UST Operator Training Resources

Basic Information About The Underground Storage Tank Program

In 1985, EPA created the Office of Underground Storage Tanks to carry out a Congressional mandate to develop and implement a regulatory program for underground storage tank (UST) systems. EPA works with its state, territorial, and tribal partners to prevent and clean up releases from UST systems. For the legislative history of the UST program, see “What Is The History Of The Federal Underground Storage Tank Program?

What Is An Underground Storage Tank System?
An underground storage tank system is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply to only underground tanks and piping storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

Who Implements The UST Program?
The underground storage tank program is primarily implemented by states and territories. Your first point of contact is the state or territorial regulatory agency that has jurisdiction where the USTs are physically located. See state and territorial UST program offices for a list of contacts.

If you have a question that involves USTs in Indian Country, contact your EPA regional office. EPA has responsibility for, and authority over, USTs in Indian Country.

How Do Underground Storage Tanks Affect Groundwater?
Leaking underground storage tank systems pose a significant threat to groundwater quality in the United States. It has been reported that groundwater supplies drinking water to approximately 50 percent of the nation’s overall population and 99 percent of the population in rural areas. The following resources provide information about underground storage tanks and groundwater.

EPA’s 2008 Report on the Environment
2008 report about recent trends in human health and the environment

National Water Quality Inventory 2000 Report
2000 report prepared under Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. See Chapter 6 for information about ground water quality and underground storage tanks.

The Ground Water Report to the Nation: A Call to Action (PDF)  (164 pp, 15.7MB, About PDF)
2007 report from the Ground Water Protection Council. Section 7 addresses groundwater and underground storage tanks.

UST Operator Training – EPA Minimum Training Requirements

The EPA established the following minimum training requirements for designated UST Class A, Class B, and Class C operators. All operators must be trained by October 13, 2018. After this date, new Class A and Class B operators must be trained within 30 days of assuming duties. Class C operators must be trained before assuming duties.

Class A operators – Each designated Class A operator must either be trained or pass a comparable examination that provides general knowledge of the following requirements:

  • Spill and overfill prevention
  • Release detection
  • Corrosion protection
  • Emergency response
  • Product and equipment compatibility and demonstration
  • Financial responsibility
  • Notification and storage tank registration
  • Temporary and permanent closure
  • Related reporting, recordkeeping, testing, and inspections
  • Environmental and regulatory consequences of releases
  • Training requirements for Class B and Class C operators

At a minimum, the training program must evaluate Class A operators to determine if they have the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions regarding compliance and determine whether appropriate individuals are fulfilling the operation, maintenance, and recordkeeping requirements for UST systems.

Class B operators – Each designated Class B operator must either be trained or pass an examination about the regulatory requirements and typical equipment used at UST facilities; or site-specific requirements which address only the regulatory requirements and equipment specific to the facility:

  • Operation and maintenance
  • Spill and overfill prevention
  • Release detection and related reporting
  • Corrosion protection
  • Emergency response
  • Product and equipment compatibility and demonstration
  • Reporting, recordkeeping, testing, and inspections
  • Environmental and regulatory consequences of releases
  • Training requirements for Class C operators

At a minimum, the training program must evaluate Class B operators to determine if they have the knowledge and skills to implement applicable UST regulatory requirements on the components of either: typical UST systems or site-specific equipment used at their UST facility.

Class C operators – Each designated Class C operator must either: be trained by a Class A or Class B operator; complete a training program; or pass a comparable examination. The training option chosen must teach or evaluate the Class C operator’s knowledge to take appropriate actions (including notifying appropriate authorities) in response to emergencies or alarms caused by spills or releases resulting from the operation of the UST system.

The Training Program

Training Requirements – This term covers the minimum requirements listed for the classes of operators described above and includes an evaluation through testing, a practical demonstration, or another approach acceptable to the implementing agency. A comparable examination must, at a minimum, test the knowledge of the Class A, Class B, or Class C operators in accordance with the requirements for each class listed above.

Retraining – Class A and B operators at UST systems determined to be out of compliance must be retrained within 30 days of the determination of noncompliance. For retraining, the training program or comparable examination must be developed or administered by an independent organization, the implementing agency, or a recognized authority. Retraining must, at a minimum, cover those areas found to be out of compliance. Retraining is not required if:

  • Class A and B operators take annual refresher training.
  • The implementing agency waives retraining.

Records – Owners and operators must maintain a record identifying all currently designated operators at the facility. The record must include the operator name, operator class, date assumed duties, and training or retraining dates. In addition, owners and operators must have records verifying completion of training or retraining. This record must have the trainee name, date trained, operator training class completed, name of training company or examiner, and the training company’s name, address and telephone number.

References:

 

UST Systems Information in Your Area

With the exception of UST systems located on Indian Lands, states have the primary authority to implement the UST program within their boundaries. For the latest information on the status of the UST programs in the states, click the applicable state or region:

Region 1 – comprised of the states Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Region 2 – comprised of the states New Jersey, New York, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Region 3 – comprised of the states Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Region 4 – comprised of the states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Region 5 – comprised of the states Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Region 6 – comprised of the states Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Region 7 – comprised of the states Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Region 8 – comprised of the states Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Region 9 – comprised of the states Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the territories of Guam and American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Region 10 – comprised of the states Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

UST Class A/B Operator Training Course Description

UST Class A Operators have primary responsibility for on-site operation and maintenance of a UST facility. This individual is generally the owner of the station or the designee. For large corporations, this person is the manager or designee responsible for tank operations.

UST Class B Operators have responsibility for the day-to-day aspects of operating, maintaining, and record keeping of a UST facility. This individual (or individuals) is generally the owner or the person/company contracted by the owner to maintain the tanks. For large corporations, this person is the employee, or person/company contracted by the corporation to maintain the tanks.

Course Summary

The UST Class A/B operator training course is presented in chapters. Each chapter utilizes multimedia to enrich the learning experience. Each chapter is followed by a quiz. If the student answers a quiz question incorrectly, the quiz feedback redirects the student to the correct course information.

In addition to the quizzes, the UST Class A/B operator training course includes a final exam of 100 questions, 80% of which must be answered correctly in order to print a certificate.

There is not any time restriction to access the course, so students can complete the entire course in a single session (approximately 4 hours plus exam time) or take the course in segments.

Duration: 4 hours

Purpose & Objective

The purpose of the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Training Program is to protect human health and the environment by preventing future petroleum underground storage tank releases and remediating existing petroleum underground storage tank contamination.

  • Class A operators must be trained how to manage resources and personnel; maintain compliance with federal, state, and local regulations; ensure that required records are kept; and that operators at the facility are trained to respond to releases, spills, and other emergencies.
  • Class B operators must be trained how to meet recordkeeping and reporting requirements; ensure that equipment complies with industry standards; and train personnel to properly respond to emergencies caused by releases or spills.

By combining Class A and Class B operator training into a single test, important employee cross-training is achieved.

UST Class A/B Operator Course Outline

  • Chapter 1: Operator Overview
    This chapter describes the primary responsibilities of the Class A, Class B, and Class C operator. It also includes the training requirements for each class of operator.
  • Chapter 2: System and Components
    This chapter seeks to raise environmental awareness as well as clearly communicate a fundamental comprehension of UST systems. Components covered include secondary containment, emergency shut-off valves, vapor recovery, tank materials, and piping materials. A download of UST terminology is available here.
  • Chapter 3: Release Detection
    This chapter emphasizes release detection methods. Equipment testing, the analysis of test results, as well as monitoring of the UST system are addressed in this chapter. Release detection methods covered include automatic tank gauging (ATG), inventory control, secondary containment with interstitial monitoring, statistical inventory reconciliation (SIR), manual tank gauging, vacuum monitoring, soil vapor monitoring, groundwater monitoring, and tank tightness testing. Release detection methods for piping, such as electronic and manual line leak detectors, are also discussed.
  • Chapter 4: Release Prevention
    This chapter prompts the trainee to be proactive in preventing spills and releases. It covers the system components that are designed to prevent corrosion, spills, and overfills. These include spill buckets and sumps as well as sacrificial anode and impressed current cathodic systems, overfill protection valves, overfill alarms, and ball float valves. Secondary containment as well as alarms and warnings are covered in this chapter. An EPA Correct Filling Checklist is available for download.
  • Chapter 5: Planning and Response
    The focus of this chapter is preparation for a release and initial response actions. Topics include recognizing warning signs of a leak, maintaining spill kits, knowing the location of the Emergency Stop button, and posting emergency contact information. Critical attention is given to clean-up and release reporting requirements, including sensitive receptor protection and state notification requirements.
  • Chapter 6: Financial Responsibility/Financial Documents
    Owners and operators of petroleum USTs must demonstrate financial responsibility for bodily injury and property damage caused by spill and releases. This chapter covers financial responsibility statutes and financial assurance mechanisms as well as recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
  • Chapter 7: Registration and Installation
    This chapter discusses required documentation and reporting. Topics include tank permits, registration and administrative documents, and UST installation requirements.
  • Chapter 8: Inspection and Closure
    UST testing and inspection requirements are covered in this chapter. Delivery prohibition and temporary and permanent tank closures are also addressed.

End of Course Instructions

Print a copy of your completion certificate for your employer and records. You may also login and reprint your certificate at any time.

UST Class C Operator Training Course Description

UST Class C Operators are the first responders to emergency situations at a UST facility – like a gas station or convenience store. These individuals are usually the clerks of a facility.

UST Class C Operators monitor fuel deliveries to the tanks; control and/or monitor the dispensing or sale of regulated substances; and respond to alarms, releases, and other emergency situations.

Course Summary

The UST Class C Operator training course consists of seven chapters. Each chapter is followed by a short quiz. Once a student has completed all chapters and quizzes, the learner will be directed to print out a course checklist.

The course is instructed through a student orientation tour of a mock facility, where a manager (or Class B Operator) will identify and explain each topic and then mark them off a checklist when completed. When the checklist has been completed, the student can then print the UST Class C operator certificate.

There is not any time restriction to access the course, so students may take as much time as needed to complete their training.

Duration: 1 hour

Purpose & Objective

The purpose of the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Training Program is to protect human health and the environment by preventing future petroleum underground storage tank releases and remediating existing petroleum underground storage tank contamination.

UST Class C operators must be trained how to respond to emergencies (such as situations posing an immediate danger or threat to the public or to the environment and that require immediate action) and alarms caused by spills or releases from an underground storage tank system.

Course Outline

  • Chapter 1: Facility Overview
    This chapter provides a basic overview of the primary components of a typical UST facility. These components include the USTs, manways, spill buckets, fuel dispensers, and dispenser nozzles.
  • Chapter 2: Monitoring
    This chapter emphasizes the components used to monitor a UST facility. Students will learn what an Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) is and does, how to interpret its alarms and warnings, and what to do in case of an alarm. The role of line leak detectors is also discussed.
  • Chapter 3: Environmental
    In this chapter, students learn about sensitive receptors, or places where a fuel spill may leave the facility and enter the environment. The chapter also introduces students to the spill kit and its contents, and how to use spill kit components to contain spills threatening sensitive receptors like curb breaks and drains.
  • Chapter 4: Fueling Rules
    The focus of this chapter is fuel delivery safety. Students will watch a short video on proper fueling procedures. Students also learn about hazards at the fueling point, including smoking, static electricity, leaving a vehicle unattended while fueling, and leaving a vehicle running while fueling.
  • Chapter 5: Delivery Procedures
    This chapter teaches the student how to supervise a fuel delivery and monitor for problems during a fuel delivery. Additional emphasis is placed on the ATG and on overfill prevention devices like overfill prevention valves and ball float valves. Delivery prohibitions are also addressed.
  • Chapter 6: Safety
    This chapter covers safety information every Class C Operator needs to respond to emergencies. Included here is a video explaining when and how to use a fire extinguisher. The Emergency Stop and All Stop buttons are identified and discussed.
  • Chapter 7: Emergency Situations
    This chapter discusses common emergency situations and proper responses to them, including what to do if a vehicle leaves the facility with the nozzle still in the vehicle’s fuel spout. Managing customer traffic in the event of a spill is also covered. Correct fire extinguisher operation is reviewed.
  • Chapter 8: Final Checklist
    Review and complete the checklist to complete your training

End of Course Instructions

Print a copy of your completion certificate for your employer and records. You may also login and reprint your certificate at any time.