• DEP Proposed Rule: Allow Diesel ASTs in Sand & Gravel Aquifers
  • May 31, 2012 | Author: Katherine A. Joyce
  • Law Firm: Bernstein Shur - Portland Office
  • On May 16, 2012, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a notice of rule-making with potential impacts for municipalities. Existing DEP Rule Chapter 692 prohibits locating oil storage facilities in significant sand and gravel aquifers. The notice indicates that the DEP is proposing to amend that chapter to allow a conditional exemption to the prohibition. The exemption would allow above-ground diesel storage tanks to be placed in sand and gravel pits if the aggregate capacity of the tanks does not exceed 1,100 gallons and the operator meets specified conditions designed to minimize the risk of discharges. Gasoline storage would not be allowed because of its greater mobility and toxicity.

    If the design requirements are adequate to prevent all spills, municipalities are not expected to be impacted. Should spills occur they could contaminate the source of many communities’ current and future drinking water. As operators satisfy the requirements of the exemptions, they may be able to escape some or all liability for the environmental consequences of a spill.

    Opportunities to weigh in on the sufficiency of the protections afforded by the proposed revision are as follows:

    • A public hearing will be held on June 5, 2012 at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Response Building, located at 4 Blossom Lane, Augusta, ME.

    • Written comments are due to the DEP by June 15, 2012.