Important New Changes for NY's Petroleum Bulk Storage & Spill Reporting Program
On October 11, 2015, the NYSDEC announced important changes to New York’s Petroleum Bulk Storage and Spill Reporting Program.
The amended regulations lay out a clear framework for Petroleum Bulk Storage owners to manage, register, and test their facilities. The regulations also lay out a framework for facility owners to conduct initial investigation and cleanup of petroleum spills at their facility.
As of October 11, 2015, the reporting requirements for petroleum spills have changed. The onerous language of 6NYCRR Part 613.8 that required “anyone with knowledge of a spill, leak, or discharge of petroleum must report the incident to the department within (2) hours of discovery” has been amended. The new Reporting requirements (613-2.4 and 613.6) require that a “facility” report a spill or leak from a “facility” or “tank system” within two hours.
The repeal of the language “anyone with knowledge” has very important implications for those who buy, sell, finance, and deal in real estate that may contain historical petroleum issues in the soil and groundwater. Now purchasers, sellers, environmental consultants, attorneys, and developers who discover petroleum contamination during a real estate transaction have the latitude to assess such issues and make informed business decisions without facing the dreaded dilemma of having to immediately report a spill, thereby making the issue public information.
While it will still be advisable to report releases of petroleum to the NYSDEC so that NYSDEC approved investigations and clean ups can be completed as part of a the due diligence process for real estate transfers, the ability for sellers, buyers, brokers, attorneys, and environmental consultants to be able to investigate and assess property issues without immediately making the issue public is a welcome change in New York State.