On August 8, 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that requires everyone from clerks to senior management to receive some form of Designated Operator Training. This training must be completed on or before August 8, 2012. This law significantly affects all underground storage tank programs and will require major changes to existing policies and procedures.
The goal of this legislation is to reduce underground storage tank releases to our environment. This is a national requirement and is mandatory for all underground storage tank (UST) operators. The type of training required will depend on the individual job responsibilities of the employee operating the tanks. However, all operators must eventually have some understanding of UST systems as it pertains to leak detection, spill prevention, over-fill prevention, corrosion protection and emergency response procedures.
A few states still need to finalize their requirements and will have later dates. In those states without final requirements, operators do not need to meet training requirements until their state issues final requirements.
Three classes of operators are designated by the requirement include:
- Class A Operator is any person having primary responsibility for on-site operation and maintenance of underground storage tank systems. Class This operator may be the owner/operator, an employee or a contractor with general knowledge and understanding of the UST system.
- Class B Operator is any person having daily on-site responsibility for the operation and maintenance of underground storage tank systems. This can be employees or a contractor with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the UST systems. They must know how to operate and maintain the system as well as possess a thorough understanding of the federal and state regulatory requirements that apply.
- Class C Operator is any on-site employee having primary responsibility for addressing emergencies presented by a spill or release from an underground storage tank system. This employee can be trained by a Class A, B or A/B Operator. They should understand emergency procedures know how to respond to alarms at the facility.
These requirements will present new challenges and impose new responsibilities upon UST owners and operators across the nation. Compliance with your state specific operator training requirements is a regulatory requirement that in the end could be your greatest resource for avoiding the environmental liability associated with petroleum spills.
Contact OCCU-TEC to learn more about training and our designated operator services.