Spill Bucket and Sump Testing Requirement Enforcement

Oct 05, 2021

Red Tag

The lowdown: Recent reports (September 2021) from underground storage tank (UST) owners indicates that failure to have documentation of spill bucket and sump testing can result in the state inspector (LARA HMSI) red tagging the tank system.

In 2015, EPA revised the federal UST regulations. Part of these amendments included requirements for spill prevention equipment and submersible turbine pump (STP) sump integrity testing. The original deadline required completion of such testing by October 13, 2018. With certain stipulations, the Michigan testing deadline was extended to, at the absolute latest, October 13, 2021. Lacking a double-walled spill bucket or sump, this testing is required every 3 years and must determine the equipment is liquid tight by using either vacuum, pressure, or liquid testing.

Based on testing of hundreds of spill buckets and sumps, BLDI has found that most stations with spill buckets over 10 years old have a failure rate of 25% which is consistent with national testing records. Overall, the STP sump testing failure rate is similar to spill buckets. Decades of experience in our expert witness program finds that molded plastic sumps are the most prone to leak and most difficult to repair.

When a testing failure of a sump chamber occurs, most owners are typically more concerned about the cost of potential replacement. Repairs to sumps are more difficult due to the number of penetrations (e.g., piping, conduit, liquid monitor and STP) in the sump and common issue of groundwater pressure on the sump structure. Sumps that often contain water from surface runoff or groundwater complicates testing.

Potential for Release and MUSTA[1] Coverage

Another aspect of this type of testing program that often gets overlooked is the potential to document a suspected or confirmed release due the testing program. Failure to report a release within 24 hours jeopardizes your MUSTA coverage. Further, we have found that over 25% of small gas station operators have not completed all the documentation to ensure MUSTA coverage is properly in place. Please, do NOT conduct any testing until confirming MUSTA eligibility. Please contact our office if you would like us to assist with confirming MUSTA eligibility. There is no cost, and we can generally get back to you within two to three business days.

BLDI Suggestions on Meeting the Spill Bucket and STP Sump Testing Program:

  • Confirm MUSTA eligibility
    • Contact LARA or Renée Pewitt, EP at BLDI (616) 459-3737 to confirm
    • If there is a problem with your MUSTA coverage, BLDI can help complete the documentation
  • Develop a plan for testing, including overall plans for the UST system. If the spill buckets are over 20 years old, you will likely need to replace them.
  • Conduct testing. Ensure you comply with any reporting requirements.

Contact us today! We are ready to work for you!

Please contact Renée Pewitt, EP at BLDI (616) 459-3737 for more information.

[1] MUSTA: Michigan’s UST investigation and cleanup fund for eligible owners in compliance with regulation