ILTA Monthly Newsletter

ILTA Scores Victory on In-Service Tank Inspections

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As a result of continued ILTA advocacy, the Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose a new rule that would allow operators of tanks regulated under the New Source Performance Standards of Subpart Kb to use the in-service inspection requirements of Subpart WW to conduct periodic inspections of internal floating roof rim seals. 

This rule would eliminate the need for tank operators to empty their Kb tanks and remove them from service to conduct these inspections. The move is meant to address the unusual oversupply situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that has left tanks unusually full, while ensuring adequate inspections under well-established rules.

Moreover, by allowing a more efficient, in-service inspection methods to about 3,500 storage vessels, the industry saves money and fewer air pollutants are emitted – while staying on the same inspection schedule.

While the proposed rule goes through the regulatory process, EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance has removed its temporary COVID-19 enforcement policy and has provided a template to its regional offices to allow for Subpart WW in-service inspections of Kb tanks. A final rule is likely in early 2021.

EPA’s action follows extensive ILTA advocacy. A sharp reduction in fuel and crude oil demand following pandemic lockdown orders – combined with production increases from Saudi Arabia and Russia – left storage tanks around the world filled to the brim with little to no spare capacity. The dearth of spare capacity made it nearly impossible for U.S. operators to move products out of tank storage and subsequently out of service to meet seal inspection requirements under 40 CFR 63.1063(d)(1), Subpart Kb.  

ILTA quickly jumped in to take on the issue, sending requests for relief to EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance as early as mid-April in association with the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. ILTA also requested a meeting with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to discuss the matter, which resulted in action by OAR. In the months since, ILTA has continued to seek EPA action to address these problems with conducting out-of-service inspections.


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