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Owning and operating an underground storage tank (UST) system in the State of Iowa is a sophisticated operation. There are numerous and stringent regulations regarding the installation, maintenance and operation of an UST system. Over time, these regulations have grown in number and complexity. All of these regulations have as their intended purpose to protect soil and ground water, and public safety. Eighty percent of all Iowans depend on groundwater for their household water supplies.
Understanding and complying with Iowa UST requirements are critical to protecting our groundwater. Start by reading UST Basics. This manual was written with the owner / operator in mind. As we see it, we are a partner in regulatory compliance. While it is the role of the DNR to enforce the rules and regulations, it is also our responsibility to inform and assist tank owners and operators with compliance issues. This becomes especially important as we implement operator training. The more operators know about an UST system, the better off we all will be in terms of loss prevention, compliance with regulations, public safety, and groundwater protection.
The Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) approved Operator Training rules at their August 2009 meeting. Operator Training rules are the last part of the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 for the DNR to implement. The UST Section previously implemented the Energy Act’s Inspections, Delivery Prohibition and Secondary Containment provisions in 2007.
The purpose of the rules is to improve operations and maintenance at UST system facilities and ultimately improve compliance and groundwater protection through release prevention. The rules outline three classes of operators that must be trained and designated at all underground storage tank (UST) facilities: Class A, Class B, and Class C. These rules contain specific job duties, training requirements, and training deadlines applicable to each operator class.
Designated operators must complete training by December 31, 2011, which gives marketers two years to train all designated operators. After December 31, 2011, a petroleum marketing facility must have designated A, B and C operators before it can operate. Class A and B operators will be trained by approved online or third party training, and require an exam to demonstrate their understanding of the course material. Class C operators may be trained by B operators with no exam required. DNR has already begun reviewing owner/operator training courses.