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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sep 11, 2013

 

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Rebecca Ridenour
Remediation
406-841-5059

 

DEQ Receives One-Time Appropriation for Additional Petroleum Release Cleanups

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Rebecca Ridenour
Section Supervisor
406-841-5059
rridenour@mt.gov

Jeni Garcin
DEQ Remediation Public Information Officer
406-841-5016
Jgarcin2@mt.gov

DEQ Receives One-Time Appropriation for Additional Petroleum Release Cleanups

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has received a one-time appropriation of $400,000 from the 2013 Montana Legislature to assist with the cleanup of and to close substandard Underground Storage Tank (UST) systems. The funds must be committed to use before June 30, 2014. DEQ will use the money to evaluate risks to public health, safety, and the environment and move more releases towards closure.

DEQ is currently accepting applications for how to spend the funds.

The agency has allocated up to $50,000 to close substandard underground storage tank systems that do not meet current design standards, are inactive or out-of-service or have not been properly closed in accordance with the Montana Underground Storage Tank Act or other industry standards. These substandard systems pose a potential and unknown risk to human health and the environment through both physical and environmental hazards.

DEQ will use $100,000 of the funds on demonstration projects. These projects will help DEQ explore ways to expedite investigations of underground petroleum spills and to increase efficiencies in order to speed up cleanups. This is an opportunity for DEQ to experiment with its current business process and look for areas that could be improved. DEQ anticipates four to six sites will be identified as demonstration projects.

DEQ will coordinate with the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board to use the remaining money in conjunction with Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Funds. This will increase the number of sites addressed and/or quantity of work that can be done by combining these two funding sources. One of the reasons many sites have yet to have investigation or cleanup is the owner or operator’s inability to meet the copayment requirement for funding from the cleanup fund. Combining the two program’s funds together balances public and private costs with the greatest public benefit and looks at the most cost-effective ways to minimize impacts to the environment. It is also consistent with the PTRCB’s intent to ensure funding is available for the highest priority releases.

“Identifying and helping small owner/operators who are unable to clean up their contaminated sites due to funding issues will hopefully shed light on how great the need is for more projects like this,” says Mike Trombetta, Bureau Chief of the DEQ Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Bureau. “The average Montanan wants to do the right thing for the environment but sometimes has financial difficulty doing so. These funds are aimed at helping those businesses and individuals.”

DEQ Director Tracy Stone-Manning adds that not only will these cleanups help protect human health and the environment, they will also enhance the community and the tax base.

“This program not only cleans up tank sites, it enables the sites to be developed and used to their full potential. That’s good for the environment and our communities.”

Allocation of funds will be contingent on receipt of completed applications meeting established criteria. For more information on established criteria and how to apply, contact Petroleum Technical Section Supervisor Rebecca Ridenour at 406-841-5059 or rridenour@mt.gov or visit the DEQ website at www.deq.mt.gov.

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