You received a letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) recently and from A3 Environmental Consultants regarding an open Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) issue associated with your property. IEPA is stepping up enforcement for issues like these. We’d like show you your database record and how to read it, then pitch possible solutions to make these problems go away.
Finding Your LUST with “Free Product Discovered” in the IEPA Database.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Online Database
Click through the link above. It will open in another browser window. You will find several ways to filter for your property. The easiest way is to put in the LPC Number or the IEMA Number. A3 Environmental Consultants sent you a letter about this, both numbers will be on the letter you received.
How To Read Your LUST Database Record
You will notice the IEMA Number is clickable and will open your database record. In the example below you can see a NFR Date and the IEMA Date.
Your IEMA date tells you when the free product was discovered.
Your NFR date is empty right?
That means your project is still open and among the project types which are open, the worst kind of project to have is one with “Free Product Discovered”. This means straight petroleum leaked into the soil, possibly hundreds of gallons of it. The more time has passed between the petroleum spill and now, the more cranky the IEPA gets.
You will notice there are a series of tabs across the bottom of the screen. These are:
This is a map of where your LUST incident is located.
In general, you will find all the correspondence between yourself and the IEPA. You can see the type of communication and the date it was received or sent.
This outlines the reports submitted to the IEPA for review, the day they were received and the due date for the IEPA’s review of said report.
If you have received a No Further Remediation Letter, any stipulations outlined in the letter will be marked here.
What you will find here are the bills which were submitted on your behalf to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund. This fund is supplied with revenue from a small purchase on petroleum sales from retail vendors. You can see your deductible and all the payments that have been made to your consultant, if any.
Primary Responsible Party
The “Responsible Party” is the person who receives all the correspondence regarding your issue. Frequently this information is old and out-dated. The IEPA sends paperwork to the wrong location and you don’t know you have a very serious issue on your property. Not hearing anything back from the responsible party can cause the IEPA to ratchet up enforcement, especially in a “Free Product Discovered” scenario.
An Open LUST is Bad. Having “Free Product Discovered” is extra bad.
Having petroleum products in any quantity is bad, but when there’s a lot of it, and depending on the soil which could be clay, sand, or black dirt, the contamination can find its way off the property and into people’s drinking water. That’s when the IEPA really gets angry. In addition, your county health department is very concerned about people polluting, sometimes vast areas of other people’s property. In addition, often the pollution goes under land owned by the municipality or the state. A perfect example is when it goes under the street in front of the fuel retail operation. This becomes an issue when street repair, sewers, water or natural gas infrastructure needs to be installed or maintained. It can be a very serious impact on health and human safety.
Why is Your Leaking Underground Storage Tank Incident Unresolved?
Difficult Projects are Slow.
It’s possible your environmental consultant is working diligently to get your LUST incident resolved. The projects are notoriously slow and complicated.
Your Environmental Consultant is Doggin’ It.
There are plenty of reasons why an environmental consultant would work extra slow on a LUST project. The first is the State of Illinois doesn’t pay well, second, they don’t pay quickly. At A3 Environmental Consultants, we employ strategies to make these projects go faster. Call us and let’s talk about them. (630) 507-9033
You Slipped Through The IEPA Cracks
The State of Illinois has had some issues with money as of late. The staff at the IEPA has seen some turnover and new, young project managers were hired. They need some time to ramp up. Between this year and last year the IEPA has sent out 2500 letters, I like to call them “nasty-grams” to get these projects moving again.
IEPA isn’t Forcing Remedial Action. Why Should I Care About How Long it Takes?
Your property may be an operational gas station right now but someone might want to buy it for a bank, Dunkin’ Donuts, or a Starbucks. Corner lots on busy
streets are snatched up by real estate developers all the time. The problem for you is they will never buy your property, or better yet never pay what it’s worth, if you don’t close the LUST with a NFR. Additionally, your gas station may be marginally profitable and you might want to close it or find a developer. If that’s the case, you need to get crackin’.
Health & Human Safety
Leaking Underground Tanks often contaminate drinking water wells. If your site contaminates someone’s water, the county department of health will be up in your grill and while I’m not a lawyer, you could find yourself on the losing side of lawsuit. The remedy to such suits is often to connect the residential address affected to municipal water which can be very expensive, more money than just fixing the LUST problem.
Bad Public Relations Is Bad For Sales
These LUST incidents can find their way into the local press, the twitter-sphere and facebook news feeds. This bad PR can cause your local clients to stop shopping at your business altogether. It could shut down your operation, leaving you with an unsaleable property too.
Leaving this world better than we found it and maintaining it as best we can while we’re here leads to good Karma.
If you need help with your open LUST with Free Product Discovered issue, give A3 Environmental Consultants a call. We’ll work with the IEPA to get your environmental issue sorted out and behind you. If you have other current or future concerns regarding Leaking Underground Storage Tanks or the LUST Trust Fund, we’d love to talk with you, call us now! A3 Environmental Consultants can be reached at (630) 507-9033 or by email at LUST@A3E.com.