Underground Storage Tanks
Underground storage tanks (USTs) are used to hold gasoline, ethanol, diesel, biodiesel, and other hazardous substances. In some regions, they are also used to hold fuel for heating homes. USTs are an effective way to store such substances, but they must be carefully cared for — any leaks will pollute the land and water. To protect these important resources, federal agencies have established regulations, and state agencies are responsible for ensuring compliance.
If you have a legal matter relating to a UST — whether you want to hold a polluter responsible or prove that your business is compliant or not liable — Chenoweth Law Group can represent your interests.
With offices in Portland, our experienced environmental law attorneys use their 70 years of combined experience to address these complicated legal issues for clients in Oregon, Washington, and California.
One of the Region’s Leading Law Firms, at Your Service
If your business uses USTs or owns land on which there is a UST, our lawyers can help you ensure that you are in compliance with all laws and regulations in your state. These regulations are not always clear, and it can be difficult to access the most up-to-date information. Our lawyers keep informed about current trends in environmental law, so we can help you understand your obligations and develop cost-effective strategies to become and remain compliant.
If you are facing legal action from an enforcement agency or another party, we offer customized strategies to minimize (or entirely disprove) your liability. We can also help you hold previous property owners or other polluters accountable for their negligence. While it is always better to avoid the courtroom, our careful preparation and litigation experience mean we will be ready for a trial should it become necessary.
Concerned About a UST on Your Property or in Your Community?
If you are an individual or community member who wants to take legal action regarding a leaky tank, our in-depth knowledge of this area of law is a significant asset. Whether your adversary is a business or a previous occupant of your property who failed to disclose the UST, we know how to gather evidence to build a persuasive case. We also offer creative and flexible billing arrangements so you have greater certainty from the outset about the cost of your legal action.
Who is Responsible for UST Enforcement in My State?
In Oregon, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality regulates USTs and handles cleanups after spills. It has separate programs for tanks storing heating oil, tanks storing other substances, and leaking tanks. It also regulates above-ground tanks storing hazardous materials.
In California, the State Water Resources Control Board has a Division of Water Quality that manages the Underground Storage Tank Program. This program addresses leak prevention and cleanup, provides assistance to local agencies enforcing UST requirements, and licenses tank testers.
In Washington, the Department of Ecology regulates more than 9,500 tanks at more than 3,600 facilities, including gas stations, industries, commercial properties, and governmental entities. It conducts compliance checks and provides technical assistance to tank owners, with the mission of preventing environmental damage by ensuring that USTs are properly installed, managed, and monitored.