4 Perils


Facing Every Petroleum
Storage Tank Owner

 

and the secret to overcoming all of them…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Report reveals how you can succeed and never have a compliance problem

 

Contained in this report is extremely important information concerning the four major perils you face every day and how to overcome all of them.

 

As a national leader in the field of environmental compliance, ACCENT commissioned an intense study of the petroleum storage tank industry.  We found some very sobering facts and figures.  One of these is the fact that the EPA requires ALL states to identify the percentage of compliance for their tank owners.  This is done by looking at the "paper" certificates from each state.  Only 66% of the tanks are in compliance prior to 2011.

 

That means that you have about a 50/50 chance of being in compliance on your own…

 

Check it out for yourself here: http://www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/publicre.htm

 

Another sobering fact is that EVERY TANK in the United States must be inspected once every three years.  You may have already been inspected AND you will be inspected again and again.  It's the new way and it's also the law now. 

You can find this requirement in the 2005 Energy Policy Act here: http://www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/inspectn.htm.

 

If you are not in compliance now, then you won’t pass any inspection.  The following report is prepared for you. 

 

It’s worth every minute of your time to study this report completely.

 

 

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

#1 Peril:

“100% of all On-Site Inspections want to see paper documents.”

 

This report will show you how you can succeed and never have a compliance problem

 

That’s a fact that’s hard to overcome. All compliance boils down to paper . . . period.
Now understand that it takes the “right” paperwork and it must be correct also. If it’s a test result, it’s got to be real and from the perception and interpretation of the State or EPA Inspector of what is real. Real test, real tester, real company and a real report – in paper.

 

If you have a paper, it’s going to go through the Inspection Paper Mill. It’s going to be seen by several qualified folks at the enforcement agency. Some of these folks might be new and some are very experienced. Just like playing musical chairs, everyone that looks at your “paper” is going to have a different story and a different set of questions. If you don’t have the answers, then you may still be in trouble. This is one very good reason to have a reputable third-party company working for you. In most cases, they can provide answers to hard questions. But, if you have the right papers at the right time, your chances of an easy inspection are extremely good!

 

There are Lots of papers the inspector wants. The inspector will want test results, inventory reconciliation, proof of insurance, certifications and equipment documentation. Documents showing the history of your testing and other re-occurring requirements will be requested. What happens if you don’t have this? At the very least it will take a lot of time on your part, possible legal expenses and at the most stiff penalties and fines.

 

 

 

Here is a typical happy story from an ACCENT Client: Bill had a convenience store on the outskirts of Dallas. He was flabbergasted one day when a State Inspector showed up and requested his “paperwork” for the UST system.

 

If the inspector had shown up 3 weeks earlier, it would have been a different story. However, Bill had just received his Compliance Notebook from ACCENT and it contained every document the Inspector wanted to see. It was a stressful 3 hour inspection, but when the letter from the State Agency was delivered three weeks after the inspection, the words “NO FURTHER ACTION REQUIRED” was the best thing he had ever read!

 

 

The Secret Number 1:

Have the Right Paper at the Right Time.

 

A real test from a real company is worth more during an inspection than you can possibly imagine.  Prepare the right documents before an inspection.

 

 

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

#2 Peril:

“Enforcement is real and full of the “Unknown.”

 

The story of two Tank Owners and State Regulation Inspections

 

Robert’s Stores – somewhere in Texas -
Robert owned 3 convenience stores. He was very much the “hands-on” kind of guy. His day started early and ended late. It seemed like there was never enough time to get everything done that he wanted to do. His debt was high, but manageable and even with the higher prices of fuel, he was making a small profit and getting traffic into his stores. The problem was all the regulations. It was a nightmare to keep up with. He couldn’t see how all the “tank” testing was making him money! In fact it cost him a lot of money and time. His time and money were scarce! Over the years, Robert had done everything he could to save money and time on testing. He admitted that he wasn’t as concerned about it since this cost didn’t make him any money. Sometimes, he forgot dates, lost records, forgot the testing company name and missed a test. He had never been inspected for the things that he missed, so what was the big deal? Robert was proud of his stores and had just upgraded his store fronts, canopies, lighting and signage. He still had the same old tanks, automatic tank gauge and dispensing equipment. Next he planned on upgrading the dispensers! Expensive, but with the added advantage of 24 hour fueling, he figured to gain more customer loyalty.

 

Robert was minding his own business and running his store during the lunch break. Business was good with the new upgrades. He could see that this would finally put him over the top. Then the unexpected happened. The State Inspector walked through the door and asked for the owner…two hours later it was all over but the crying. Robert was angry and confused. What was happening? Where were the ATG printouts? And how was he going to “explain” that his focus was on creating business and those associated expenses. And where were the testing files? And if he was supposed to keep records for 5 years, why hadn’t someone told him that before it was too late? Life wasn’t fair.

 

Robert was fined $35,750.00 in civil penalties just because he didn’t have his paperwork and release detection records.

 

 

Central Texas -
Tom had read and searched the regulations. He had looked on the state agency database for information. He had visited with a regulator and asked for more information. It seemed to him that finding out “Why” his tanks were regulated was easy. But “What” was required was another story. “How” to do it was just as confusing and “Who” could help might be a dilemma also. Tom owned and managed 3 convenience stores. Business was good, but he had this concern that he might be missing something. He had seen the store down the road go under from ignoring enforcement. The state agency fined the guy enough money to pay for a new house! All of Tom’s money was tied up in his business. He was trying to take the stand that the tank regulations were just a part of “doing business”. During a visit with his fuel distributor, Tom asked who to contact. There was no hesitation. The distributor recommended ACCENT as the testing and data management company that could take care of everything for Tom. Tom called them and asked them to review his 3 stores. Tom was furnished with a comprehensive, but easy to understand Audit Report. His questions were answered promptly and they were even very courteous when he complained about this added expense from the EPA. However, they did have the Why-What-How-Who answered. Tom signed up immediately.

 

Quietly, and without any serious hassle, ACCENT upgraded the Automatic Tank Gauge system, Corrosion system, helped amend the certification forms, completed necessary tests, gathered the data that was needed for any inspection and started collecting data and keeping up with all the dates. They even helped with the tank insurance forms and made new tank charts for one of his stores. Then it happened…the state inspector walked into the store and asked for the owner…

 

At first, it was a little stressful. Then Tom called ACCENT. They handled everything. They had copies of all the records for tests and equipment. They had a copy of the insurance and even offered to come on-site with the inspector at a later date to help. Not only did the inspector walk away happy, Tom felt a peace that he had finally “passed” more than this inspection.

 

As long as he cooperated and worked with ACCENT, he felt they would give him a peace-of-mind and protection that was worth every penny he paid them.

 

Tom had the ACCENT install Veeder-Root ATG systems and saved the installation labor costs by signing a three year compliance testing and data management agreement, and followed their advice for off-site record-keeping. The Next Generation Compliance Service Agreement solved all his testing requirements and gave him unlimited training for his C Operators!
His decision to let one company handle all his testing and data management needs was one of the best business decisions he had ever made.

 

 

The Secret Number 2:

Be Prepared for an Inspection Instantly at any Given Moment.

 

Understand by being prepared and knowing the "Why, What, How & Who."

Just having a "test" or paper doesn't mean you understand it.

 

 

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

#3 Peril:

“Clean-up from leaking tanks & lines costs real money you don’t have.”

 

Two Store Owners – Two ways of handling a clean-up

 

- South Central Texas -

John was in trouble. He knew it. A suspected leak on his report showed that he had a problem. He chose to ignore it and continue selling fuel. It really wasn’t showing up in the inventory that much. But after ignoring the problem for 16 months, it had finally reared its ugly head.

 

The city was doing some utility work on the corner at his store and they hit a pocket of fuel vapor. The state agency was called and they immediately required the leak detection records and a tightness test for the tanks and lines. The leak detection records stated there was a suspected release, but the tightness test for the tanks and lines passed! Unknown to John, the spill buckets were the culprit and no tank or line test checks this piece of equipment.

 

The state agency then required a full assessment with the installation of monitoring wells. This proved the soil and groundwater were contaminated with fuel.

 

John contacted his insurance company. The claim was denied since he could not prove the leak was current. They stated it was from old historical leaks and he didn’t have the records for all his required testing either.

 

John thought he could continue with his business. But, $39,197.00 later in environmental assessment fees and $31,500.00 in fines put him out of business.

He literally locked the door and walked away.

 

 

- North Texas -
Mr. Billingsly was happy that he had listened to the advice and then followed it. Mr. Billingsly owned two country stores. One day, his ATG report from ACCENT indicated a suspected leak with water coming into the tank. He contacted them to find out what he should do. Their expert advice was to contact the state agency with the required 24-hour suspected release notification and to also let them perform a release investigation.

 

The release investigation included testing the spill buckets, inspection of the dispensers and sub-pumps. One of the spill buckets did not pass and the ATG system was checked for calibration. A small leak was found at the Stage I where the fuel delivery drivers were using a screwdriver to pop the Stage I instead of connecting as required. With a lot of rain, the water was going directly into the tank through the top of the damaged Stage I connection. These leaks were found early and quickly for Mr. Billingsly. The new spill bucket was installed by ACCENT with one of their licensed installers after filing the proper paper work, the Stage I was replaced and inventory records by ACCENT indicated no release to the soils or groundwater. ACCENT put all the documents together and had a person on-site when the state inspector asked to inspect the site.

 

The total cost was under $5000.00. No enforcement, no fines, no further assessment…case closed.

 

It’s not always this simple, but with the proper management, your environmental operating costs are simply going to be less than potential fines and clean-up. It’s the difference between staying in business and losing your business.

 

 

The Secret Number 3:

Preventative Maintenance and Knowledge Based Services Can Save You.

 

It's not "if", but "when" you have a leak.

So prepare for it before it happens.

 

 

Back to Top

 

 

#4 Peril:

“The “Rules Change” all the time in PST regulations and inspections. It’s almost impossible to be prepared.”

The story of “Two Tales” with different Outcomes

 

John had two convenience stores and intended to open more in the future. That is until one of his stores was inspected the second time in the past 3 years. The “Inspection” seemed to go well like the first one. He furnished the documents that were requested by the inspector and answered the questions. The inspector thanked him and told him that John would be hearing from them. “Everything looked fine…” Then the first letter came from the Agency. Now it seemed that everything was NOT okay like the inspector insinuated. He sent more documents. Then he was requested to appear at the regional office. There, it was worse. Now they accused him of possibly falsifying documents, making things up and not being entirely truthful. John was speechless. The way John looked at it, how do you fight “hear-say” with an Agency that has no accountability and where you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent?

 

Now John has an expensive lawyer involved and he is going to a hearing and then what? The lawyer says that even if they win the hearing, the Agency Hearing can have it sent back for more discovery! John has followed the rules and has the documents to prove it, but in the RULES, there are areas that are not black and white. These areas can be interpreted any way the inspector and others wanted to. They claimed that he had no valid release detection, but they used the “non-valid” release detection to show that John “may have” had a suspected release that he did not notify the Agency about. They also claimed that since there was no documentation that he “may have” installed the overfill tube after the inspector left. It didn’t seem to matter that the inspector did not look down the fill pipe for the overfill tube and for that matter didn’t even know what to look for if he did! If you don’t believe this can happen to you, then you are sadly mistaken.

 

The Secret Number 4

You Control the Outcome if You Have Everything You Need

and Know Everything About Your Compliance During the Inspection.

 

Never let it escalate or get out of control. Have ALL the documentation available and be prepared to back it up quickly.

 

 

Back to Top

 

 

ACCENT can help you with every aspect listed above. We are a complete compliance data management company that also offers the essential testing that you need. We can help customize a program that will fit your budget and compliance needs. Please ask us about the following:

 

  • Our Current Knowledge of your facility
  • Next Generation Compliance

 

If you ask a member of our client family, they will tell you that we do what we say. We’re number one in Compliance Management because we are real people serving real people with solutions they understand and can afford. You’ll agree with the thousands of satisfied clients across the South who say:

“Why would you pick any other company to assist you with your compliance needs? That’s why we chose ACCENT.”

 

 

 

You can be assured of ACCENT’s Integrity. With 30 years experience and services in the United States, you know you’re getting a qualified company to work for you.

 

 

Back to Top

All stories in this document are based on true events. However, the names, locations and fines have been changed. This information is fiction based on true events.

 

Copyright © 2012
Danny Brevard P.G.
All rights reserved.
No part of this document may be reproduced in any form, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the author or publisher
Additional copies of this book are available by mail for a fee.
Printed in the U.S.A. by
AC’CENT Environmental Services, Inc.
PO Box 3289
Lufkin, Texas 75903