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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 580. Underground Storage Tanks: Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements
12/16/2019

9VAC25-580-160. Methods of Release Detection for Tanks.

Owners and operators must obtain a permit and the required inspections in accordance with 9VAC25-580-50 or 9VAC25-580-60 for the installation of certain release detection equipment contained in subdivisions 4 through 9 of this section.

Each method of release detection for tanks used to meet the requirements of 9VAC25-580-140 must be conducted in accordance with the following and be designed to detect releases at the earliest possible time for the specific method chosen:

1. Inventory control. Product inventory control (or another test of equivalent performance) must be conducted monthly to detect a release of at least 1.0% of flow-through plus 130 gallons on a monthly basis in the following manner:

a. Inventory volume measurements for regulated substance inputs, withdrawals, and the amount still remaining in the tank are recorded each operating day;

b. The equipment used is capable of measuring the level of product over the full range of the tank's height to the nearest 1/8 of an inch;

c. The regulated substance inputs are reconciled with delivery receipts by measurement of the tank inventory volume before and after delivery;

d. Deliveries are made through a drop tube that extends to within one foot of the tank bottom;

e. Product dispensing is metered and recorded according to regulations of the Bureau of Weights and Measures of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for meter calibration within their jurisdiction; for all other product dispensing meter calibration, an accuracy of six cubic inches for every five gallons of product withdrawn is required; and

f. The measurement of any water level in the bottom of the tank is made to the nearest 1/8 of an inch at least once a month.

NOTE: Practices described in the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice RP 1621 Bulk Liquid Stock Control at Retail Outlets, may be used, where applicable, as guidance in meeting the requirements of this subsection.

2. Manual tank gauging. Manual tank gauging must meet the following requirements:

a. Tank liquid level measurements are taken at the beginning and ending of a period using the appropriate minimum duration of test value in the table below during which no liquid is added to or removed from the tank;

b. Level measurements are based on an average of two consecutive stick readings at both the beginning and ending of the period;

c. The equipment used is capable of measuring the level of product over the full range of the tank's height to the nearest 1/8 of an inch;

d. A release is suspected and subject to the requirements of Part V (9VAC25-580-190 et seq.) if the variation between beginning and ending measurements exceeds the weekly or monthly standards in the following table:

Nominal Tank Capacity

Minimum Duration of Test

Weekly Standard (One Test)

Monthly Standard (Four Test Average)

550 gallons or less

36 hours

10 gallons

5 gallons

551 - 1,000 gallons

(when tank diameter is 64 inches)

44 hours

9 gallons

4 gallons

551 - 1,000 gallons

(when tank diameter is 48 inches)

58 hours

12 gallons

6 gallons

551 -1,000 gallons

(also requires periodic tank tightness testing)

36 hours

13 gallons

7 gallons

1001 - 2,000 gallons

(also requires periodic tank tightness testing)

36 hours

26 gallons

13 gallons

e. Tanks of 550 gallons or less nominal capacity and tanks with a nominal capacity of 551 to 1,000 gallons that meet the tank diameter criteria in the table in subdivision 2 d of this section may use this as the sole method of release detection. All other tanks with a nominal capacity of 551 to 2,000 gallons may use the method in place of inventory control in subdivision 1 of this section. Tanks of greater than 2,000 gallons nominal capacity may not use this method to meet the requirements of this part.

3. Tank tightness testing. Tank tightness testing (or another test of equivalent performance) must be capable of detecting a 0.1 gallon per hour leak rate from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product while accounting for the effects of thermal expansion or contraction of the product, vapor pockets, tank deformation, evaporation or condensation, and the location of the water table.

4. Automatic tank gauging. Equipment for automatic tank gauging that tests for the loss of product and conducts inventory control must meet the following requirements:

a. The automatic product level monitor test can detect a 0.2 gallon per hour leak rate from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product;

b. The automatic tank gauging equipment must meet the inventory control (or other test of equivalent performance) requirements of subdivision 1 of this section; and

c. The test must be performed with the system operating in one of the following modes:

(1) In-tank static testing conducted at least once every 30 days; or

(2) Continuous in-tank leak detection operating on an uninterrupted basis or operating within a process that allows the system to gather incremental measurements to determine the leak status of the tank at least once every 30 days.

5. Vapor monitoring. Testing or monitoring for vapors within the soil gas of the excavation zone must meet the following requirements:

a. The materials used as backfill are sufficiently porous (e.g., gravel, sand, crushed rock) to readily allow diffusion of vapors from releases into the excavation area;

b. The stored regulated substance, or a tracer compound placed in the tank system, is sufficiently volatile (e.g., gasoline) to result in a vapor level that is detectable by the monitoring devices located in the excavation zone in the event of a release from the tank;

c. The measurement of vapors by the monitoring device is not rendered inoperative by the groundwater, rainfall, or soil moisture or other known interferences so that a release could go undetected for more than 30 days;

d. The level of background contamination in the excavation zone will not interfere with the method used to detect releases from the tank;

e. The vapor monitors are designed and operated to detect any significant increase in concentration above background of the regulated substance stored in the tank system, a component or components of that substance, or a tracer compound placed in the tank system;

f. In the UST excavation zone, the site is assessed to ensure compliance with the requirements in subdivisions a through d of this subdivision 5 and to establish the number and positioning of monitoring wells that will detect releases within the excavation zone from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product; and

g. Monitoring wells are clearly marked and secured to avoid unauthorized access and tampering.

6. Groundwater monitoring. Testing or monitoring for liquids on the groundwater must meet the following requirements:

a. The regulated substance stored is not readily miscible in water and has a specific gravity of less than one;

b. Groundwater is never more than 20 feet from the ground surface and the hydraulic conductivity of the soils between the UST system and the monitoring wells or devices is not less than 0.01 cm/sec (e.g., the soil should consist of gravels, coarse to medium sands, coarse silts or other permeable materials);

c. The slotted portion of the monitoring well casing must be designed to prevent migration of natural soils or filter pack into the well and to allow entry of regulated substance on the water table into the well under both high and low groundwater conditions;

d. Monitoring wells shall be sealed from the ground surface to the top of the filter pack;

e. Monitoring wells or devices intercept the excavation zone or are as close to it as is technically feasible;

f. The continuous monitoring devices or manual methods used can detect the presence of at least 1/8 of an inch of free product on top of the groundwater in the monitoring wells;

g. Within and immediately below the UST system excavation zone, the site is assessed to ensure compliance with the requirements in subdivisions a through e of this subdivision 6 and to establish the number and positioning of monitoring wells or devices that will detect releases from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product; and

h. Monitoring wells are clearly marked and secured to avoid unauthorized access and tampering.

7. Interstitial monitoring. Interstitial monitoring between the UST system and a secondary barrier immediately around or beneath it may be used, but only if the system is designed, constructed and installed to detect a leak from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product and also meets one of the following requirements:

a. For double-walled UST systems, the sampling or testing method can detect a leak through the inner wall in any portion of the tank that routinely contains product;

b. For UST systems with a secondary barrier within the excavation zone, the sampling or testing method used can detect a leak between the UST system and the secondary barrier:

(1) The secondary barrier around or beneath the UST system consists of artificially constructed material that is sufficiently thick and impermeable (at least 10-6 cm/sec for the regulated substance stored) to direct a leak to the monitoring point and permit its detection;

(2) The barrier is compatible with the regulated substance stored so that a leak from the UST system will not cause a deterioration of the barrier allowing a release to pass through undetected;

(3) For cathodically protected tanks, the secondary barrier must be installed so that it does not interfere with the proper operation of the cathodic protection system;

(4) The groundwater, soil moisture, or rainfall will not render the testing or sampling method used inoperative so that a release could go undetected for more than 30 days;

(5) The site is assessed to ensure that the secondary barrier is always above the groundwater and not in a 25-year flood plain, unless the barrier and monitoring designs are for use under such conditions; and

(6) Monitoring wells are clearly marked and secured to avoid unauthorized access and tampering.

c. For tanks with an internally fitted liner, an automated device can detect a leak between the inner wall of the tank and the liner, and the liner is compatible with the substance stored.

8. Statistical inventory reconciliation. Release detection methods based on the application of statistical principles to inventory data similar to those described in subdivision 1 of this section must meet the following requirements:

a. Report a quantitative result with a calculated leak rate;

b. Be capable of detecting a leak rate of 0.2 gallon per hour or a release of 150 gallons within 30 days; and

c. Use a threshold that does not exceed one-half the minimum detectible leak rate.

9. Other methods. Any other type of release detection method, or combination of methods, can be used if:

a. It can detect a 0.2 gallon per hour leak rate or a release of 150 gallons within a month with a probability of detection of 0.95 and a probability of false alarm of 0.05; or

b. The board may approve another method if the owner and operator can demonstrate that the method can detect a release as effectively as any of the methods allowed in subdivisions 3 through 8 of this section. In comparing methods, the board shall consider the size of release that the method can detect and the frequency and reliability with which it can be detected. If the method is approved, the owner and operator must comply with any conditions imposed by the board on its use to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15 and 62.1-44.34:9 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 6901 et seq.; 40 CFR Parts 280 and 281.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-02 § 4.4, eff. October 25, 1989; amended, Volume 34, Issue 01, eff. January 1, 2018; Errata, 34:4 VA.R. 503 October 16, 2017.

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