Underground Storage Tank (UST) Programs

Nez Perce Tribe Underground Storage Tank (UST) Programs

There are currently 20 regulated facilities on Nez Perce Reservation with Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) – 2nd largest Indian Land UST population in EPA Region 10. UST’s are regulated under Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005). Unlike environmental statutes such as the CWA or the CAA, RCRA contains no provision for the delegation of regulatory authority to tribes. However, EPA provides grant funding for the management and execution of RCRA programs. Federal UST regulations implementing Subtitle I are contained in 40 CFR Part 280.

The EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) final regulations for USTs, found in 40 CFR part 280 & 281 are effective as of October 13, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) has made certain revisions to the 1988 underground storage tank (UST) regulations. These changes establish Federal requirements that are similar to key portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct); they also update the 1988 UST and SPA regulations. Changes to the regulations include:

  • Adding secondary containment requirements for new and replaced tanks and piping;
  • Adding operator training requirements
  • Adding periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems
  • Addressing UST systems deferred in the 1988 UST regulation
  • Adding new release prevention and detection technologies
  • Updating codes of practice
  • Making editorial corrections and technical amendments and
  • Updating state program approval requirements to incorporate these new changes.

Due to the amount of the significant regulatory changes for the next 3 years (2015 – 2018), incremental implementation of these regulations are being initiated by the Nez Perce Tribe UST Program to avoid difficulty for Owners and Operators meeting the new requirements. 

Monthly Walkthrough Inspections For Nez Perce Reservation UST Facilities Implemented as of October 1, 2015 

Implementation of monthly walk-through inspections at regulated UST facilities began October 2015 as part of the required monthly operation documentation . The objective of performing monthly inspections is to identify and resolve problems quickly and decrease the chance of a potential spill or release. Although these new regulations require that the containment or turbine sumps be inspected only on a yearly basis, it is being recommended that these areas be inspected quarterly, particularly if water and/or corrosion are issues at your facility.

UST Monthly Inspection & Repair Log Forms.

These forms conform to industry standards and recommendations (PEI 900 and 1200), and meets the EPA requirement for walk through documentation found in 40 CFR 280.36. In addition to the form, it is recommended to take photographs with a date stamp to further document the condition of your UST equipment and proof of your monthly inspection.

Federal Underground Storage Tank Operator Training Requirements

Designating Class A, Class B and Class C operators for UST facilities is being implemented February 2017 with notification mailed to the 20 regulated UST facilities on Nez Perce Reservation. Each designated operator must be trained and pass a comparable standalone examination of the requirements. Operator Training rules and requirements are found in 40 CFR Part 280.240 thru 280.245 (pages 41666 & 41667). A reference sheet is provided of Operator Class Training Requirements here or visit https://www.epa.gov/ust/operator-training-minimum-training-requirements-and-training-options

There is no federal owner and operator (O/O) UST training available. Reciprocity with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality “TankHelper” is being considered. EPA is aware that accessing operator training examinations might prove challenging for operators located within Indian country. Therefore, EPA will be providing a no cost, online examination that will available to any operator. After successfully passing the examination, the operator can print out a certificate of completion. For those who do not have internet access, EPA will provide a CD that contains the examination and once passed will produce a printable certificate.

UST Regulation Informative Literature and reference material 

Below is a list of informative literature and reference material to help owners, operators and the general public understand federal UST regulations. The material has been updated to reflect the 2015 changes to the new regulations. Additional updates and new material are being added :

UST Inspection 2012

UST Inspection 2012

A Citizen’s Guide to Under Ground Storage Tanks

NEW 2016 UST System Compatibility with Bio-Fuels

NEW 2016 Operating and Maintaining UST Systems

NEW 2016 Must’s For UST’s

NEW 2016 Release Detection for UST’s and Piping

Demonstrating Financial Responsibility

Using Insurance to Demonstrate Financial Responsibility

Overfill Prevention

Record Keeping

Spill Buckets

Program Overview: Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Prevention

The Nez Perce Tribe (Tribe) Water Resources Division was awarded a Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Prevention Grant beginning in 2008 to continue the successes of previous UST Direct Implementation Tribal Cooperative Agreements (DITCAs) Compliance Assistance Program from 2002 to present. Previous grants have focused on capacity development and compliance assistance. Currently, EPA certified UST inspectors conduct UST inspections within the reservation with the Tribe providing compliance assistance to owners and operators.

The Tribes LUST Prevention objectives include the following:

  • Strive to protect the groundwater and aquatic resources in Indian Country from petroleum spills, leaks, and stormwater runoff.
  • Promote compliance with requirements through UST Inspections and technical assistance at operating UST facilities.
  • Educate owners and operators on operation and maintenance of their UST systems.
  • Maintain a field presence to identify areas needing attention and ensure compliance with UST requirements.
  • Evaluate and verify information in EPA files to correspond with actual UST site equipment and configurations.
  • Maintain communication and coordination with Tribal government.
  • Identify possible abandoned tanks and prioritize potential problem sites.
  • Improve, verify data, and populate the Tribal GIS database of UST locations to assist in the protection groundwater, surface water, and aquatic resources on Indian Lands.
  • Conduct outreach regarding the health risks of LUSTs and provide pollution mitigation opportunities.

The Tribes LUST Prevention Accomplishments:

  • Established a local regulatory presence
  • Provided immediate compliance assistance to regulated community
  • Trained 5 American Indian UST Inspectors
  • Decommissioned 19 UST facilities
  • Currently evaluating 1 LUST sites

Program Overview: Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Assessment

The Tribe was awarded a 3-year Community-Wide Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Assessment Grant. This grant is an extension of our current Underground Storage Tank (UST) Compliance Assistance program (FY2002-FY2018). The LUST Assessment Grant funds LUST Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) and make proposals to clean-up contaminated sites. The LUST Assessment Program objectives are identify, characterize, prioritize, and ultimately recommend properties for environmental cleanups, and if warranted, to return LUST properties within the Reservation boundaries to beneficial use.


Tank Pull, NezPerce, ID

The Tribe’s tasks to complete over the three year grant period are:

Prioritize and select possible LUST contaminated sites on the Reservation for Phase I ESAs

Conduct Phase I ESAs

Rank Phase I ESAs for continuing work as Phase II ESAs

Conduct Phase II ESAs

Complete Risk Based Corrective Action (RCBA) evaluations



The completion of an ESA for each property is an important component of the “all appropriate inquiry” requirements to satisfy the “innocent landowner provisions” under CERCLA. Sites selected for Phase I ESAs will be identified predominately through the Tribe’s capacity development activities funded by the LUST Prevention Grant. Additionally, the Tribe will identify sites based on receipt of complaints from the public, realtors, and referrals from IDEQ. Site ownership, initial determination of potentially responsible parties, and other EPA criteria will determine which sites are eligible for assessment under this grant.

Smitty Tank Pull 020

LUST Decommissioning in Kooskia, ID

Phase II ESAs will be used to determine if “recognized environmental conditions” identified in the Phase I Assessments need to be cleaned up. The Tribe will contract with drilling, geophysical, hydrological or environmental engineering contractors on an as needed basis. A Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) will be drafted and submitted to EPA for approval prior to collecting any environmental data. Water samples and soil samples will be collected, delivered under chain-of-custody to a contract environmental laboratory, and analyzed for appropriate “chemicals of concern” as identified by “recognized environmental conditions” as determined in the Phase I Site Assessments.





Orofino, ID

Orofino, ID

To ensure a “clean closure” from a LUST decommissioning samples will be collected from representative locations and analyzed for appropriate contaminants based on the previous contents of the tank. Soils below the tank and piping will be tested. In addition, if it appears that contamination has reached the groundwater, groundwater samples will be collected. In selecting sample types, locations, and methods of measurement, the following factors will be considered: the method of closure, the type of substance stored, the type of soil that was used as backfill, the depth to groundwater, and any other factors appropriate to identifying the release.

Risk Based Corrective Action (RCBA) evaluations will be conducted based on the Phase II Assessment results. The RBCA is a practical management approach that focuses explicitly on the protection of human health and the environment while promoting energy and cost-efficient remedies to allow limited resources to be targeted to the most hazardous sites.