In preparation for the aboveground storage tank registration process, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is asking tank owners to take steps to help streamline the process – for both the agency and the registrants. Namely, the agency is asking that tank owners who aren’t already signed up for online registration do so starting immediately.
Senate Bill 373, the Aboveground Storage Tank Act, which was passed by the Legislature in March, was drafted in response to a Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents in nine counties. In general, the law requires all aboveground storage tanks located in the state that are large enough to hold at least 1,320 gallons of fluid, are in one place for more than 60 days and are 90 percent or more above ground to be registered with the DEP by Oct. 1. The registration process – which is anticipated to begin around June 10 – will include questions including tank size, contents, construction, age and location.
Because there are likely tens of thousands of tanks that will be affected, the DEP is working to revise its Electronic Permitting/Electronic Submission System (ESS) to accept tank registrations online so that the information collected can quickly and easily be stored and accessed.
Owners of tanks should visit DEP’s website, http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/abovegroundstoragetanks/Pages/default.aspx
, for a complete explanation of the new requirements and deadlines, information about how to obtain a user ID and other details about the registration process. This site also includes a survey to help tank owners determine if they actually do need to register and has links to useful information – such as frequently asked questions, nationally recognized standards for tanks, important dates related to the new program and public input received by the agency about the rules for the program.
Tank owners who don’t currently use the ESS system will need to sign up for a user ID in advance. In order to ensure that the Oct. 1 registration deadline can be met, tank owners are asked to request this ID as soon as possible because there is a stringent security documentation process involved to ensure that those registering are authorized by each company to do so.
Companies that already use ESS for permit applications and/or discharge monitoring reporting can use their existing user IDs and passwords.
“The cooperation of tank owners is essential in making this very detailed and very important registration process go as smoothly and as quickly as possible,” said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. “Working together is the only way we can achieve the monumental task of getting all aboveground storage tanks registered, which is the first step in setting up a regulatory framework to help minimize any future risks to public health, safety and peace of mind.”