Archive for New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

NJDEP: Health, environment not threatened by Paulsboro oil leak; some residents skeptical

PAULSBORO — Faithful patrons of The Diner on West Broad Street here wondered aloud of the petro stench that had emanated Thursday from the Paulsboro Refinery.

Well before they’d heard the latest on the crude oil spill, skepticism filtered through. After all, even under earlier ownership, the plant had reminded locals of just what is in their back yard.

Memories of some past incidents remain, as Diner owner Dale McIntyre would relate.

As for the latest incident, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) spokesman Larry Hajna on Friday said his agency still doesn’t think Thursday’s leak will bring real health risks to area residents.

Hajna also said about 6.3 million gallons of crude oil – not 6.6 million, as previously estimated – had spilled into a containment berm built to hold much more.

The spill came from one of the refinery’s oil containers, officials had said.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Friday met with NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin and others at the refinery to discuss the incident.

“There were scattered reports of people with eye irritation … or respiratory irritation,” Hajna said, while maintaining officials don’t expect major concerns.

“The county has gotten maybe about 50 calls, the NJDEP has gotten a few calls, but nothing widespread.

“I was at the site this morning, and I didn’t smell anything myself,” Hajna said.

He added odors could resurface, as recent rain may have broken up the foam crews had been applying to the oil, but workers would continue to pour on the foam.

Hajna explained the NJDEP isn’t concerned the oil will harm nearby waterways orthe municipal water supply. Workers are pumping the oil to tanks quickly enough to help prevent problems, he said.

“The impact to the groundwater would be very minimal,” Hajna stressed. “It’s a refinery, so there’s already some impact.”

But there are also wells to capture substances. And incidents like Thursday’s are very rare, Hajna said.

The refinery tank holds about 286,000 barrels – 12 million gallons – of oil, and the containment area is built to hold 377,000 barrels.

Hajna said crews are also monitoring the air to ensure safety. County, state and federal officials are taking part in monitoring and cleanup efforts.

That cleanup may take several days to complete, Hajna added.

Despite reassurances, at least some residents have their doubts. McIntyre said they’d come earlier for their normal coffee and commentary.

“There was lots and lots of chatter,” she recalled. “People were kind of giggling at (the NJDEP) statement that even at low concentrations the oil could emit a major odor, and have a low risk.”

But roughly six and a half million gallons? That’s quite a bit of oil, patrons said, all the while questioning whether the health risk was truly so low.

One group had recalled a gathering over Java at the old local Dutch Inn years ago, one interrupted by a similar incident, McIntyre said.

“They remembered they were having coffee together, and they smelled the same odor,” she said. “They had to go home and get their children and pets out for a while.”

While such incidents are far from daily, area residents can recall several.

In October 2001, when the Paulsboro Refinery was owned by Valero, about 150 pounds of hydrogen sulfide leaked from the site.

In heavy concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause suffocation. And while that didn’t happen in 2001, the incident did cause a scare.

Winds were blowing that day toward neighboring Greenwich Township. There, at Broad Street Elementary School, all children and staff were taken to the gymnasium, and the doors and windows were sealed with duct tape and plastic.

In June 2011, about 600 pounds of hydrogen sulfide was released from the refinery, which by then was owned by PBF Energy.

Students were evacuated from Paulsboro High School due to the overwhelming rotten egg stench, and several students became at least briefly ill.

Hajna at that time said the exposure was not believed to be a real health threat, although an NJDEP investigation and monitoring followed.

As for the oil spill, it wasn’t immediately clear what penalties may be imposed on PBF or the Paulsboro Refinery in particular.

But New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said the proper penalty could amount “in the millions of dollars … It could be even higher than that.”

Tittel added, however, that lately, enforcement in such matters has been lax. He cited an NJDEP agreement with PBF a year ago, lowering “a proposed $2.3 million air pollution fine to just $796,000, a $1.5 million reduction from the level recommended by enforcement staff.”

Tittel argued that such variation from a recommended penalty encourages companies to risk taking lower fines rather than buckling down on environmentally dangerous practices.

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Finally, Some Good News On Real Estate!

99% of New Jersey residents are eligible to have their tank removed for FREE!

As we enter 2009 with talk of “green” technology, there is a growing threat that seems to be flying under the radar for most people in the United States.

Oil and fuel tanks that have been long buried beneath lawns on residential homes have become the most widespread threat to our environment, threatening ground water and drinking water supplies. Buried oil tanks raise increasing environmental, safety, legal and economic concerns for home owners because oil leaks can lead to environmental damage and expensive cleanup operations.

Installing a new, above ground indoor oil storage tank involves significant expense. However, the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Remediation, Upgrade and Closure Program provides loans and grants to eligible applicants to help finance project costs for the closure and replacement of a non-leaking residential underground storage tank (UST).

To qualify, consumers must:

1. Have a federal taxable income of less than $250,000;

2. Have a net worth of not more than $500,000 (excluding your primary residence & pension)

3. You spend more than 51% of your income on living expenses (including mortgage, car and insurance payments)

If an oil tank has leaked the cost to clean up contaminated soils can be very significant, But the NJDEP grant program will cover the complete cleanup provided you have been denied by your homeowners insurance policy. While home heating oil tanks are excluded from Federal and NJDEP Regulations about oil storage tank reporting and monitoring, they are addressed by NJDEP regulations once they leak.

More importantly, when you go to sell your home, Banks and Insurance companies make it almost impossible for a buyer to purchase a home with a Underground Storage Tank.

As an environmental services expert, Steve Rich of Steve Rich Environmental Contractors, Inc. shows how this program works.

“First, we have a staff in our office, who will help you fill out all the paper work and help submit it right the first time.” Steve explains, “there are companies who will charge you to fill out the paper work and help with submissions, SREC does not charge, we help every one of our clients.”

Companies must be certified by NJDEP in Tank Closure and sub surface evaluation. What that means is you can’t hire any excavation contractor to complete the work, nor can you do the work yourself and get reimbursed.

“We are committed in making the application process less complicated and you can count on SREC to help you complete the application and get it done right.

“The only thing we need from a NJ customer who meets the criteria is the time to fill out there personal information on the forms, after that, SREC will complete everything that’s needed,

  • Getting approval from the state program.
  • Securing local permits
  • Removing and if applicable, install an new Above Ground Storage Tank.
  • Getting appropriate inspections.
  • Backfilling you property to grade.
  • Most importantly, securing your “Peace of mind”

SREC will expedite paperwork processing and handle all the work from start to finish.”

NJ Homeowners should be pro-active and should take advantage now while funding is available. For more information, visit www.steve-rich.com.

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Difference: Oil Tank Removal vs Oil Tank Abandonment!

www.steve-rich.com provided the difference between the Oil Tank Removal and Oil Tank Abandonment. Scroll Down for Tank Abandonment.

Tank Removal

There are several reasons why you would want to remove your underground storage tank. If you are converting to natural gas or installing an above ground storage tank for your home heating needs. Most importantly, SREC strongly recommends removing your underground storage tank if you plan to sell your home. Selling your home is stressful enough even without any major complications.

However, having your tank removed, inspected and the soil tested will eliminate any potential problems you would have encountered if your tank remained on your property. Removing your underground storage tank and obtaining closure will satisfy the most stringent of home inspections or due diligence by future homebuyers.

SREC can help, beginning with a free consultation.

If you choose to contract SREC to remove your tank, our helpful staff will acquire permits, obtain utility markouts*, and make arrangements with municipal inspectors in order to prepare for your tank removal. Our experienced personnel will efficiently and properly complete your tank removal in four to five hours leaving you with Peace of Mind.

What you can expect:

• Safety is a primary concern for our company. Our team will confirm the location of underground utilities before beginning the tank removal process.

• Once the underground storage tank (UST) is located, a small track excavator will be used to expose the tank.

• The UST is then cut open and the contents, usually fuel oil and sludge, are removed with a licensed vacuum truck and transported to a certified liquid disposal facility or transferred, at your request, to a newly installed AST.

• Fully covered in protective gear, a representative from SREC enters the tank to clean it with absorbent pads and a squeegee.

• The UST is then removed with the excavator and inspected for holes or signs of corrosion by both SREC personnel and the municipal inspector.

• Upon completion of the inspection of both the tank and its grave, the excavation is filled to grade with certified clean fill. A 550-gallon tank removal typically yields a 6 foot by 8 foot excavation area roughly graded. A 1000-gallon tank removal typically yields a 6 foot by 13 foot excavation area roughly graded.

• A sales representative will provide a completed tank certification booklet to you. It includes:

• Copy of local permits • Tank disposal receipt 
• Tank contents manifest • Certified clean fill receipt
• Certificate of removal and a copy of SREC New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection tank removal license

* Please note that a minimum 4-day period from the contract date is required before work can begin in order to properly obtain utility markouts.

Tank Abandonment

In recent years, the NJDEP recommends and most insurance companies require tank removal over tank abandonment. However, in the event that there is no access to the tank due to either landscape or structural impediments, tank abandonment may be necessary.

As we do with our tank removal, SREC will again take all steps necessary to provide you with superior service and properly abandon your tank in just a few hours. Once your tank is cut open and cleaned, our highly trained personnel will core holes through the bottom of the tank and extract soil samples to confirm the integrity of the soil.

These samples will be sent to an NJDEP certified lab for analysis. The empty tank will be filled with inert material such as sand or concrete slurry. The 4 foot by 4 foot excavation will be filled to grade with certified clean fill.

Upon completion, a completed tank certification booklet will be provided. It includes:

• Copy of local permits • Tank contents manifest
• Certified clean fill receipt • Certificate of abandonment 
• Copy of SREC / NJDEP tank removal license

*Please note that a minimum 4-day period from the contract date is required before work can begin in order to properly obtain utility markouts.

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Information Regarding Oil Tanks Removal Government Grant/Insurance/Funding

Pollution liability caused by leaking oil tanks has become a major problem in New Jersey. Costs to clean up environmental damage, particularly damage to water supplies or acquifers, can run into millions of dollars.

Currently, homeowners policies provide pollution coverage for liability caused by above ground or underground oil tanks up to the homeowner’s policy liability limits.  Most policies do not provide coverage for pollution damage to a homeowner’s premises unless the pollution is caused by a covered peril.

In  2005, the Department  permitted the Insurance Services Office  to implement a $10,000 first party remediation coverage which would also provide a  $50,000 liability limit for the  escape of liquid fuel and lead liability limitation with a 1% reduction in the current loss cost and options to purchase higher limits.  

Several companies impose surcharges for the presence of oil tanks on the premises. Other companies have been given Department approval to exclude pollution liability caused by oil tanks with an option to buy-back the pollution liability coverage for an additional premium. The “buy-back” of oil tanks coverage may not be available for insureds with old oil tanks (over 20 years) and the “buy-back” may only be offered once to new applicants.

Since all oil tanks will ultimately leak, the Department urges all homeowners with oil tanks to have their tanks tested and inspected and to replace old oil tanks to protect New Jersey’s environment and to prevent a homeowners pollution liability loss.

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Information Concerning the “Confirming a Release from Federally Regulated Underground Storage Tank Systems” Form

Confirming a Release from Federally Regulated Underground Storage Tank Systems

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to report on sources and causes of releases from Federally regulated underground storage tank (UST) systems. In order to comply with these reporting requirements, the DEP has developed procedures to gather data for each new release from a Federal UST.

All parties conducting remediation at a site with Federally regulated USTs shall complete the Federal UST Release Reporting Form and submit with any initial Remedial Investigation Report submitted to comply with N.J.A.C. 7:14B-8.3.

Applicability and Summary of Regulated Underground Storage Tanks in New Jersey

Substance Stored/
Used
Tank
Capacity *
Applicable
Law(s)
Comments/Explanations
Heating oil for sale, distribution or commercial use any amount Federal & state UST laws Fuel oil dealers, and others who sell, distribute, or use heating oil in a commercial process, must comply.
Heating oil for non-residential heating more than 2,000 gallons State UST law Facilities with aggregate UST capacities of 2,000 gallons or less are exempt from the state UST law. Heating oil tanks of any size used for residential heating are also exempt. 
Motor fuels for non-residential use or sale any amount Federal and state UST laws Includes petroleum products used in the operation of a motor: gasoline, diesel, aviation, gasohol, etc.
Motor fuels for farm or residential use more than 1,100 gallons Federal and state UST laws USTs located at a residence but used for business purposes are required to comply. Owners of farm USTs should contact the DEP at the number below for special applicability information. 
Waste oil any amount Federal and state UST laws Waste oil includes used automotive crankcase oil and other used lubricating oils. 
Hazardous wastes any amount State UST law Although they are not regulated by the federal UST law, hazardous wastes are regulated by Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. §6921). For hazardous waste classification and technical assistance, contact the DEP’s Hazardous Waste Technical Assistance unit at 609/292-8341. 
Other hazardous substances any amount Federal and state UST laws A list of hazardous substances is available by calling DEP’s Discharge Prevention Program at (609) 633-0610 or downloading Appendix A of N.J.A.C. 7:1E at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rpp/brp/dp/dpdown.htm

Definition of Terms

Sources of Federal Release

  • Tank: This term means the tank that stores the product and is part of the underground storage tank system.
  • Piping: This term means the piping and connectors running from the tank or submersible turbine pump to the dispenser or other end-use equipment. It does not include vent, vapor recovery, or fill lines.
  • Dispenser: This term includes the dispenser and equipment used to connect the dispenser to the piping. For example, a release from a suction pump or components located above the shear valve would be considered a release from the dispenser.
  • Submersible Turbine Pump (STP) Area: This term includes the submersible turbine pump head (typically located in the tank sump), the line leak detector, and the piping that connects the submersible turbine pump to the tank.
  • Spill Bucket: A product tight chamber that surrounds the fill port riser. It is designed to capture any product that may spill when disconnecting the delivery truck hose from the UST fill port riser.
  • Vapor Recovery System: Any component of the tank system designed to recover gasoline vapors generated when filling a vehicle’s fuel tank (stage II vapor recovery). This system, depending on design, can include associated hoses, piping and/or drop tank.
  • Vent Pipe: A pipe that lets air enter an UST when product is dispensed.
  • Fill Port/Fill Lines: The end of the drop tube at ground surface where product is introduced to an UST. This includes remote fill ports and associated piping connected to the UST.
  • Delivery Problem: This term identifies releases that occurred during product delivery to the tank. Typical causes associated with this source are spills and overfills.
  • Other: Use this option when the release source does not fit into one of the above categories. For example, releases from vent lines, vapor recovery lines, and fill lines would be included in this category.

Cause of Federal Release

  • Spill: Use this cause when a spill occurs. For example, spills may occur when the delivery hose is disconnected from the fill pipe of the tank or when the nozzle is removed from the vehicle at the dispenser.
  • Overfill: Use this cause when an overfill occurs. For example, overfills may occur from the fill pipe at the tank or when the nozzle fails to shut off at the dispenser.
  • Physical or Mechanical Damage (Phys/Mech Damage): Use this cause for all types of physical or mechanical damage except corrosion as described below. Some examples of physical or mechanical damage include: a puncture of the tank or piping, loose fittings, broken components, and components that have changed dimension (for example, elongation or swelling).
  • Corrosion: Use this cause when a metal tank, piping, or other component has a release due to corrosion (for steel, corrosion takes the form of rust). This is a specific type of physical or mechanical damage.
  • Installation Problem: Use this cause
  • Other: Use this option when the cause is known, but does not fit into one of the above categories. For example, accidentally or intentionally putting regulated substances into a monitor well would be included in this category.
  • Unknown: Use this option only when the cause is not know

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