Coleman Oil has been charged over $189,000 in fines for spilling more than 3,840 gallons of biodiesel into the Columbia river and nearby areas.

The cause of the spill was the result of a corroded underground pipe that was laid at Coleman Oil’s oil plant in 1935. Coleman Oil did not complete their regular inventory control procedures or underground piping industry standard inspections which caused the corrosion and leak to go undetected. The biodiesel leaked into the Columbia river which caused an on and off sheen on the rivers surface.

The Department of Ecology Spills Program responded to the site on March 17, 2017 when the visible sheen was first reported. Tests were conducted and lab results identified the pollution as biodiesel. The Department of Ecology was able to trace the leak back to the Coleman Oil facility located near the river. According to Dale Jensen, the manager for the Department of Ecology Spills Program, the spill “could easily have been prevented if the company had been properly monitoring the fuel level in that tank.”

Coleman Oil’s oil plant in Wenatchee is now a toxic cleanup site. According to news sources,  the company has been cooperative and responsive during the investigation and has worked on site cleanup since October 2017. Additionally, groundwater monitoring wells are installed and regularly sample the groundwater to verify how much contamination remains and pump out any remaining toxic contaminants to protect the river. According to the Department of Ecology, the investigation will continue and they will verify whether the river’s sediment or surrounding ground is contaminated from the spill.

Coleman Oil has been charged $189.000 in fines in addition to $213,400 to be paid to the state for spill response costs. The resource damage assessment, environmental restoration costs, enhancement project costs, and additional funding costs are still to be determined. The total state penalty including the cost reimbursement and damage assessment are expected to total more than $1 million. All funds collected from the penalty are to be put towards the state’s Coastal Protection Fund.

If you haven’t been keeping up with your State and Federal compliance requirements or if you’re struggling to understand your requirements, leave us a comment or call us at 888-400-3511.

Read the original story here: http://www.kpq.com/coleman-oil-could-face-1-million-in-fines-and-damages-for-columbia-river-spill/

The Warren County Airport located in McMinnville, Tennessee was inspected by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) on June 27th, 2018. TDEC found a release detection violation within the airport’s Underground Storage Tank (UST) systems. According to TDEC’s records, the airport “was missing six months of release detection records”. Additionally, the airport was unable to provide records for the Automatic Tank Gauge’s (ATG) alarm history at the time of the inspection – a direct violation of State regulations. While the airport was able to submit documentation of these records, they were received documentation on September 20th, 2018 – after the initial inspection was concluded. TDEC has ordered the Warren County Airport to pay a civil penalty of $3,200, though the airport may make an early payment or undertake UST training to lessen the civil penalty amount. Read the entire news release written by Walter Wright here: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/storage-tank-enforcement-tennessee-91680/

Cope’s Supermarket Inc. and Norma Jean Cope in Ravenswood, West Virginia are tied up in a non-compliance lawsuit that could cost the companies up to $25,000 per day in damages. The lawsuit is spearheaded by Harold D. Ward, the acting director of the Division of Water and Waste Management of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

According to the WV DEP office, the defendants own and operate three underground storage tanks in Ravenswood and have failed to correct documented violations that were reported back in 2016. The consequences of this lawsuit could result in civil penalties of up to “$25,000 per day for continued noncompliance and $10,000 per day all other violations of the USTA, costs, disbursements, attorney, witness and consultant fees, and other relief as the court deems just”.

If you’re struggling to navigate the EPA’s newest regulations, we’d be happy to explain both the federal and state UST requirements. We pride ourselves in covering the entire compliance supply chain from fulfilling your monthly and yearly physical inspection requirements to obtaining valuable data related to your site inefficiencies. More often than not, our services reduce your overhead costs and save you time, money, and stress. For more information or to ask us any compliance-related questions, please contact us at info@7g-enviro.com or call us at 888-400-3511.

To read more and continue to monitor these lawsuits, see the original article here: https://wvrecord.com/stories/511619503-wvdep-director-alleges-ravenswood-underground-tank-owners-failed-to-comply-with-order

A Sunoco station in Philadelphia has agreed to pay $22,080 in penalties due to not meeting the UST’s leak detection and recordkeeping compliance requirements between 2015 and 2017. As part of the agreement, the Sunoco is now within the State and Federal compliance requirements.

The EPA’s UST regulations are intended to protect the public from a contaminated or a polluted water supply. If a UST malfunctions and a leak is detected, it endangers the health and safety of surrounding neighborhoods.

For site owners still scrambling after the October 13th deadline, we’re here to help! We complete over 2,000 inspections a month and we have over fifty years combined experience in the fuel compliance industry. Our team of professionals can help you navigate both your federal and state requirements to minimize your site’s non-compliance risk.

To speak to one of our compliance experts, call us at 888-400-3511 or email us at info@7g-enviro.com.

Read the original article here: https://www.petrolplaza.com/news/9635

The ADEM has delayed publishing their 30 day and annual walkthrough forms until the first week of December due to poor quarterly meeting turnout.

The updated legislation draft was published to the ADEM website during the ADEM conference last year, however there has been no update to the legislation.

We spoke to their offices directly for an update on Alabama’s walkthrough forms and proposed regulations which include delaying sump testing, overfill testing, and release detection or EPG tanks. According to their offices, there was low attendance at the previous ADEM quarterly meeting and the commission was unable to vote on the forms and proposed regulations. Therefore, the legislation approval was delayed.

However, there was another quarterly meeting with high-attendance in October and the commission was able to approve their annual walkthrough forms and proposed regulations. Due to Alabama’s mandated 45-day waiting period between approval of legislation and implementation, the regulations will not go into effect until the first week of December. Once the legislation is in effect, the documentation will be published to the general form list.

The general form list will be published to the ADEM website here.

October 25th 2018 – 30 public hearing requests were submitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding the newest Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations.

Our in-house Regulatory Specialist, Chrissie Rakowski submitted her own public comment and request for a hearing. Her statement is as follows:

The proposed rule adversely affects the regulated community of tank owners by limiting their options and potentially increasing the cost of the work to be done, while giving preferential treatment unnecessarily to tank testers contrary to industry standards and the EPA rule. There is nothing that states in either the PEI RP-900, or the EPA’s 40 CFR that annual walkthroughs require an agency-certified tester to conduct annual walkthroughs of spill containment and sumps, thereby limiting business at the expense of inspection and maintenance companies, consultants, and experts in the industry while requiring testers to go beyond scope of practice. Industry professionals are certified A/B in multiple states and are knowledgeable of UST regulations, have degrees or years of experience in the field, and can carry ICC certification.

You can review our request in addition to the 29 others here: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/ust-rule1-09.pdf

 

Overview: The EPA has determined that the State of Utah’s UST program meets all requirements for the program’s approval and will go into effect on January 4th, 2019.  The rule is subject to withdraw by the EPA prior to December 5, 2018 if implications arise.

 The program approval by the EPA means that now all Utah UST systems must be ‘equivalent to, consistent with, and no less stringent than the federal UST program’. Because of the update to the EPA’s federal guidelines, states are required to revise their programs to comply with the federal guidelines and submit their revisions to the EPA for approval. This program approval does not impose additional requirements since these requirements were already in effect in Utah. However, it does make these regulations federally enforceable.

For a full list of questions and responses by the Government Publishing Office, click here.

For a full list of Utah state requirements, click here.

In Fenton, Michigan lied the old Fairbanks gas station that was once a Marathon. It had been in the Fairbanks family for over 55 years when the station closed down in 2003 and was finally demolished in early October 2018.

A petroleum leak was first found at the station’s Underground Storage Tank (UST) site in 2015 after a follow-up investigation years after the station’s closure in 2003. According to investigators and the Tri-County Times press release, the contents in the UST taken after the initial investigation surpassed the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) limits.

The investigation showed the surrounding soil and groundwater was contaminated and had migrated off-site. The settlement agreement concluded in May 2018 with the landowner responsible for resolving the cleanup obligations. Also, the agreement allowed the DEQ to initiate site cleanup and work began in September 2018.

Clean-up and restoration activities include removal of the UST’s and contaminated soil and asbestos building materials. In addition to removal, sheet piling will be installed to ensure that the excavation efforts do not damage roadways or pavement. The total removal, cleanup, and demolition will total $595,000. Once cleanup efforts conclude, the site will continue to be monitored for leak detection and soil contamination for a year after excavation. Once their initial investigation concludes, the DEQ will create a report documenting the release available in January 2019.

Sources: https://www.tctimes.com/news/deq-cleaning-up-leak-at-old-fairbanks-gas-station/article_bf9ef8c2-dec7-11e8-a096-f70ddb84fe93.html http://lindenmi.us/index.php/news/216-remediation-at-former-fairbanks-marathon.html

Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has Proposed to Extend the Current October 13th Testing Requirements Deadline to 2020.

If the proposal is accepted, current UST owners and operators have ‘more time to prepare their equipment to meet these testing requirements and correction of typographical errors.’ You can find the proposal document summary here.

The ADEM’s Summary of Reasons Supporting the Adoption of the Proposed Amendments Chapter 335-6-16 Administrative Guidelines and Procedures for the Alabama Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Trust Fund.

“A revision to ADEM Admin. Code Chapter 335-6-16 is being proposed to implement an adjustment to the Trust Fund scope of coverage as recommended by the Alabama Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Trust Fund Management Board in accordance with the Alabama Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Trust Fund Act, §§ 22-36-1 through 22-36-13, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended (2009 Regular Session). The Alabama Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Trust Fund Management Board has recommended a change to the Trust Fund scope of coverage to ensure that necessary resources are available to perform required actions at sites impacted by releases of motor fuels. Adoption of the proposed changes will enable the Trust Fund to continue to fulfill its legislative mandate that adequate financial resources be readily available to provide for the expeditious supply of safe and potable water to affected persons and to provide a means for investigation and clean-up at contamination sites without delay. Without adequate resources, delays in response actions can result in the continuation and intensification of the threat to the public health, safety, and welfare, in greater damages to the environment, and in significantly higher costs to contain and remove the contamination. The proposed change is as follows: Rule 335-6-16-.09 “Scope of Tank Trust Fund Coverage” is being amended to increase the indemnification limit for a release from $1.5 million to $1.75 million per occurrence, less the applicable deductible.

In other words, the ADEM has proposed a delay in order to ensure that the Trust Fund has resources prepared, without delay, in the event that there is contamination found on-site. ADEM fears that the state may not have enough resources prepared for an emergency by the October 13th deadline which could result “in the continuation and intensification of the threat to public health, safety, and welfare” in addition to higher overall containment and contamination costs and environmental damages.

Secondly, there are additional proposed changes to Alabama’s Division 6 Land Division.

This proposal suggests the following:
Revisions to the Division 6 Code are being proposed to amend the implementation date for new testing  requirements to allow UST owners and operators more time to prepare their equipment to meet these  testing requirements and correction of typographical errors.  The phrase [effective date of rule] has been replaced with December 8, 2017 throughout the document.  Additionally, a typo in a rule referenced in rule 335‐6‐15‐.18 has been fixed. Rule 335‐6‐15‐.03 “Applicability” contains the definitions of which UST systems are included under the  regulations and which are exempt or partially exempt. Revisions are being proposed to this rule to  change deadline for UST systems storing fuel solely for emergency power generation to meet release  detection requirements from October 13, 2018 to December 8, 2020.  Rule 335‐6 15‐.09 “Operation, Maintenance, and Testing or Inspection of Spill and Overfill Prevention  Equipment and Containment Systems; and Walkthrough Inspections” contains the requirements for  operation and maintenance of key UST system components, including containment sumps and overfill  prevention devices. Revisions are being proposed to this rule to change the deadline for testing of  containment sumps and overfill prevention devices from October 13, 2018 to December 8, 2020. Rule 335‐6‐15‐.14 “General Release Detection Requirements for All UST Systems” contains the requirements for release detection for all underground tanks and piping. Revisions to this rule are being  proposed alongside the revisions proposed in 335‐615‐.03 to change deadline for UST systems storing  fuel solely for emergency power generation to meet release detection requirements from October 13,  2018 to December 8, 2020.

According to these proposed changes, they also want to extend the October 13th, 2018 deadline to December 8th, 2020 in order to provide UST owners and operators “more time to prepare their equipment to meet these testing requirements.”

There was a hearing on these proposed changes on September 5th, 2018 and we will continue to monitor ADEM’s website for updates.

If you would like to remain informed on all of the latest regulation changes, please contact us using the contact form on our website.

A Quick Summary of the Legal Changes:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) published the new changes on August 27th, 2018 based on the June 20th Rule Development Workshops. The new law states that “Any visual inspection of any part of a storage tank system, dispenser, pipe, valve, pump, or other wetted portion of the system containing regulated substances that reveals uncontrolled pitting corrosion, structural damage, leakage, or other similar problems”. In other words, the FDEP has specifically included “pitting corrosion” as an incident under  62-761.430.

What Does that Mean for You and Why Does this Matter Right Now?

For our present and future Florida clients who no longer inspect the inside of their sumps, owners are now required to report pitting corrosion as an incident and investigate it. If pitting corrosion is identified within the sump, the owner is responsible for the repairs.

How Can You Prevent Additional Overhead Costs?

Thankfully, our team is prepared to handle any potential sump corrosion. Out team uses the Zerust (https://www.zerust.com/) product to fix corrosion issues, reducing overhead costs, and enhancing overall customer experience. We foresee this ruling change becoming an issue if sumps are not inspected for pitting corrosion. Our inspectors provides a 5-day notice of an inspection between our sump inspections. When the inspector opens the sumps, there could be an incident for pump head and other components that are pitting from the corrosion. Consequently, a NCL could be issued and the client would have 14 days to have it resolved under the new law.

For Further Reading Taken from the FDEP Website:

Chapter 62-761, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.):

  • Chapter 62-761, F.A.C., August 2018 Coded Draft Rules to be Amended
  • Form 62-761.900(2) Storage Tank Facility Registration Form August 2018
  • Form 62-761.900(3) Financial Mechanisms for Storage Tanks August 2018
  • Instructions for Conducting Sampling During Underground Storage Tank Closure, August 2018

Chapter 62-762, F.A.C., August 2018 Coded Draft Rules to be Amended

  • Form 62-762.901(2) Storage Tank Facility Registration Form August 2018
  • Instructions for Conducting Sampling During Aboveground Storage Tank Closure, August 2018
Additional Rulemaking documents located on the Storage Tank Systems Rulemaking webpage from the June 20, 2018, Rule Development Workshops did not have additional changes after the workshops.
As of June 1st, 2018 Oregon DEQ has revised UST regulations promulgated to rule and are now in effect. The regulations underwent public comment in February, and Environmental Quality Commission adopted the proposed rules on May 11th, 2018. Some revises changes to the regulations include the following:
  • 30 day notification for changing regulated substances of a UST containing greater than 10% ethanol or 20% biodiesel
  • Demonstrations of UST system compatibility
  • Under Dispenser Containment required for each new, moved, or modified dispenser
  • All new or replacement USTs and connected piping must be secondarily contained and monitored using interstitial monitoring
  • Flow Restrictors/Ball float valves are now longer allowed to be installed and cannot be repaired
  • 30 day release detection for spill prevention and containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring
  • 30 day walkthrough inspections for spill prevention and release detection begins 7/1/2020
    • Annual inspections for containment sumps and hand held release detection
    • Maintain these inspections for at least one year
  • 24hr reporting on corrosion protection test failures
  • Annual release detection operability testing
  • Overfill prevention inspected at least once every 3 years
  • On or after July 1st, 2020, owners and permittees of FCTs and AHSs must comply with 340-150-0137(2) and the training requirements for UST operators in this rule
  • Vapor monitoring and groundwater monitoring are now longer allowed as an approved release detection method
  • 24 hour notification to the DEQ for unusual operating conditions such as:
    • erratic behavior of dispensing equipment
    • sudden loss of product
    • widely fluctuating water levels
    • liquid in interstitial space (when brine is not used)
  • Emergency generator tanks are subject to release detection requirements on 7/1/2020.
    • All newly installed emergency generator tanks are subject to release detection requirements immediately
For more information on the accepted changes, please visit the Oregon UST website here To view the redline of all revised changes, please visit here.
On May 9th, 2018, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopted revisions to their underground and aboveground storage tank regulations. This is part of 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 334. These rules will publish to the Register on May 25th, and will be effective on May 31, 2018. These changes incorporate revisions from the EPA’s 2015 regulation revisions to Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 280. While this is not an exhaustive list, the regulations include the following: – Periodic operation and maintenance requirements for UST systems to conduct walkthrough inspections and test UST system components – Requirements to ensure UST system compatibility before storing certain biofuel blends – New requirements to annually test specific release-detection equipment – Changes to comply with existing EPA release-detection requirements to monitor at least every 30 days (instead of every 35 days), and – Minor rule revisions relating to the fee on delivery of petroleum products to reflect changes that were statutorily implemented in the Texas Water Code in 2015. The state of Mississippi has also posted the redline to their proposed regulations on May 7th and are available for public viewing here. Some proposed regulation changes include the following: – Periodic operation and maintenance requirements both for 30-day and annual inspections – Previously deferred USTs such as airport hydrant systems and emergency generator tanks are now subject to UST regulations. – Updated codes of practice – New Testing requirements and frequencies – Newly added criteria for what can result in the red tagging of your facility – Updates to record retention requirements – 30-day release detection requirements – New criteria and guidelines for planned and unplanned repairs to UST systems and ancillary equipment
Overfill prevention and testing of overfill at sites is critical for staying in compliance, and for the protection of the environment. A fuel station in Marquette, Michigan was accidentally overfilled, causing a spill of gasoline into the street and into the storm drain system according to the EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. While the EPA estimated 400-700 gallons, inventory controls and the state determine around 180 gallons were spilled during the incident. Upon review of the site, it was found that the overfill alarm had an intrusion of ice into the system which was a manufacturer defect. Cleanup efforts have taken place at the site, the sewer system, and the nearby river is currently being monitored for potential contamination. As of yet, no contamination in the soil or air has been detected in the surrounding area. More information on this story can be found here.
This month, a gas station in Bastrop, Texas was fined over $13,000 for failure to comply with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s regulations for Underground storage tanks. Some of their biggest violations included failure to obtain insurance/financial responsibility, failure to have monthly release detection, failure to provide documentation for the state’s inspection, and failure to have adequate corrosion protection. The commission filed a preliminary report and petition, recommending an enforcement order, assessing an administrative penalty against the store’s owner and requiring the store to return to compliance.The store’s owner challenged the commission’s findings and requested a hearing with the state office. On August 24, 2017, a judge held a hearing in which the owner failed to appear for, and the judge ordered a default ruling against the owner. The full article is available for reading here.
The State of Washington has now filed for its next rule proposal phase (CR-102), which was filed with the legislature on 1/24/2018. This proposal incorporates federal rule changes needed to maintain their state program approval for their underground storage tank program. The comment period on the new proposed rules will remain open until March 16, 2018. The public comment form can be found on their webpage here. If you are interested in learning more about the proposed rules, Washington will be hosting a webinar and in-person hearing on February 28th, 2018 at 1pm PST (4pm EST). A link to the webinar can be found here. The proposed rules changes include the following: Tank Installation
  • Corrosion assessments used to avoid installing cathodic protection must be performed every 5 years after installation and reports are sent to the department for determination
  • Eliminating secondary barriers for hazardous substance UST systems installed on or before 10/1/12
  • UDCs must be factory built or machine-tooled until otherwise approved by department
  • Compatibility demonstration requirements for USTs including hazardous substances; records retained for life of UST or change in service
  • Existing and previously deferred USTs must maintain upgrade records be maintained for life of UST in addition to repairs
Operation and Maintenance
  • Product deliverers must comply with spill and overfill requirements and report spills to Owner/operator
  • Walkthrough inspections (30 days) begin upon installation (after effective date) or one year after effective date for UST systems installed before effective date
    • 3 years of inspections must be maintained
  • 24 hour notification to corrosion expert for cathodic protection not operating correctly
  • Record retention for cathodic protection tests changed to 6 years; rectifier inspections maintained for 3 years.
  • Spill prevention and sump tightness testing must be performed by certified provider and reported to agency
  • Periodic monitoring of sumps/spill buckets be retained for 3 years
  • Tightness test documents retained for 6 years
  • Overfill prevention inspections must be performed by certified provider and be reported
  • Flow restrictors that are broken must be replaced with other overfill protection
  • Testing after repairs to UST system within 30 days; records retained for 3 years. Testing is reported
  • Monitoring or tightness testing of containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping, monitoring or tightness testing of spill prevention equipment (spill buckets), Inspections of overfill prevention equipment, and tests of release detection equipment has specific implementation dates based on your facility compliance tag number
    • If your facility compliance tag number is even, then these must be completed within two years after the effective date of rule
    • If you facility compliance tag number is odd, then then these must be completed within three years after the effective date of rule
A more comprehensive, detailed list of proposed rule changes can be found here. The full rule document with all tracked changes can be found here. For more information, please visit the State of Washington’s regulatory update page.
California air regulators approved a cut to carbon pollution from gasoline and diesel fuels. This will force oil producers to reduce the amount of carbon generated by transportation fuels in the state. This rule was added in 2009 but many oil and gas companies protested, and were able to keep it at bay until recently. Oregon is the only other state with a carbon fuel standard like California’s. This new ruling is now projecting that fuel cost could possibly rise 13 cents per gallon by the year 2020.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/26/us/california-board-backs-new-limits-on-carbon-from-gas-and-diesel.html?ref=topics&_r=0
Credit card skimmers are not the only heckle at the pumps these days.  Credit card fraud at the dispenser is a pervasive problem, but not a new problem.   What is new is that the culprits are no longer just filling up their own tanks on someone else’s dime.  Most recently culprits are using truck bladders and stolen cards to enter the retail fuel business.   These culprits are taking stolen gas down the road and selling it well below rack price to another station.   What’s even more sickening is that station owners are actually buying it.

Currently, a man in South Florida is being held on 8 counts of counterfeiting & the use of the bladder within the truck.  Hopefully the EMV change in credit cards providing a secure chip will eliminate the risk of having fraud at the pump.  Hopefully, the industry will join together to rid itself of station owners who buy stolen gas.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/credit-card-fraudsters-pump-gas-stations-for-profit-1441253132

Being hacked is becoming more and more common place.  So what about your Automatic Tank Gauge?

“The vulnerability of the gauges used to monitor gasoline tanks is the latest security issue plaguing consumer and industrial devices that are increasingly being connected to the Internet.” – Robert Lemos

Hacking an ATG and triggering environmental alarms could prevent a facility from dispensing fuel.

Sale data and environmental data could also be extracted and used by competitors, collection agencies, and potential buyers of the property who valuate the property based on gallonage.

Robert Lemos wrote a thought provoking article in ars technica about the issue.  Check it out here.

Make sure to take the necessary and inexpensive steps to secure your ATG!

Goldman Sachs Spooked the Market by Dethroning OPEC and Declaring the US King
Oil prices have plummeted. Why? US shale-oil drillers.

Goldman Sachs stated, in an October 26 note, that US shale-oil drillers have “become so potent that they have supplanted OPEC as the reigning global powerhouse.” Similar news has come out from Citi, prompting traders to perform massive selloffs. Goldman estimates that crude will drop to $80-a-barrel in the second quarter of next year.

This price drop has caused a major shift in international oil-producing states. Goldman Sachs estimates that Kuwait can cover its state budget at $63-a-barrel. Conversely, Saudi Arabia needs $85-a-barrel; Russia requires $104; Iran, $139; and Venezuela was estimated at $117-$121-a-barrel.

Assuming that US shale-oil drillers don’t drop production, prices may drop even lower, causing major shakeups internationally.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It…or is it?
If you have been focusing on managing your business or budget, you may have missed that EPA has proposed to amend regulations pertaining to petroleum underground storage tanks for the first time since 1988. On September 25, 2014, EPA sent the proposed regulation to the White House Office of Management and Budget, one of the final hurdles to implementation.
There is no question that the regulations are coming and that you will have to manage the new regulations at some point. The regulations will absolutely affect your bottom line, especially if you are a “small business.” However, there is a lot of speculation and debate as to when, what, and how this regulation will affect a petroleum marketer.
We will be exploring whether the proposed regulations will be the end of the world or just another bump in the road. Stay tuned for the next 8 weeks as 7G provides an analysis of the main topics of the proposed regs and how they may affect your business. Check back in every week or subscribe to the 7G blog to stay informed.
Be careful not to stub your toe when dragging your feet in Michigan.

Michigan has a substantial backlog of cleanups from LUSTs (leaking underground storage tanks). Responsible parties know it and some have opted to create their own remediation timelines contrary to MI rules. Michigan regulators are catching on and taking action. In Department of Natural Resources and Environmental v. Strefling Oil Company, et al., an owner was faced with costs, fines and penalties due to his neglecting official deadlines for completing remediation milestones and submitting supporting documentation. The fine exceeded $800,000.00 and was upheld by the appellate court.

Many facility owners cringe at thought of having to manage remediation and incur the cost associated therewith. However, in Michigan (and many other states), it’s best to move forward in a timely manner (and grumble and curse if necessary) rather than incur the additional cost down the road of penalties and the headaches of litigation.

By: Nichole Crosby, 7G

Credits: Saulius Mikalonis http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140818/BLOG103/140819841/state-taking-action-on-owners-of-leaking-underground-storage-tanks
Over 6,500 fuel hoses are being recalled nationwide. Manufacturer Franklin Fueling Systems has placed a recall on their FLEX-ING FLEX-ON hardwall fuel hoses which are used in junction with nozzles, swivels and breakaways to dispense fuel.
The product has a faulty crimp which can cause the thread to loosen from the hose resulting in leaks and create a fire hazard. It is strongly suggested that consumers stop using the recalled hardware and replace it immediately. Leaking hoses are a threat both to consumer safety and the environment.

Read the full article at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/franklin-fueling-systems-recalls-hardwall-fuel-curb-hoses-100214.html
It’s no secret that compliance is a hot-button issue in today’s society. As such, environmental standards change often and are different in various regions. Maintaining a working understanding of the current compliance landscape is a key factor in managing the risk of accidents, fines, and lawsuits.
To make sure your business stays in compliance, you need to be aggressive. Maintaining internal systems to monitor systems, pipes, and tanks is a must. Otherwise, you’ll be playing catch up come inspection time.

John Cruden, the president of the Environmental Law Institute and a former deputy assistant attorney general for the environmental and natural resources division of the US Department of Justice, spoke at ALM’s 2014 Environmental Compliance and Commitment Legal Summit in New York City. He said that compliance has much to do with “preventing what he called unforced errors, the bad things that result not from intentional lawbreaking but from oversights that could otherwise have been prevented had the company been more careful about compliance in their environment, health, and safety function.” These ‘unforced errors’ can end up racking up tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

He also said that maintaining a compliance department is imperative to proactively avoid legal repercussions. However, keeping up with regulations, employee training, and periodic inspections can be both time-consuming and expensive. 7G Environmental Compliance Management can replace any and all internal programs, for a fraction of the cost. We can eliminate your compliance-related risk a minimize costs related to potential spills and accidents.

4 Lessons of Environmental Compliance from the NCAA and the Dallas Cowboys.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and superstar quarterback of 7G’s hometown FSU Seminole, Jameis Winston, just cannot get a break. He gets himself into precarious situations with coeds. He absentmindedly walks out of grocery stores without paying for crab legs. He stands up in public places yelling vulgar profanities.

“Why do I care,” you ask? You needn’t care about a college kid and his growing pains as a superstar athlete. However, if you are like me, you do ask, “Why can’t FSU and the NCAA prevent this type of behavior?” More conceptually, “Why doesn’t FSU better manage and minimize its risk?”

FSU could repeat profits of more than $10 million from its football program this year.   Those profits could increase significantly by going back-to-back National Champs and/or having one of two repeat Heisman Trophy winners in history.

How can FSU leave tens of millions of dollars to the behavioral whims of a 20-year-old athlete? It baffles me. Take his keys, institute a curfew, hire a full-time chaperone. Do something. Tim Cook, an educated professional and CEO of Apple, has a PR specialist who recently cut off a journalist mid-question to avoid a improbably slip by Cook, but FSU leaves its most visible and publicly scrutinized athlete to stand on tables in public and yell whatever comes to his mind. More baffling is the fact that this is not a new phenomenon, nor is it distinct to FSU. See Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, West Virginia, Alabama, Nebraska, Baylor, Ohio State, and FSU again.

The same conceptual problem is pervasive throughout the retail and commercial petroleum industry. Each petroleum storage tank system (“PSTS”) is a figurative Jameis Winston. Every PSTS represents a valuable asset that enables a significant profit. However, when left out of sight and out of mind, PSTSs will likely put you in an unexpected tight spot that could cost you thousands of dollars, and possibly over a million.

The President of FSU must wince every time Jameis Winston’s name hits the news. PSTS owners and operators feel that same pit in their stomach when they are notified about a PSTS failing, going into a significant alarm, having an overfill, etc. Yet like FSU, many PSTS owners fail to proactively manage the risk associated with their volatile assets.

Enter Dez Bryant.

A few years back Dez Bryant was another Jameis Winston except he caught passes instead of tossing them. Bryant was considered the best receiver in 2009 and a possible Heisman contender before a suspension for failing to fully disclose his interaction with Deion Sanders. (See ESPN). Oklahoma State University lost a lot of potential revenue from the suspension by not proactively managing their risk.

Enter Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

Dez Bryant was obviously going pro, just like Jameis Winston. However, Bryant was still available late in the first round of the 2010 draft due to concerns about his off-field issues, when the Cowboys took a chance on him. Bryant proved to have the on-field talent but, had several public missteps, such as a confrontation with mall security, lawsuits due to unpaid debts, and was arrested in July 2012 for domestic violence against his mother. (See ESPN).

Jerry had enough. In August 2012, he took matters into his own hands and implemented strict conduct guidelines for Bryant including: a midnight curfew, bi-weekly counseling, a driver, and most important, a rotating security team with one man accompanying Bryant at all times. (See ESPN).

The result.

In 2013, Dez Bryant had no personal issues to distract his game (or Jerry’s business). He is arguably the Cowboys best player. (See ESPN).   Bryant’s stats improved in 2012 and 2013. They look good for 2014. He has a touchdown in each of the last 4 games. Dez Bryant jersey sales rank 15th overall in the NFL. The Cowboys rank 4th in merchandise sales. Dallas is number one in ticket sales. Leave it to Jerry Jones to make a smart business decision to manage his risk, thus protecting his asset and his business.

The lessons.

PSTS owners and operators should learn a little of what to do from Jerry, and what not to do from FSU. Here are 4 things to take from Jerry’s actions that can help you manage your risk and maximize the value of your PSTS asset.

  1. Invest Wisely. Simply because an investment is not shiny and unblemished does not mean you should walk away from the opportunity. The secret is risk awareness and management, not risk aversion and elimination. This is the same for college football players and PSTS.  Do your due diligence.

  2. Have Realistic Expectations.  20 year old athletes screw up. PSTS components wear, leak, and fail.  Environmental managers and PSTS owners and operators are human, and have all been negligent at some time. And yes, regulators are becoming stricter and regulations more burdensome.   As a PSTS owner or operator, you need to know the environmental compliance world like the back of your hand. Your bottom line depends on it.  If you do not want to internalize the burden of managing environmental compliance, you need to get help.

  3. Manage Risk. By investing wisely and setting realistic expectations for managing your PSTSs you begin to manage your risk. Each company and its PSTS portfolio are different. You need to manage the risk accordingly. FSU needs to get one asset, Jameis Winston, under control. Ohio State, a few years back, needed a major overhaul of its program due to rampant violations of NCAA policies, arrests, etc. Accordingly, you may need a good environmental manager and a good maintenance team.   However, you may need a third party compliance consultant, inspectors, remote monitoring, and supplemental insurance. The worst thing you can do is put your head in the sand, wait for the storm to arrive, and hope it blows over.

  4. Make Money.  Most PSTS owners and operators view preventative risk management practices as a waste of money or a hit to their bottom line. I am sure Jerry’s disciplinary plan for Dez Bryant was not cheap. Moreover, the Cowboys faced no legal liability as a result of Bryant’s personal troubles. Regardless, Jerry still took action to maximize his return on investment by managing his risk.
PSTS owners need to internalize that compliance is no different. PSTS owners, operators or compliance managers are never awarded for “not having to pay penalties” or “not having a release” in a year.   Contrarily, when a release happens, regulatory penalties are assessed, an insurance claim is denied, or major PSTS repairs are needed, watch a company scramble and panic. It is only then that management practices finally change because of the realization that the amount of money spent controlling the damage is so disproportionately higher than managing risk proactively.

I hope that FSU recognizes the apparent risk Jameis Winston presents to organization and that they do not wait until they loose a game because he is suspended, or worse, loose millions in revenue due to missing a repeat national championship. I hope that PSTS owners and operators take action and manage environmental risk before a release or an enforcement action disrupts their business.
 

(and I hope Jerry Jones comes up with a recipe for winning like he has for making money)