Why do I need UST Operator training for my business?

When running a gas station, one of the main goals and accomplishments is to turn a profit. This means creating a monthly budget and setting goals. Some of the ways a successful gas station manager does this is by implementing loss prevention, or loss due to theft, determining how much stock to order based on previous sales, controlling expenses and avoiding waste.

As an employer with an underground storage tank (UST), you may be asking certain questions:

  • Why should my business have UST Owner/Operator trained employees?
  • Who needs to complete UST training?
  • How does UST training benefit my business and my employees?
  • How does UST training save my business money?
ust_classab classc_training_certification
Image Credit: Shutterstock


Why should my business have UST training?

UST training is required by federal law. Section 1524 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 states that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with states, must develop training guidelines for three distinct classes of operators who operate and maintain federally regulated UST systems.

In 2015, the EPA established minimum training requirements for designated Class A, Class B, and Class C operators and mandated that all UST Operators in all states were to be trained by October 13, 2018. If you work at a facility (gas station, convenience store, etc.) with an underground storage tank, you will need to take UST operator training based on your job responsibilities:

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the underground storage tank (UST) regulations which includes minimum training requirements for owners and operators of UST systems.

UST Operator TrainingUST Operator Training - SALE 10% OFF
  • As mandated by the EPA, all UST operators were to be trained as of October 13, 2018.
  • All new UST operators must be trained within 30 days of assuming duties.
  • Class A/B - 4hr: $150 ($99 in some States)
  • Class C - 1hr only $10!
  • Enter Code "train10off" at Checkout

Who needs to complete UST training?

There are three classes of operators that need to be trained:

  • Class A training is required for person(s) having primary responsibility for on-site operation and maintenance of UST systems (owner or operator of a UST facility).
  • Class B training is required for persons involved with daily on-site operation and maintenance of UST systems.
  • Class C training is required for daily on-site employees having primary responsibility for addressing emergencies presented by a spill or release from a UST system.
ust_owner_operator_classab classc_training_certification
Image Source: Shutterstock

How does UST training benefit my business and my employees?

An employer will benefit by having trained employees on how to properly operate a UST system. The employees who complete UST training will learn about leak detection, inventory control, and emergency response.

Proper safety training is essential for the well-being of employees and customers. In order to minimize and prevent accidental leaks and spills to the greatest extent possible, owners and operators must be properly trained and certified in various aspects of system maintenance and operations.

Likewise, employees who perform inspections without proper training run the risk of injury and accidents. Typically it is up to the owner of the UST system to provide adequate training for employees. An employee must also be also be aware of some hazards that may arise from the customer at the pump (smoking, cell phones, static electricity, filling unapproved containers, unattended fueling, etc.).

Proper management of petroleum products, equipping USTs with self-regulating technologies such as leak detectors, implementing mandatory reporting of leaks, and ultimately creating a local environmental hazard surveillance system significantly reduces the prevalence of Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUSTs).


How does UST training save my business money?

An employer can save money while preventing inventory loss and environmental releases by having employees UST Operator trained.

Leak detection for USTs is required monthly. A trained operator who notes inventory discrepancy during the monthly check would be able to respond and prevent continued inventory loss. Inventory loss equals lost profits and could result in an environmental release.

If an environmental release occurred, additional insurance claim costs will also add to the losses. If the employee did not have any training, and the inventory loss continued unchecked, there could be a catastrophic environmental release besides the cost of the inventory loss, leading to years of environmental remediation and potential 3rd party lawsuits as well.

ust_owner_operator_classab classc_training_certification
Image Source: Shutterstock

Compliance Issues Affects Profits
The economic value of a business can be negatively impacted by improper operation and monitoring of USTs. A business can be even shutdown if a UST system is found to be out of compliance or in significant violation of UST regulations.

Leaking USTs often lead to costly site assessment and remediation projects. Environmental impacts can prevent you from selling your property or obtaining a loan from the bank. The sooner a release of petroleum is detected and mitigated, the less costly the subsequent spill assessment and remediation will be and the sooner your property will be restored to full value.

ust_owner_operator_classab classc_training_certification
Image Source: Shutterstock

UST Training Also Helps the Environment

Leaking USTs are a grave threat to America’s groundwater. About 20 million people drink water from small drinking water systems that get rely on groundwater. Gas stations, industries and other entities use USTs to hold toxic material such as gasoline and oil that contain dangerous substances, including benzene, toluene and heavy metals that can cause cancer and harm developing children. Benzene, one of the contaminants released from LUSTs, has been classified by the USEPA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a known human carcinogen that causes acute myelocytic leukemia and bone marrow depression.

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) can threaten communities as their walls corrode by silently leaking toxins into our drinking water supplies, homes and businesses. Preliminary research has found that children who live near gas stations or automobile repair shops were four times more likely to develop childhood leukemia than children who did not live near such stations establishments. Preventing a spill or release into the environment is the number one priority of an owner/operator of a underground storage tank (UST) system.

[1] Leaking Underground Storage Tanks and Environmental Injustice. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
[2] Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: A Threat to Public Health & Environment. Sierra Club, April 2005. (PDF)