Are we there yet? Still ignoring alarms after 11 years of training in Oregon

December 30, 2013

10tipspictureTrue story. Driving home from Oregon on a family vacation yesterday I stopped to get a fill up at a convenience store. And from my driver’s seat I can see the Veeder Root tank monitor blinked red through the store window. Great. Not being able to help myself, I mention it to the supposed Class C UST operator filling up my car (Oregon is one of two mandatory full serve states):

Me: “Do you know what that alarm means?”

Him: “That red light? No idea. I know it’s been like that a while. But I’ve only been here a few months.”

Me: “So you don’t know what it means?”

Him, surprised: “No, what?”

Me, deadpan: “It means your tank could be leaking.”

Him: “Wow. That’s bad.”

Me: “Yes, mind if I take a look?”

The good news: I went inside and saw the alarm was “auto dial failure” which means the alarm system’s connection to the Internet and (thus off-site monitoring) was malfunctioning. So there was no official or suspected leak alarm; however, the person looking for alarms off-site would not have been able to get the warning in the first place. I ran a CSLD test print out and all 5 tanks passed the most recent 0.2 GPH leak test.

The bad news: The supposed Class C UST operator was not properly trained on this critical scenerio. He had no idea what I was talking about regarding Class C operators, training or alarm response. Any other type of essential leak alarm would likely be missed and a suspected release would go unreported. I didn’t see a training certificate on the wall of the office but I’m pretty sure I recognized the company name as a customer I would have trained in the past. Bummer.

Questions: How well trained are your class C operators to respond to an alarm condition? If you trained them yourself did you cover how to respond to your particular alarms? Ask them a few alarm or warning signals and see how they would respond. Or consider not relying on your own self-styled training and go with professionals, like us, who cover how Class C UST operators should respond properly to alarms.

After having trained nearly every UST operator in Oregon these last 11 years I was hoping not to find this kind of knowledge gap at a very randomly picked UST facility. I’m hoping it was a fluke that I happened to visit the one site in Oregon with no Class C operators on site…but I’m not so sure.

Your New Year’s Resolution: Make sure all of your Class C UST operators are properly trained!


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