USTs by the Numbers Nationwide

November 30, 2020

We like to think of ourselves as “big picture” people in the world of UST compliance through savvy education. Because we offer training coast to coast (literally, and beyond –from Guam to the US Virgin Islands) we like to look at national UST trends.

As a Class A/B UST Operator, you might want to know where you stand when compared to the rest of the nation.

Here’s a summary from EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks Performance Measurements dated 9/30/2020 and covers the previous year. For the full report today and previous times, click here.

Measurement Total
USTs regulated nationwide as of 9/2020 (was 2.2 million in 1988) 540,423 active USTs at approximately 193,000 facilities
On-site inspections at federally-regulated UST facilities (10/2019 to 9/2020) (almost 800 per day) 70,053
Technical compliance rate (TCR)  (10/2019 to 9/2020)  for “new” UST rules (Examples: sump and spill bucket tightness testing, etc.) 57.50%
Significant operational compliance (SOC) rate  (10/2019 to 9/2020) for “existing” UST rules (release detection, spill and overfill prevention, corrosion protection) 68%
Class A/B operator training compliance 86.90%
Financial responsibility (Insurance) met 91.40%
Monthly Walkthrough inspections done (whether done properly or not, we’re not so sure) 80.20%
Confirmed releases  (10/2019 to 9/2020) (Wow. That’s 55 leaks A DAY discovered)
Cleanups completed  (10/2019 to 9/2020) (Good job, folks) 7,211
Releases remaining to be cleaned up (as of September 2020) 62,493

In general terms:

  • Three quarters of the nation’s USTs have been removed from the ground.
  • Compliance rates are still pretty low for the “old” rules and even lower for the “new” ones.
  • Compliance rates for training, insurance and monthly inspections are very high.
  • If you get 100 single-site UST owners in a room, two of them would have leaking USTs.

Bottom line:

Much work has been done in creating a national compliance program that is successful. Now we need to focus on keeping it that way.


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