About the Petroleum Tank Cleanup Program

Petroleum Tank Cleanup Section environmental scientists who direct and oversee cleanup of petroleum releases. They are available as technical resources for tank owners and operators, local government officials, and the public to help respond to questions or concerns about tank leaks.

Petroleum releases can contaminate soil, groundwater and surface water, and may threaten or impact public and private drinking water supplies. In addition, harmful and potentially explosive hydrocarbon vapors can accumulate in buildings or confined spaces such as basements and utility corridors.  If a petroleum release occurs, DEQ staff assists and oversees the efforts of the facility owner or operator in assessing the potential threat to human health and the environment, and provides assistance with corrective action. The staff works closely with the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board (PTRCB) which provides financial assistance for eligible corrective action cleanup costs. 

The Petroleum Tank Cleanup Section administers the federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund Program. This allows funding to DEQ to conduct investigations and remediation activities at petroleum release sites where: (1) the release source is unknown or (2) the tank owner is insolvent or recalcitrant. The LUST Trust Fund can also be used for emergency response activities to mitigate immediate human health hazards such as petroleum-impacted drinking water supplies and buildings impacted with petroleum vapors.

State statutory authority for corrective actions is found in the Montana Underground Storage Tank Act, 75-11-501, MCA, et seq. The department's administrative rules are found in Title 17, Chapter 56 of the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM). These rules include the requirements for release reporting, investigation, confirmation, abatement measures, and corrective action.