- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - State regulators are expecting a deluge of last-minute aboveground storage tank registrations as the deadline looms.

A new state law requires owners to register their aboveground storage tanks by Oct. 1. The requirement applies to all storage containers with the capacity to hold at least 1,320 gallons of liquid, are at least 90 percent above ground and that are at a fixed location for 60 days.

State officials estimate up to 80,000 tanks could meet the law’s registration requirements.

As of Monday morning, 41,565 tanks were either registered or in the process of being registered, Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register (https://bit.ly/1nEE64H ).

As tank owners scramble to meet the deadline, the DEP is concerned that its online registration could be overwhelmed.

“There is always a concern it could be inundated and slow down. That is one reason we asked everyone back in June to start registering early,” Gillenwater told the newspaper. “We haven’t had any issues yet and we hope we don’t, but we’ve expected a last-minute jump in registrations. And we’re at that last minute.”

The DEP’s online registration is averaging about 2,000 registrations a day. More than 5,000 registrations were entered into the system over the weekend.

Gillenwater said the DEP will try to help tank owners and businesses before it begins enforcing the registration requirement.

“Realistically, we know there are going to be people who don’t have everything they need to register,” she said. “If they are making a good-faith effort to comply, we will try to help them. It’s those situations where someone is blatantly ignoring or violating the law that we will look at fines and other steps.”

The registrations will help DEP completed a required inventory of tanks in the state.

The Legislature passed the law regulating storage tanks in response to a January chemical spill that spurred a days-long ban on tap water for 300,000 West Virginians. The law also calls for new tank inspections and other regulations on aboveground tanks, with the most stringent rules applying to tanks near water supplies.

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Information from: The Intelligencer, https://www.theintelligencer.net


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