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Training Deadline for Indiana Underground Storage Tank Operators Extended

In order to comply with federal grant guidelines related to the receipt of underground storage tank (UST) funds from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is requiring owners and operators of UST facilities to participate in an operator training and certification program. A rule establishing the operator training and certification requirements was preliminarily adopted by the Solid Waste Management Board on April 17, 2012, and final adopted on July 17, 2012.

Required trainees

Consistent with the federal guidelines, the new rule requires all UST facilities, most of which are retail gas stations, to designate individuals as either Class A, Class B or Class C operators based on their responsibilities for UST system operations. A Class A operator is a person, such as an owner, who hires or contracts the personnel who are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and recordkeeping of their UST system(s). Class B operator status applies to individuals, such as consultants or full-time employees, whom the facility owner has designated for the operation and maintenance of the USTs. Finally, a Class C operator is a facility employee, such as a cashier, who assists Class A and Class B operators in monitoring for problems and responding to emergencies at UST facilities. Class C operators may be trained by a facility’s Class A or Class B operator or an appropriate designee. To qualify as a Class A or Class B operator, an individual must complete required training provided at no cost by IDEM. The training is available online by following these instructions.

Training deadline

When the rule was preliminarily adopted, owners and operators of UST facilities were required to participate in the operator training and certification program by no later than Aug. 8, 2012. However, during final adoption of the rule, the deadline was extended until 30 days after the effective date of the rule. This effectively means that the training and certification deadline will now be 60 days after the new rule is published in the Indiana Register. IDEM estimates that the deadline likely will be sometime in December 2012. According to IDEM, inspectors will begin checking for proof of operator certification following the deadline to ensure that all UST facilities have properly designated and trained operators.

Defining a “partially attended facility”

In addition to the change in the training deadline that appeared in the final rule, a definition of “partially attended facility” was added. This term is defined as  a UST system facility that operates without the regular presence of a certified operator during a specific daily or weekly period. Examples include a retail facility that is attended during peak hours for sales and unattended during off-peak hours for sales. IDEM stated this is primarily for retail gas stations that close a convenience store at night while keeping the self-service pumps operating. IDEM also noted that these facilities must post signage, such as “Unattended Facility.”

Additional information regarding the UST operator training requirements is available here or by contacting IDEM UST program staff at (317) 234-4112.

Information regarding the rulemaking is available here under LSA #10-66, “New Rules Concerning Underground Storage Tank Operator Training Requirements.”

If your business has questions about UST operator training and certification requirements, please contact a member of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP’s Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group.

DISCLOSURE REQUIRED BY CIRCULAR 230. This Disclosure may be required by Circular 230 issued by the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service. If this article, including any attachments, contains any federal tax advice, such advice is not intended or written by the practitioner to be used, and it may not be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Furthermore, any federal tax advice herein (including any attachment hereto) may not be used or referred to in promoting, marketing or recommending a transaction or arrangement to another party. Further information concerning this disclosure, and the reasons for such disclosure, may be obtained upon request from the author of this article. Thank you.

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