Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Trust Fund
Total Stimulus Appropriation: $200 Million
New Jersey’s Portion: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) formally awarded New Jersey $4.8 million on July 9 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to clean up leaking underground storage tanks at locations across the state. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently engaged contractors with funds from the stimulus measure to begin remedial work at two sites: Eric’s Main Street Mobil in Flemington and P&R Petroleum in Northfield City. These are the first two of 16 planned site cleanups using funds allocated to New Jersey under the Recovery Act.
Allocation Method: New Jersey received its share based on a Federal Formula.
Program Overview
The federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund provides states with grant funding to oversee and conduct the cleanup of discharges resulting from underground storage tanks (UST) regulated by Subtitle I of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The largest single group of USTs covered by this program contains motor fuel at gasoline service stations and commercial establishments.

It is the EPA’s intent to use the funding under this legislation for direct remediation activities at regulated UST sites with confirmed discharges or for the investigation of sites with suspected discharges in order confirm or disprove a release. Eligible sites will be those where the responsible party is unwilling or unable to conduct the required activities. Since these activities will be conducted at privately owned properties, gaining site access via enforcement and legal mechanisms will be significant and critical steps to initiating the expenditure of these public funds. Cost recovery from a responsible party is a required component of the LUST Trust Fund with any recovered funds remaining available to the state for fund eligible uses.

These LUST Trust stimulus funds represent a 400 percent increase above the normal annual allocation. Since the stimulus funds will be for activities necessary to pursue publicly funded remediation and oversight, DEP estimates that 16 additional leaking UST sites will be slated for remediation using this funding directly. DEP estimates that the enforcement leverage made available through these funds will cause another 20 leaking UST cases to come into compliance. Both publicly funded and responsible party conducted remediation initiated as a result of these stimulus funds will create jobs.

Federal Requirements and Restrictions
A workplan and application was required for approval by Region 2 EPA in order to receive these LUST Trust Funds. Workplan activities include programmatic requirements including progress reporting (site specific and non-site specific), cost recovery and closeout actions.

States are required to attempt cost recovery of LUST Trust Funds used to remediation sites. Cost recovery must be in accordance with EPA's LUST Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement Guidelines (OSWER Directive 9650.10A) and EPA's Cost Recover Policy for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund (OSWER Directive 9610.10A).

Not less than 35 percent of these funds must be obligated and 15 percent expended within nine months to accomplish rapid job creation.

Program Eligibility
The LUST Trust Funds can only be used for remediation activities related to leaking USTs regulated by Subtitle I of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In addition, these funds can be used at these UST sites for investigative activities to confirm a suspected release. Funds are to be spent at sites where the UST owner and operator (responsible parties) are unable and\or unwilling to conduct the remediation.
Project Prioritization
The Department has identified potential candidates for stimulus funding taking into account:
1) Sites with final enforcement orders where full compliance has not been achieved; and,
2) Sites located in Tier 1 Wellhead Protection Areas, incidents have been reported and UST Closure Reports to confirm the releases and document corrective action have not been submitted.

DEP has requested flexibility to add and subtract cases from this list based on case priority in order to protect public health and the environment, case complexity, compliance status of the responsible parties and ability to gain site access.

Important Program Dates
EPA awarded DEP $4.8 million in LUST Trust stimulus funds on July 7 and DEP has already hired contractors to begin work at two sites to clean up leaking underground storage tanks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (UST) Trust Fund?
A1. The LUST Trust Fund was established by Congress in 1986 by amending Subtitle I of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  It provides money to states and the EPA in order to implement cleanups of USTs that are regulated by Subtitle I of RCRA. The single largest universe of regulated USTs includes tanks storing motor fuel at service stations and businesses. Heating oil USTs at residences or business are not regulated by this law. Money from this fund is used to oversee cleanups conducted by tank owners and operators and for taking enforcement action to compel cleanups. Funds are also used for direct cleanup activities when a responsible party(ies) is unwilling, unknown or unable to conduct a required cleanup.

Q2. Where does the Leaking UST Trust Fund come from?
A2. The Leaking UST Trust Fund is funded by a 0.1 cent tax on each gallon of motor fuel sold nationwide.

Q3. How much money is being provided nationwide and to New Jersey from the Leaking UST Trust Fund as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?
A3. Nationwide, $200,000,000 is being made available for UST cleanups under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Based on a formula used by the EPA, New Jersey received $4,819,000.

Q4. If I am an UST owner or operator in New Jersey, is this a fund that I can apply to for financial assistance to do my own cleanup?
A4. No.  The money the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) receives from the Leaking UST Trust Fund is used to administer the program to oversee responsible party cleanups.   New Jersey has a number of other funding sources available in the form of grants and loans to help individuals fund site cleanup activities.   Please see http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/finance/  for more details.

Q5. How does New Jersey intend to use the Leaking UST Funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009?
A5. DEP plans to use the funding to oversee and conduct site cleanup activities at sites where the responsible parties are unable and unwilling to conduct the required cleanup. DEP plans to hire contractors to implement various aspects of this work including site investigations, remedial investigations, leaking UST closures and other remedial actions. Hiring contractors will achieve a key ARRA objective by creating jobs. As DEP pursues enforcement actions to gain site access to private properties to conduct this work, DEP expects that some responsible parties will decide to comply with their cleanup obligations without the need to actually spend LUST Trust Funds.

Any Leaking UST Trust Funds spent directly on site cleanup are subject to cost recovery. DEP will use all mechanisms available to recover these from those responsible for the contamination. Recovered funds can then be used for future fund eligible activities.

Q6. How many UST sites does the NJDEP expect to cleanup with these funds?
A6. For planning purposes, the NJDEP expects that it will be able to address 16 UST sites at a cost of $250,000 per site.   These estimates can vary based on site complexity, amount of petroleum released, age of the spill, the presence of ground water contamination, etc.