first confirming that the facility is a currently registered facility and that it has not been found to be in violation of the regulations by:
- Ensuring that a current certificate of registration is present at the facility (green tag); and
- Ensuring that the facility is not on the list of facilities at which delivery of a regulated substance has been prohibited by the Director (yellow tag/lock on fill port).
Unless DDOE’s UST program determines that there is an immediate threat to public health and safety the remaining product within the UST may be dispensed until the UST system is empty.
When an owner/operator achieves compliance, they are required to immediately notify DDOE’s UST program in writing indicating all measures taken to achieve compliance and the necessary supporting evidence. The UST staff shall review the compliance data and/or visit the site to confirm compliance, within three (3) business days of receipt of compliance correspondence. Removal of the tags, locks or labels will be performed or witnessed by a DDOE representative onsite. Within three (3) business days the UST program shall provide a written notice of compliance to the owner/operator and, to the extent possible, any delivery companies involved. In addition, DDOE shall remove the facility name from the delivery prohibition list on DDOE’s website.
Temporary removal of locks may be performed to conduct repairs, upgrade, testing or to remove product by a DC certified technician, testing company or owner after receiving approval from DDOE. Removal or tags/locks without prior approval from DDOE is an offense, punishable by law.