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UST Program - Available Local Guidance (LG) Letters

UST Program - Local Guidance (LG) 138

Rescission of LG 138 - Regulation of Dispenser Piping and Related Equipment

May 17, 1995

To: Local Agencies and Interested Parties

I am rescinding LG 138. I am also asking those of you who have issued notices of violation based on the information in LG 138 to rescind those notices.

LG 138 states that secondary containment (e.g. dispenser containment) is required for pump island dispenser piping installed after July 1, 1987. This is a reasonable interpretation of Section 25291(a)(7)(E) of the Health & Safety Code, and a number of local agencies were already requiring secondary containment. But there is a problem. In recent weeks it has become clear to me that many local agencies have interpreted the law differently and have not required secondary containment for dispenser piping. In these jurisdictions owners have, in good faith, obtained permits to install or upgrade UST systems without dispenser containment.

Retrofitting with dispenser containment requires major work at each pump island and costs tens of thousands of dollars. I believe it is unreasonable to apply our interpretation of the law retroactively, as LG 138 does.

So now what?

I met recently with major oil company representatives and they agree that providing secondary containment for dispenser piping is a good management practice. Therefore, rather than require tank owners to incur the cost of retrofitting, we recommend that all local agencies require secondary containment for pump island dispenser piping for new construction starting on or after August 1, 1995. And if the tank owner is breaking concrete to install piping around the dispenser island on or after August 1, 1995, LIAs should require installation of containment for the dispensers on that island. In addition, dispenser containment must have a monitoring system that either sets off an audible and visual alarm or shuts off the flow of product when it senses the presence of liquid. If the dispenser containment is visually monitored daily, the monitoring system is not necessary.

Note: secondary containment for dispenser piping must be designed and constructed according to an engineering specification approved by a state registered professional engineer or according to a nationally recognized industry code or engineering standard. The engineering specification shall include the construction procedures. Materials used to construct the secondary containment system shall have sufficient thickness, density, and corrosion resistance to prevent structural weakening or damage to the secondary containment system as a result of contact with any released hazardous substance.

What is the status of dispenser containment installed prior to August 1, 1995?

Dispenser containment, with or without a monitoring system, installed prior to August 1, 1995 is considered acceptable. Work requiring removal or replacement of dispenser containment installed prior to August 1, 1995 must meet new containment requirements for equipment installed on or after August 1, 1995.

What about UST systems installed without dispenser containment since July 1, 1987?

Some protection is already provided. For safety reasons, all dispensers have an impact (shear) valve that shut off the product flow automatically in case of emergency. The valve provides protection by preventing a major release of product to the soil beneath the pump island. However, the impact valve by itself does not prevent all release to the soil. With the help of the Western States Petroleum Association, we will be exploring ways to minimize the threat of product releases in stations that do not have dispenser containment. We will inform you of the results of this effort.

If you have questions about this letter or the requirement of inspection, monitoring, record keeping or for dispenser piping secondary containment, please call Dave Holtry at (916) 227-4332.

I apologize for the confusion the now-rescinded LG 138 may have caused.


[Original signed by:]

James George Giannopoulos
UST Program Manager

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