Issuance of an operating permit is based on a compliance inspection that indicates that the UST is in compliance with Montana's operation and maintenance requirements.
Licensed private inspectors conduct the compliance inspections of operating underground storage tanks to determine compliance with spill, overfill, corrosion protection, release detection and recordkeeping requirements. They also verify that all tanks are registered, have the proper tags and operating permit, and meet upgrade requirements.
The department and designated local governmental unit inspectors will provide oversight of the licensed compliance inspectors.
Duties of Compliance Inspectors
The inspector should be knowledgeable of a site before conducting the inspection. Important background information includes such things as
- the exact site location,
- the type of equipment in place (how many tanks, suction or pressure piping, type of overfill devices, etc.),
- compliance history,
- responsible party (owner vs. operator),
- fee and registration status,
- permit review/fee status (if applicable), and
- on-site contact (essential for un-manned sites).
All regulated underground storage tank facilities must be inspected every 3 years. The principal responsibilities of the compliance inspector during the inspection are to assess compliance with the following regulatory requirements:
- UST registration/notification/tags;
- UST upgrade requirements;
- Leak detection system operation, maintenance, testing, recordkeeping; and
- Corrosion system operation, maintenance, testing and recordkeeping.
Each inspector will be initially provided with several inspection forms. The inspection form will also be provided in electronic format. In addition to completing the inspection form, the inspector is expected to educate the owner or operator so that the facility's compliance is improved. The inspector must review the inspection form with the owner/operator and discuss any violations or problem areas.
Following an inspection, compliance inspectors must:
- Immediately notify the Department of any release discovered during the inspection;
- Identify methods to correct violations;
- Obtain the owner's or operator's signature on the inspection report; and
- Provide a copy of the inspection report to the DEQ within 10 days of the inspection date.
DEQ will review the inspection report and determine whether a violation has occurred. The inspector is expected to provide all reports to DEQ for this determination. The inspector may fix the deficiency and note it has been fixed on the inspection report. Inspections must be conducted at least 90 days before the expiration date of the operating permit to allow time to correct deficiencies. This correction timeframe should allow Petrofund eligibility to remain intact in most cases.