Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

Revising Underground Storage Tank Regulations – Revisions to Existing Requirements and New Requirements for Secondary Containment and Operator Training; Final Rule

Rule Summary

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.In the July 15, 2015  Federal Register (PDF)(119 pp, 1.5 MB), EPA published the 2015 underground storage tank regulation and the 2015 state program approval regulation. The revisions strengthen the 1988 federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations by increasing emphasis on properly operating and maintaining UST equipment. The revisions will help prevent and detect UST releases, which are a leading source of groundwater contamination. The revisions will also help ensure all USTs in the United States, including those in Indian country, meet the same minimum standards. This is the first major revision to the federal UST regulations since 1988.

The 2015 UST regulation changed certain portions of the 1988 underground storage tank technical regulation in 40 CFR part 280. The changes established federal requirements that are similar to key portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In addition, EPA added new operation and maintenance requirements and addressed UST systems deferred in the 1988 UST regulation. The changes:

The 2015 state program approval (SPA) regulation also updated SPA requirements in 40 CFR part 281 and incorporated the changes to the UST technical regulation listed above.

  • 38 SPA states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have SPA and have three years to reapply in order to retain their SPA status. Owners and operators in these states must continue to follow their state requirements until the state changes its requirements or until the state’s SPA status changes.
  • Owners and operators in 16 non-SPA states and territories must meet the federal requirements according to the schedule in the 2015 UST regulation. In addition, owners and operators will need to follow their state requirements.
  • Indian country UST owners and operators must meet the federal requirements according to the schedule in the 2015 UST regulation.
  • What must states do to apply or re-apply for SPA?

Rule History

Information on 2011 proposal to revise underground storage tank regulations.

Additional Resources

For more information, contact Elizabeth McDermott at mcdermott.elizabeth@epa.gov or 202-564-0646. 


The 2015 UST regulation was effective 10/13/2015.  Compliance deadlines depend on the requirement; deadlines range from 10/13/2015 to 10/13/2018. The 2015 SPA regulation requires states and territories reapply for state program approval by 10/13/2018.