Steps for Discovered Underground Storage Tanks

Discovered (Found) Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks

To be eligible for assistance from the Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund, administered by the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board (PTRCB), owners/operators who discover an underground storage tank must apply to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ or Department) for a tank closure permit within 30 days of the date upon which the owner first had knowledge of the tank. They must also close the tank in accordance with the requirements of the permit, before the permit expires. Review: Montana Code Annotated [MCA], Section 75-11-308(1)(b)(iii)

Recommended Steps for Discovered Tanks:

1. Notify the Department of Environmental Quality/Underground Storage Tanks (DEQ/UST) (406-444-0485) of the tank that has been discovered (found tank). DEQ/UST will respond by sending out a Notification Form. Under section VII of the Notification Form, you will find the topic titled Financial Responsibility (see page 2 of the UST Notification Form). Federal and State regulations require the owner or operator of an active underground storage tank system to register the tank with the Department and obtain a proper permit. Part of the requirements of an active UST is financial responsibility. Financial responsibility can be met using several “financial assurance mechanism(s)” and the Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund is one mechanism that can be used to meet most of the financial responsibility requirements for UST systems containing petroleum. Since the Fund does not meet all the financial responsibility requirements for a UST owner, there are a number of mechanisms that can be used to bridge the gap. It is important to note that if the discovered tank has been properly closed in place it should not contain any liquid substance. If there is no liquid in the tank and the tank is not determined to be part of an active dispensing system, Federal and State rules for financial assurance do not apply. Although those rules don’t apply, the owner may want to be able to acquire assistance from the Fund. The Fund rules require the owner to apply to DEQ/UST for a closure permit and to close the tank in accordance with the requirements of the permit, before the permit expires. This action places the tank into a temporary permitted status, which requires the owner to show Financial Responsibility. You, as the responsible party, should obtain a closure permit and properly remove the tank (or properly close the tank in place) so that any release that may have occurred from the tank may be able to receive assistance from the Fund. Please see /Land/ust/FinancialResp for instructions, definitions and a link to the Montana Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form.

2. Apply to DEQ/UST for a Closure Permit, within 30 days of discovery.

3. Close the tank in accordance with closure requirements and all permit conditions.

4. If it appears that a release may have occurred, report a suspected release to DEQusing the information on the webpage Hotline For Reporting Leaks (1-800-457-0568 or after hours and holidays call 1-406-324-4777).

5. If you want to apply for financial assistance from the Fund, for corrective action costs associated with cleaning up any discovered release, complete an Application for Petroleum Release Eligibility, (Form 1-R).

The Department's UST section maintains a list of Licensed Installer/Removers that can assist you with the closure permit application and tank removal process.