The Underground Storage Tank (UST) Fund helps tank owners and operators pay for cleaning up leaks from petroleum USTs. By doing so, the UST Fund also satisfies the federal financial assurance requirements for all Illinois tank owners and operators. Since its inception in 1989, the UST Fund has paid more than $800 million. Illinois generates money for the UST Fund through a $0.003 per-gallon motor fuel tax and an $0.008 per-gallon environmental impact fee, both of which are due to expire in 2025.
A leaking UST site during remediation
Two state agencies share administration of the UST Fund. The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) determines if an UST owner or operator is eligible for payment from the UST Fund and determines the deductible amount to be paid by the owner or operator. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) reviews budgets and payment requests for corrective action to determine if the costs are reasonable, eligible, and consistent with the associated technical plan. The Illinois EPA also prepares and processes vouchers for payment claims. Two other state agencies are involved in the financial aspect of the UST Fund; the Illinois Department of Revenue collects the motor fuel tax and environmental impact fee, and the Office of the Comptroller issues the checks once Illinois EPA has prepared and processed a voucher for payment claims.
Three sets of laws and regulations affect the payment of costs related to a tank release:
Sections 22.18, 22.18a, 22.18b, and 22.18c of the Environmental Protection Act (Act) and 35 Illinois Administrative Code (35 Ill. Adm. Code) 731, referred to as Old Law or Part 731, apply to owners and operators of USTs that contain petroleum who reported a release before September 13, 1993, and have not elected to proceed under Title XVI of the Act. Part 731 also applies to releases of regulated non-petroleum substances, regardless of when they were reported.
A leaking UST excavation
Title XVI of the Act as effective prior to June 24, 2002, and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 732 , referred to as Part 732, apply to tank owners and operators of USTs who reported a release of petroleum on or after September 13, 1993, and before June 24, 2002, or who elected to proceed under Title XVI of the Act before June 24, 2002.
Title XVI of the Act as amended by Public Act 92-0554 and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 734,referred to as Part 734, apply to tank owners and operators of USTs who reported a release of petroleum on or after June 24, 2002, or who elected to proceed under Title XVI of the Act on or after June 24, 2002.
The payment request process differs according to whether the leaking UST site is subject to Part 731, Part 732, or Part 734.
What are the eligibility requirements for accessing the UST Fund?
- Costs incurred for corrective action must result from the confirmed UST release of:
- Fuel as defined in Section 1.19 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law
- Aviation fuel
- Heating oil
- Used oil that has been refined from crude oil used in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 1.3 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law.
- The UST owner or operator cannot be the United States Government.
- The owner or operator cannot be exempt from the per-gallon tax as established by the amended Motor Fuel Tax Law. Those exempt include airports with more than 300,000 operations per year located in a city of more than 1,000,000 inhabitants (O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport in Chicago); and rail carriers registered pursuant to Section 18c-7201 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
- The owner or operator must have registered the tank with the OSFM and have paid all required fees.
- The UST must not have been taken out of service prior to January 1, 1974.
- The UST must not be classified as a farm or residential heating oil tank.
- Effective January 1, 2006, Public Act 94-0274 amended the definition of “owner” at Section 57.2 of the Act. It expanded the definition to include any person who has submitted to the Illinois EPA a written election to proceed under Title XVI of the Act and has acquired an ownership interest in a site on which one or more registered tanks have been removed, but on which corrective action has not yet resulted in the issuance of a No Further Remediation Letter by the Illinois EPA pursuant to Title XVI of the Act. The buyer of a property with a reported release may become the tank owner for the purpose of remediating the site and accessing the UST Fund, provided the OSFM eligibility criteria are met. More information about this law is in the new “owner” law fact sheet.
What are the deductibles?
A $10,000 deductible applies, except in the following situations:
- A deductible of $15,000 shall apply if one or more, but not all, of the USTs were registered prior to July 28, 1989, and the State received notice of the confirmed release on or after July 28, 1989.
- A deductible of $50,000 shall apply if any of the USTs were registered prior to July 28, 1989, and the State received notice of the confirmed release prior to July 28, 1989.
- A deductible of $100,000 shall apply if none of the USTs were registered prior to July 28, 1989 (except in cases where the tanks were not registered prior to July 1, 1992, and are used to store heating oil for consumptive use only on premises other than a farm or residential unit).
Costs requested for payment from the UST Fund must also meet eligibility requirements. Eligible costs are those that:
Removing a leaking UST
- Were incurred after the owner or operator notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) of a confirmed UST release;
- Resulted from a release of petroleum;
- Are associated with corrective action activities and for materials or services provided or performed in conjunction with corrective action activities;
- Are reasonable and are for corrective action activities that do not exceed the minimum requirements of the Act and regulations; and
- Have not already been paid to the owner or operator under a private insurance policy, other written agreement, or court order.
Pay careful attention to the guidelines below to help ensure more timely review and processing of your payment requests.
What is the application for payment request process for Old Law (Part 731) sites?
Two sets of forms will need to be completed:
- The Eligibility and Deductible Application, which is available from the OSFM. Return the completed application to the OSFM. The OSFM determines tank owner or operator eligibility and the appropriate deductible amount, and returns a decision to the tank owner or operator. A copy of this letter from OSFM must be included with all applications submitted to Illinois EPA for payment from the UST Fund.
- Billing forms, which are available on the Illinois EPA’s Web site. Make sure that the billing forms are complete and have the appropriate signatures and seals. General guidance regarding the completion of the billing forms is as follows:
- All technical reports must be submitted prior to receiving payment, and corrective action costs must be reasonable. Implementation of corrective action activities may proceed without Illinois EPA approval; technical adequacy of the work conducted will be evaluated upon completion of corrective action activities.
- The application for payment must be accompanied by a certification from an Illinois-registered Licensed Professional Engineer (L.P.E.) or Licensed Professional Geologist (L.P.G.), who certifies that the work billed was performed. This certification must be on an Illinois EPA form and have the L.P.E.’s or L.P.G.’s original signature and seal affixed.
- For costs incurred between July 28, 1989, and September 1992, proof of payment of all costs is required. Proof of payment is defined as a copy of the front and back of each canceled check.
- For costs incurred between September 1992 and September 1993, proof of payment of the deductible amount only is required. Proof of payment is defined as a copy of the front and back of each canceled check.
- For costs incurred after September 1993, the Illinois EPA will deduct the amount of the deductible from the first payment. Proof of payment of the deductible amount is suggested but not required. Proof of payment is defined as a copy of the front and back of each canceled check.
- Landfill tickets or invoices should be included to document the amount of contaminated soil removed and accepted at the landfill, if applicable.
- The owner or operator must include an original and notarized Private Insurance Affidavit with the first submittal.
- The application for payment must contain a completed Federal Taxpayer Identification Number and Legal Status Disclosure Certification with the first submittal.
- Each application for payment must contain an original signed and notarized Owner/Operator and Licensed Professional Engineer/Geologist Billing Certification Form, which includes a perjury statement.
- The Women and Minority Business Enterprises Form must be submitted.
- The following costs are generally not payable under a Part 731 cleanup:
- Planned tank pull (when the owner or operator applies for a removal permit from OSFM prior to notifying IEMA of a release);
- Work performed prior to IEMA notification;
- OSFM permit charges;
- Concrete and asphalt replacement costs;
- Insurance charges billed as direct costs;
- Interest and finance charges;
- Attorney fees;
- Mathematical errors;
- Costs associated with seeking reimbursement;
- UST system upgrading costs;
- Costs or losses resulting from business interruption;
- Costs that lack supporting documentation.
What is the payment request process for Part 732 and Part 734 sites?
- Perform early action activities and submit the 20-Day Certification and 45-Day Report to the Illinois EPA. No budget is required for these activities, but costs must be reasonable, eligible, and associated with activities pursuant to Section 57.6 of the Act and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 732.202 or 734.210. A request for payment may be submitted after early action activities are completed.
Cleaning an underground storage tank
- Request the Eligibility and Deductible Application from the OSFM. Complete this application and return it to the OSFM. The OSFM determines tank owner or operator eligibility and the appropriate deductible amount, and returns a decision to the tank owner or operator. A copy of this letter from OSFM must be included with all budgets and applications submitted to Illinois EPA for payment from the UST Fund.
- Obtain the budget and billing forms from the Illinois EPA Web site.
- Request payment of costs by submitting the Federal Taxpayer Identification Number and Legal Status Disclosure Certification, Illinois EPA standard billing forms, the Owner/Operator and Licensed Professional Engineer/Geologist Billing Certification Form, Private Insurance Coverage Questionnaire, Private Insurance Affidavit, and Women and Minority Business Enterprises Form. Illinois EPA approval of the payment requested cannot exceed limitations set forth in Section 57.8 of the Act and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 732.604 or 734.620.
- For sites subject to Part 732, payment of costs associated with site classification may be requested following approval or modification of a site classification work plan, budget, and completion report. Payment of costs associated with low priority corrective action or high priority corrective action may be requested following approval or modification of a low or high priority corrective action plan and budget.
- For sites subject to Part 734, payment of costs associated with site investigation may be requested upon completion of each site investigation stage and following approval or modification of a site investigation plan and budget or the site investigation completion report, whichever is applicable. Actual costs of work performed must be submitted prior to approval of payment from the UST Fund. Payment of costs associated with corrective action may be requested following approval or modification of a corrective action plan and budget.
- For sites subject to Part 732 or 734, effective March 1, 2006, costs associated with on-site corrective action to achieve remediation objectives that are more stringent than site-specific Tier 2 remediation objectives are ineligible for payment from the UST Fund. Likewise, if an Illinois EPA-approved groundwater ordinance exists and can be used as an institutional control for the release being remediated, costs associated with groundwater remediation are ineligible for payment from the UST Fund (35 Ill. Adm. Code 732.408, 732.606(ddd), and 732.606(eee); 734.410, 734.630(aaa), and 734.630(bbb)).
Where to Direct Your UST and Leaking UST Questions
If you have questions concerning permits required for tank installations, upgrades or removals; leak prevention or detection requirements; financial responsibility requirements; or eligibility and deductible determinations for the UST Fund, contact:
Office of the State Fire Marshal
Division of Petroleum and Chemical Safety
1035 Stevenson Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62703
If you have questions concerning the review of budget plans and technical reports, or the status of applications for payment from the UST Fund, contact:
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Leaking Underground Storage Tank Section
1021 North Grand Avenue East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
This publication is for general information only and is not intended to replace, interpret, or modify laws, rules, or regulations.