Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
November 2003
Commerce Applies for EPA Approval of Wisconsinís Tank Program

The Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, has applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval of Wisconsinís program for the regulation of underground storage tanks. Commerce has taken this step in line with Gov. Doyleís Grow Wisconsin plan to streamline regulatory processes. Owners and operators in states that have an EPA-approved underground storage tank program are not subject to conflicting sets of statutes and regulations. Once our program is approved, Wisconsin will have the lead role in underground storage-tank program enforcement.

A state program is approved if it is judged to meet three criteria:

  • It sets standards for eight performance criteria that are no less stringent than federal standards.
  • It contains provisions for adequate enforcement.
  • It regulates at least the same underground storage tanks as are regulated under federal standards.

Currently, 33 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have EPA-approved programs. Every state but Idaho has a comprehensive set of underground storage tank leak prevention and detection regulations, and a program to implement those regulations, and all states have cleanup programs. Even for states without state program approval, EPA enters into grant/cooperative agreements with the state programs, and in nearly all cases, the state program is designated as the primary implementing agency. While both federal and state regulations apply in states without state program approval, state regulations are generally just as stringent as EPA's regulations.

A majority of the Wisconsin regulations for underground storage tanks are found in Ch. Comm 10, "Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code," which is administered and enforced by the Department of Commerce. The requirements for the emergency response to a release from an underground storage tank are found in Ch. NR 706, "Hazardous Substance Discharge Notification and Source Confirmation Requirements," administered and enforced by the Department of Natural Resources.

--Berni Mattsson

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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