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Crews pull an underground storage tank from a gas station.

Crews pull an underground storage tank from a gas station.

Contact information
For information on petroleum contamination, contact:
Tim Panzer
Remediation & Redevelopment Program
608-267-2465

Petroleum contamination and leaking underground storage tanks

Gas, oil and other hazardous petroleum products are used daily in Wisconsin businesses and homes. Many petroleum releases come from storage tanks, known by the acronyms UST (Underground Storage Tank), AST (Aboveground Storage Tank) and LUST (Leaking Underground Storage Tank). When petroleum products are released into the soil or groundwater, the DNR will work with the responsible party and environmental professionals to clean up the spill to state standards.

Overview

As part of the 2013-2015 biennial budget, the financial and technical oversight portions of the PECFA program have been transferred to the DNR from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The responsibility for administering the state’s petroleum inspection and storage tank regulations, including the tank registry database, has been transferred from DSPS to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). If you have questions, comments or recommendations for the DNR regarding the PECFA program, please contact us at DNRPECFAcomments@wisconsin.gov.

Wisconsin UST and LUST overview

As of July 2013, Wisconsin's regulatory program for cleanup of contamination from petroleum storage tanks is run by the DNR.

Department responsibilities

The DNR is responsible for the following activities.

  1. Establishing investigation and remedial action requirements for contamination in the Ch. NR 700, Wis. Adm. Code, series of environmental rules.
  2. Oversight of cleanups at petroleum tank discharges.
  3. Wisconsin's fund for reimbursement of environmental cleanup costs (PECFA).
Other department responsibilities

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) maintains Wisconsin's tank registration database [exit DNR] and is responsible for tank regulations for both underground and aboveground tank systems.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) maintains a list of PECFA-registered consulting firms.

Regulations

Wisconsin tank regulations

Tank closure submittals

Tank abandonment site assessments/tank closure submittals

  • Mail reports of tank closure site assessments to the appropriate regional Remediation & Redevelopment (RR) Program environmental program associate.
  • Please contact James Moser (608-267-7533) with any questions about where to send tank closure site assessments.

Federal reports

Federal Energy Act reports

The federal Energy Act of 2005 amended state public record requirements for discharges from petroleum underground storage tank systems (UST). Federal law now requires states to collect information about the sources and causes of environmental discharges from UST's and include that information in their public records.

Reports

This data is collected throughout the year and posted annually. The period of collection is October 1 to September 30 (Federal Fiscal Year). Reports are achieved by the end of the calendar year.

Report contents

The data provided by the notification of a release is broken down in two categories; source and cause. The "source" is where the release started. The "cause" of a release is an indication of why the component or transfer failed.

Sources

The first four sources listed here are physical components of a tank system.

  • Tank - The tank that stores the product and is part of the UST system.
  • Piping - The piping and connectors running from the tank or submersible turbine pump to the dispenser or other end-use equipment. It does not include vent, vapor recovery or fill lines.
  • Dispenser - Includes the dispenser and equipment used to connect the dispenser to the piping. For example, a release from a suction pump or components located above the shear valve would be considered a release from the dispenser.
  • Submersible Turbine Pump (STP) Area - Includes the submersible turbine pump head (typically located in the tank sump), the line leak detector, and the piping that connects the STP to the tank.
  • Delivery Problem - Identifies releases that occurred during product delivery to the tank. Typically causes associated with this source are spills and overfills.
  • Other - Used when the release does not fit into one of the above categories. For example, releases from vent lines, vapor recovery lines and fill lines.
Causes
  • Spill - A discharge from the system while product is being delivered to or removed from the tank system.
  • Overfill - A specific type of spill caused by attempting to place a greater volume in the tank system than its designed capacity.
  • Physical or Mechanical Damage - Failure of a tank system or component due to an external element.
  • Corrosion - Failure of a tank system or component due to chemical breakdown, i.e. rust.
  • Installation Problem - Used when the cause is a direct result of improper installation.
  • Other - Used when the cause is known, but does not fit one of the categories above.
  • Unknown
Submitting records to DNR

Tank system owners and operators, or contractors or consultants acting on their behalf, must report discharges to the environment as required by state law. This may be done using section six of DNR's Notification for Hazardous Substance Discharge (Form 4400-225) [PDF].

Some combinations of information regarding the source and the cause of the discharge are not valid. The most common errors include invalid combinations of sources and causes of discharges from tank systems. Examples of invalid combinations include:

  • Source = Tank, Cause = Spill
    By definition a spill would occur during delivery to a tank and this should be reported as a Delivery Problem.
  • Source = Piping, Cause = Spill or Overfill
    Piping may leak due to damage or corrosion, but it can not spill or be overfilled.
  • Source = Submersible Pump, Cause = Spill or Overfill
    A pump may leak due to damage or corrosion, but it can not spill or be overfilled.
  • Source = Delivery Problem, Cause = Physical/Mechanical Damage or Corrosion
    Delivery equipment is not part of the tank system. If the filling port attached to the tank system is damaged, this should be reported as a Spill or Overfill, whichever is more accurate.
Additional information
Last revised: Wednesday October 29 2014