Complying with California SB445: no time like the present
The California Water Boards’ deadline to remove singled-walled underground storage tanks (USTs) is less than four years away. But with extenuating circumstances that have arisen – such as yearlong lead times for new tanks – since Senate Bill 445 passed in 2014, many UST owners/operators may find themselves scrambling to meet that deadline if they don’t start the process now.
Those looking to replace their single-walled tanks with double-walled USTs should consider that the lead time for receiving new tanks is now 12 to 14 months, and the wait will undoubtedly grow for all fuel-system equipment in the future. Lost time related to the pandemic, a shortage of raw materials, severe weather-related impacts, and a maritime fiasco have caused a backlog affecting the fuel industry and others across the globe.
Permit review and issuance may take longer as the deadline draws nearer, and the price of tanks and associated equipment will increase, as well, as demand for them grows. With the current rate of inflation, our experts estimate the cost of refined-fuel equipment will go up 10% to 20% per year compared with today’s costs.
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Small businesses that need financial assistance to remove and replace their USTs may get some relief from California Water Boards grants.
The Replacing, Removing or Upgrading Underground Storage Tanks (RUST) program provides loans or grants to assist eligible small businesses with removing single-walled USTs and replacing them with double-walled USTs. If it’s determined a product release has occurred when the old USTs are removed, the owners can file a claim with the UST Cleanup Fund. However, filing the claim, investigating and cleaning up the release, and receiving reimbursement for eligible costs is a lengthy process, and owners have only three years to submit a claim: claims are due Dec. 31, 2024, and the UST Cleanup Fund Sunsets on Jan. 1, 2026. Learn more about these grants here.