Petroleum releases from underground storage tanks are a real danger for the environment and for people living in the area near the release. It is for this reason that the federal government requires that all owners and/or operators of underground storage tanks that hold petroleum (with a few exceptions), have a certain level of financial responsibility they can meet in order to pay for clean up associated with storage tank releases.
These federal regulations apply to owners, operators, marketers, and non-marketers of petroleum storage tanks. The full list of groups and regulations can be found here in the EPA’s booklet “Dollars and Sense” which covers financial responsibility requirements for storage tanks. Though different groups have different requirements as far as responsibility is concerned, there are a few blanket rules that apply to most groups in question.
In general, producers, refiners, marketers, and nonmarketers must have a per occurrence (per release) coverage of $1 million and an aggregate coverage (total coverage for all tanks owned) of $1 million. This number jumps to $2 million if the party owns more than 100 tanks, and drops to $500,000 for nonmarketers whose throughput is 10,000 gallons or less per month.
Groups can obtain coverage from numerous sources including private insurance, self-insurance (determined by financial tests), trust funds, and state financial assistance programs. See the EPA’s Dollars and Sense for more information on financial responsibility and where and how to obtain coverage for your petroleum tanks.