The 2005 federal Energy Policy Act requires the U.S. EPA, in coordination with the states, to develop training guidelines for owners and operators of UST systems. To detail that statutory training mandate, the EPA proposed rules under which owners and operators of UST systems must ensure that operator training requirements are met by August 8, 2012.1
States that receive federal UST funding are required to develop state-specific training requirements consistent with the EPA rules. The MDEQ is still developing the Michigan rules. After the Michigan rules are promulgated, the International Code Council will make Michigan-specific testing information available on its web site, http://www.iccsafe.org
. It is likely that there will be only a short time between the date on which the testing information is made available after the MDEQ’s issuance of the Michigan final rules and the August 8, 2012, federal testing deadline.
The proposed federal and Michigan training requirements separate UST operators into three classes: Class A, Class B and Class C. Under the Michigan rules, each active UST site must generally have a Class A Operator, a Class B Operator and a Class C Operator. If all applicable requirements are met, the same person can serve under one, two or all three classes, but neither a Class A Operator nor a Class B Operator can oversee more than 45 facilities.
The Class A Operator has primary responsibility for operating and maintaining a UST system. This is typically a person with managerial control over persons involved with UST regulatory compliance at a facility (e.g., a gas station owner or designated tank manager). The Class A Operator need not be present at the site of the UST system.
The Class B Operator has day-to-day responsibility for UST regulatory compliance. This is typically an employee in the field implementing UST operation and maintenance requirements (e.g., a gas station owner or designated tank-maintenance employee or contractor). The Class B Operator need not be continuously present at the site of the UST system, but the Class B Operator will necessarily have some onsite presence.
A Class C Operator is responsible for initial responses to spills or releases from a UST system. This is typically an employee in charge of dispensing and selling product from a UST system (e.g., a gas station cashier). A Class C Operator is present onsite at a UST system.
Class A Operators and Class B Operators must take and pass a certification test by the August 8, 2012, deadline. A Class C Operator may be trained by a Class A Operator or a Class B Operator (or by a third-party trainer) and is not required to take or pass a certification test. Penalties, including shutdown of a UST system, could result from failure to comply with applicable training requirements by August 8, 2012.
The rules also remove exemptions for certain wastewater treatment tank systems, and they propose a number of other UST requirements, including, for example, recordkeeping requirements and release detection, spill prevention, overfill prevention, and secondary containment requirements.