Underground Storage Tank: MI Senate Bill 1169

Dec 06, 2022

Chandler 20200310 0581


Proposed Bill Important to Petroleum Industry

The replacement of an existing underground storage tank (UST) system or installation of USTs at a new location have requirements for setbacks from drinking water wells. These setback distances are provided in Michigan Public Act 399 of 1975 (Act 399). Table 1 below shows the current default setback distances and proposed minimum setback distances (requires waiver request, see below) provided in pending legislation (Michigan Senate Bill 1169 (SB 1169) sponsored by Senator Vanderwall).

SB 1169 is a complementary bill to Michigan Public Act 160 of 2022 (PA 160). PA 160 defines setback distances in Part 211 of Michigan’s NREPA[1] and the protocol for requesting a deviation (a.k.a. waiver) from the stipulated setback distances. PA 160 only applies to replacement of current UST systems and not installation of new UST systems at a new location.

In many areas, the presence of a drinking water well within the default set back distances can complicate or even negate the ability to replace or install UST systems. Obtaining a deviation from default setback distances is highly site-specific with a sometimes-lengthy agency review and approval process.

What does SB 1169 change?

SB 1169 reiterates the requirements of PA 160 for replacement of existing UST systems and defines a process for the installation of new UST systems within the default setbacks to ensure "no well within the setback distances would be impacted by a release." A short summary of SB 1169 indicates:

Existing UST Systems:

  • May only replace an existing UST (i.e., cannot add an additional UST) within default setback distances
  • If the proposed replacement UST is located within the default setback distances, a deviation request submitted to the agency is required to gain approval
  • A deviation request must consist of a rigorous data package certified by a professional engineer (PE) or qualified underground storage tank consultant[2]

New UST Systems:

  • The deviation request approval process for new UST systems within the default setback distances follows the same process as for existing UST systems, except that the UST system must NOT be located within the minimum setback distances as shown in Table 1

The deviation request, as specified in SB 1169, requires a description of construction materials, release detection methods, location details and local geology. Some type of hydrogeologic investigation is likely required.

Table 1: UST System Setback Requirements

Single-family drinking water well

Type IIb or Type III noncommunity public water well[3]

Type I community[4] or Type IIa noncommunity public water well

Default setback distances (feet)[5]




SB 1169 Minimum setback, requires approved deviation request




[1] NREPA: Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act

[2] Qualified Underground Storage Tank Consultant (QUSTC): as defined in Part 213 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA)

[3] Type IIa well produces 20,000 gallons or more per day. Type IIb well produces less than 20,000 gallons per day

[4] Type I well provides year-round service to more than 15 living units or 25 residents

[5] The default set back distances shown are consistent current requirements under Act 399 and PA 160