Consider the Possibility: Closure with Free Product

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When the Ohio Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations (BUSTR) revised the regulations and guidance for addressing leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) in 2012, on the surface not much appeared to have changed other than the dates on the report forms.  But digging deeper into the revisions, one of the most important changes seems to be the agency’s approach to free product remaining at a site.   

The 2012 BUSTR Technical Guidance Manual includes guidance for demonstrating that free product recovery at a site is not practical.  Revising the regulations to include such an approach is an example of the agency’s willingness to embrace more risk-based thinking, as seen in other Ohio programs and in many state agencies across the country.  The guidance still defines very specific conditions that must exist in order to consider discontinuing free product recovery (e.g., proximity to drinking water wells, sensitive areas, age of plume, groundwater concentrations, etc.).  A request for discontinuing product recovery must be made in writing and must include multiple lines of evidence supporting the request, including historical data trends, recovery methods that have been employed, and evaluations of current and future potential exposure pathways.  In some cases, a “No Further Action” determination may be contingent upon maintaining certain land use restrictions placed on the site or conducting periodic long-term monitoring. 

PSARA Technologies has been successful in obtaining closure in less than a year of implementing the new guidance by demonstrating a long history (approximately 4 years) of stable product thickness (0.01 to 0.25 feet) and dissolved concentrations below BUSTR action levels.  Closure was achieved without the use of property restrictions.  PSARA is in the process of applying it to other sites as well.  If you have questions as to whether your site may be suitable for such an approach, contact Mike O’Connell of PSARA at (513)-791-4418 or