Underground Tank Liability

Protect Your Business From Underground Tank Liability: Essential Considerations for Small Business Owners

Small business owners rely on underground tanks to store hazardous and non-hazardous materials, fuel, and oil. Despite the tank’s security, there can be an increased risk of liability for the owner if proper installation and maintenance is not performed. To protect a business from future liability issues due to an underground tank, here are some important considerations:

Installation – Proper installation of an underground tank starts with a knowledgeable contractor or installer who is familiar with state and local laws. This installer must have a valid license and insurance to reduce any potential liabilities that could arise during or after construction. Furthermore, they must understand all applicable regulations such as local zoning ordinances when installing the tank. 

Maintenance – After the installation of your underground tank, it is critical that you regularly inspect the system and make necessary repairs when needed. This includes checking for leaks, corrosion, or signs of rusting at least once each year and addressing issues as soon as possible. Keeping up with preventive maintenance can help keep your tank in working order for years to come. 

Insurance – Having adequate insurance coverage is essential for any small business owner because it can help cover damages from accidents involving an underground storage tank (UST). Many states require UST owners to purchase coverage for both personal injury liability and property damage liability to address any potential legal issues stemming from a UST related incident. It is also important to check with your insurer to ensure that their policy covers everything required by law before purchasing coverage. 

Environmental Regulations – Under regulations set forth by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), USTs over 1,100 gallons must be upgraded or replaced if they do not meet certain standards set forth in Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) of

1976. Under these requirements, owners are responsible for ensuring that all upgrades are completed properly without any significant environmental damage caused by the upgrading process or replacement work associated with it. 

By understanding these key areas related to underground tanks, small business owners can take steps necessary to reduce their risk of liability in case of an accident or incident involving their tank system. Taking proactive measures such as following established installation procedures, properly maintaining their UST system, having appropriate insurance coverage in place and adhering to federal environmental requirements will help owners protect themselves from potential legal issues now and in the future.