Underground Storage Tanks Financial Responsibility

Underground storage tank

Preventing or Repairing Environmental Damage

In 1986 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began developing a program to protect the environment from leaking underground storage tanks (UST), and put into place financial responsibility regulations for owners and operators of facilities storing petroleum. The EPA estimates that there are over a million underground storage tanks that are owned nationwide and that sell gasoline to the public; thus the need for financial responsibility to ensure cleanup of spills and leaks, and to provide compensation for third-party damages.

Since cleaning up leaks may be costly, the program started a financial responsibility requirement to ensure that owner/operators clean up spills and overfills, repair or replace leaking corrosive tanks and lines, and provide compensation for third parties if any bodily injury or property damage occurs. This not only protects the environment, but it also protects the owners from costly cleanups or lawsuits by third-party damages.

Convenience stores, gas stations and local governments that utilize underground tanks must comply with the financial responsibility requirements. The definition of an underground storage tank is defined is any “tank that has at least 10% of its combined volume underground,” has piping connected to it, and stores petroleum.  Farms and residential tanks, federal and state government tanks along with a few other exceptions are not required to provide proof of financial responsibility.

There are several types of financial responsibility that can be used to satisfy the requirement.  These include:

  1. A Surety Bond: A guarantee that the owner/operator will perform the tasks required in the bond.
  2. Obtain insurance coverage: A policy obtained through an insurance company or risk retention group.
  3. Obtain a letter of credit: This is a contract issued (usually) by a bank that guarantees payments for specific conditions.
  4. Obtain a guarantee: Another firm guarantees the coverage amount and can pass the “financial test.”
  5. Pass the financial test: Owner/operators can provide proof of a tangible net worth of at least $10 million.
  6. Set up a trust fund: That is administered by a third party.
  7. Use of the state financial assurance funds: Some states have funds retained to assist with third-party liability and cleanups of spills or leaking tanks.
  8. Other state financial responsibility options: This is dependent on the state in which the underground storage tank is located and the rules that are applicable for its use.
  9. Local governments have additional compliance requirements (see 40 CFR Part 280).

The amount of financial responsibility that is required varies by state and whether there are assurance funds available.  States such as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin all have some form of the financial responsibility requirement.

Owner/operators that choose to obtain a surety bond (in some states it is referred to as a performance bond) can apply for the bond they need with SuretyGroup.com.  The bond amount may be determined by the number of gallons of petroleum that pass through the tank on an annual basis, or other conditions may apply based on the state requirements.  The premium you pay for the bond will be based on the bond amount the state is requiring, and the owner’s credit. For bond amounts over $50,000, financial statements will be needed.

Call for a free, no-obligation quote. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

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Is There a Financial Responsibility Requirement for Underground Storage Tanks In Virginia?

Underground storage tank

Permitting Underground Storage Tanks

In 1987, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality implemented an Underground Storage Tank Program to receive federal grant money to conduct cleanups, oversee inspections and develop standards to protect human health and the environment. Underground storage tanks pose environmental risks due to contamination and leaking of fuel into the ground, which has the potential to affect drinking water. Because of this risk, The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires business owners of service stations, convenience stores and other non-marketers to have a permit to store hazardous substances.

Currently there are approximately 75,000 underground storage tanks in Virginia which must have permits and require inspections to ensure that tanks and lines are in acceptable conditions, and that any new installations, repairs, and upgrades are completed to code. Inspections must also be conducted for underground storage tanks that are no longer needed or meet safety standards and proper closure steps were taken.

In addition to permits and inspections, underground storage tank facilities must have a spill containment plan for any spills that occur at the fill pipe, have a notification system in place for overfills, a deterioration protection for product lines and tanks, a release detection monitoring system, and a form of financial responsibility for third party exposure.

Owner/operators of UST’s have an “annual gallons pass through” that determines the amount of financial responsibility for corrective actions that will be required. The financial responsibility is determined based on a sliding scale that takes into account the gallons of fuel that passes through on an annual basis.  For instance, if the “gallons that pass through” is less than 600,000 gallons, the financial responsibility required for each corrective action is $5,000 per occurrence, $15,000 for third party claims and a total occurrence of $20,000. If the annual amount of gallons passing through exceeds certain thresholds, the financial responsibility amount increases, up to a maximum of $150,000 for a third party claim.

Financial Responsibility

The form of financial responsibility the owner/operator will need to have to meet the state requirement can be:  a surety bond, a letter of credit, or a self-insurance trust agreement.  A surety bond can be obtained based on the bond amount required.

The bond is a guarantee that the owner/operator will pay the costs for the clean-up of a release or leak and will compensate anyone that may have been harmed as a result of the leak.

Keeping the environment and human health safe is not an easy task, and the regulations and statutes put into place by the State of Virginia and the US Environmental Protection Agency are there for a reason. Owner/operators must ensure their UST’s meet the safety standards and must meet the financial responsibility requirements to protect the environment and human health.  Obtaining a surety bond is as simple as applying online at SuretyGroup.com.

Call for a free, no-obligation quote. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

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What to Do With Tons of Tires?

Waste Tire Haulers

Waste Tire Haulers Help the Environment

Drivers in the US throw out nearly 290 million tires every year. That’s enough tires for 72.5 million cars. Every year.

Tires cause many environmental problems. They are a popular breeding ground for mosquitos, they quickly take up landfill space, and they are fire hazards which produce smoke that is harmful to the environment.

Tire Recycling is Critical

Today about 80% of tires get recycled, and more uses for old tires are being developed. Tires are now used for products for road construction, playground surfaces, shoe products, dock bumpers, furniture, sports surfaces, and of course, the classic tire swing.

California Takes Action

California is taking steps to reduce its growing used tire problem. In 1989 the California Recycling Tire Act was enacted which established a fund that supports tire recycling efforts and the production of recycled tire products.

State law requires compliance with the Waste Tire Manifest Program. Those who haul ten or more waste tires must register as a Waste Tire Hauler.

Waste Tire Haulers may only take tires to authorized facilities and keep a “Comprehensive Trip Log.” Those who receive tires from unregistered haulers must report them to CalRecycle.

Registration for a Waste Tire Hauler includes:

    • Complete the registration application.  Annual registration is valid through Dec. 31 and applicants must register before hauling.
    • Complete CalRecycle Form 60
    • Obtain a $10,000 surety bond (CIWMB Form 61). The bond runs concurrently with the waste tire hauler registration.

SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write California Waste Tire Hauler Surety Bonds. Call for a free, no-obligation quote. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

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Georgia Used Motor Vehicle Parts Dealer Bonds

Auto Dismantler Bond

2017 is an odd year.

That means that Used Motor Vehicle Parts Dealers in Georgia need to renew their licenses by December 31, 2017. Licenses expire every two years during odd-numbered years.

It is illegal to do business as a Used Motor Vehicle Parts Dealer or Auto Dismantler in Georgia without registering and obtaining a license. This includes Georgia Used Parts Dealers, Rebuilders and Salvage Dealers.

When applying for an initial license, the following must be provided:

  • Original $10,000 surety bond in the exact name of the business, and must be signed
  • Power of Attorney form
  • Original Certificate of Insurance
  • Photos of place of business
  • Fees
  • NMVTIS Identification number
  • Sales Tax Number
  • Fingerprint Process – must register to have fingerprints taken for a criminal background check
  • Check with local authorities to ensure that your place of business meets all local zoning and related laws

A $10,000 surety bond must be submitted when renewing a license.

SuretyGroup.com writes all Georgia surety bonds, including Used Motor Vehicle Parts Dealer Bonds. Before you apply for your license or renew an existing license call our surety bond specialists for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer low rates and fast service to help you stay compliant with Georgia’s laws. Call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

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Don’t Let Your Georgia Alcohol Tax Bonds Expire

Renew Early to Stay Compliant

Alcohol Surety Bond

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to start thinking about renewing your Georgia Alcohol License.

Those in Georgia’s alcohol industry will need to renew their license by December 31. It’s recommended to apply early — at least by November 1 — to make sure you have everything in order to meet the state’s renewal requirement of January 1.

Bonds that are being renewed must have a new bond form and power of attorney each year. The bond and power of attorney will be mailed (or overnighted) to you to sign and scan into a PDF document to submit as an attachment for the renewal of your license.

Renewals are made online through the Georgia Tax Center.  Upload all documents on the website, and have your alcohol license number and payment option handy (credit card or ACH debit).

Once the license is renewed, it can be picked up at the Century Center office, or you can have it mailed to you.

Those who need to renew Surety Bonds along with their license include Brokers, Breweries, Distilleries, Farm Wineries, Importers, Wineries, Wholesalers, Distributors, Brewpubs, and Retail Package Dealers.

Contact SuretyGroup.com to get low rates on Alcohol Tax Surety Bonds for the alcohol industry around the country. We offer free, no-obligation quotes and fast service. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

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Indiana Cleans Up Old Notary Public Laws

notary public

Out With the Old …

Indiana State legislators have recognized that the current state notary public laws are outdated, and have taken measures to improve regulations for notaries.

Indiana currently has over 90,000 certified notaries. A Notary Public is a public officer of the state who is authorized by law to certify documents, take affidavits and administer oaths.

The Governor signed new legislation, Title 33, Article 42 (IC 33-42), that will take effect July 1, 2018.

In With the New …

The new laws include:

  • Increase in maximum fees
  • Increase in notary public bond amount from $5,000 to $25,000.  The bond protects the public against any financial loss due to improper conduct. The average settlement against a notary public is $18,000.
  • Education requirement to receive or renew commission. Currently, applicants take a short test, where unlimited guesses are allowed. The new law expands the test, and notaries are required to take an educational course every two years during their commission.
  • Mileage fees may be charged for mobile notaries. Current law only allows notaries to charge a $2 fee, and notaries can often spend more than that in gas. The new law allows notaries to charge travel expenses at the federal mileage rate, plus up to $10 for notary services.
  • Proof of a bond. Currently, notaries don’t have to give proof of being bonded. They just have to say they have a bond.
  • Do not have to be an Indiana resident. Current laws state that only Indiana residents can be an Indiana notary public. This can be an issue for those who live near the border in a neighboring state, but work in Indiana. The new law allows those who live in another state, but are employed in Indiana, to become a notary.

Grandfathering

Notary commissions are issued for eight years.  Notaries will be grandfathered in during their current commission. Once that commission expires and needs to be renewed, then new adjustments will need to be made.

The Secretary of State’s office has an online Notary system for applicants to submit new applications, renewals, and update information. It also includes a training module for new applicants, which also serves as a refresher for current notaries.

More information is available at the Indiana Notary Public Guide.

If you’re a notary public for Indiana, SuretyGroup.com can help you get the surety bond you need for compliance. Call us today and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation quote, low rates and fast service. You can speak with a Surety Bond Specialist at 1‑844‑432‑6637, email info@suretygroup.com, or apply online.

 

 

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Legislation Affects Oregon Vehicle Dealers

Auto Dealer Bond

New Year, New Laws

The New Year will bring in new laws for Oregon vehicle dealers. Starting on January 1, 2018, dealers will need to increase their surety bond amounts.

This is because Oregon state bill 974 takes effect as the calendar turns, increasing surety bond amounts for vehicle dealers from $40,000 to $50,000.  Dealers for motorcycles, mopeds, Class I all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles have their bond amounts raised from $2,000 to $10,000.

If a dealer is already certified to exclusively sell motorcycles, mopeds, Class I all-terrain vehicles or snowmobiles, or any combination of those, then the bond amount is $10,000.  However, starting January 1, 2018, the Department of Transportation will no longer issue these exclusive certifications to new dealers. These applicants will need to apply for the same motor vehicle dealer certification as other vehicle dealers.

The surety bond renews annually, and a letter of credit can be used in lieu of a bond.

Oregon applicants for the vehicle dealer certification must meet these requirements:

  • Complete the application for a dealer certificate
  • Provide a Surety Bond or letter of credit
  • Provide a Certificate of insurance
  • Pay the fees required
  • Complete precertification education and test requirements if the person is a dealer subject to the education and test requirements.

A surety bond ensures that dealers conduct their business without fraud or fraudulent representation, and without violating any provisions of the vehicle code.

If you are a vehicle dealer in Oregon and need a surety bond, call SuretyGroup.com for a free, no-obligation quote. We offer low rates and quick bond delivery.  Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637.

 

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Nevada Contractor’s License Surety Bond Requirement

You hear it all the time, “I was scammed,” “the contractor never finished the work,” “they didn’t do the work that I contracted him to do,” and other stories of contractors gone bad. Because of these situations, many states require a contractor to be licensed, and in some cases, secure a surety bond which often ensures the duties in a contract.

Home owners in Nevada that need repairs or home improvements should cautiously seek out reputable licensed contractors before making any payments or deposits to begin work. Homeowners should obtain bids or quotes, check references and check the state’s contractor license lookup  to ensure that the contractor has a valid license and to see if there have been any disciplinary actions.

Contractors in Nevada are required to be licensed and obtain a surety bond in an amount that ranges from $1,000 to $500,000 based on the type of license being issued, character of the contractor, financial stability of the contractor, experience in the industry, and the amount of the projects the contractor plans to undertake.  The Nevada State Contractor’s Board will determine the bond amount that will be required, or a contractor may opt to make a cash deposit instead of a surety bond.  (The Board has additional surety bond requirements for residential pool and spa contractors.)

The surety bond is a guarantee that the contractor will fulfill his or her duties in contractual agreements, as well as fulfill the labor and supplier obligations and maintain a safe work environment on the job site.  If a claim is made against the bond or cash deposit by any person with a valid reason to do so, and if the contractor is found at fault, a claim may be paid by the surety or from the cash deposit.  If the surety pays the claim, the contractor must pay the surety company back.

Nevada contractors can get the surety bond they need to meet the Nevada State Contractors Board license requirement from SuretyGroup.com.  We offer free, no-obligation quotes, low rates and fast service. Email info@suretygroup.comapply online or call us today at 1‑844‑432‑6637.

 

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Massachusetts Mortgage Broker Surety Bond Requirement

A for sale sign is in front of a house.Long ago the pilgrims settled in Massachusetts as one of the 13 colonies. Land was plentiful and the people that settled made it their home. As more people came to settle in the colonies, it resulted in friction and wars over the rightful ownership of the land and who would eventually be allowed to own the deed for it.

These days, land and housing in particular may be fought over in real estate wars. The real estate market in certain areas of Massachusetts has a very limited inventory of houses for sale, and may require a “bidding war” between potential buyers. This often results in a bigger chunk of a home buyer’s income to live in a city such as Boston. Instead, buyers may need to look in towns and cities in the eastern part of the state for more affordable housing and to find it a little easier on the pocket book.

Home buyers need to be prepared prior to making an offer on a house, condominium or townhouse, and have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage broker or lender. The mortgage broker or lender will look at the buyer’s credit reports, employment history and income. This determines the amount that can be borrowed for a mortgage loan and the interest rate that may be offered.

Mortgage brokers play a large role in the process of obtaining a mortgage loan for real estate purposes, and are required to be licensed if they receive compensation for mortgage related services. This includes assisting with mortgage loan offers, placement of loans, negotiation of loans and the finding of mortgage loans for residential property in Massachusetts.

Mortgage brokers as a license requirement must also obtain a $75,000 surety bond. The surety bond ensures the faithful performance of the mortgage broker, officers and employees to fulfill all written agreements or commitments, and to correctly and accurately account for any funds received by the client.

Massachusetts mortgage brokers can get the surety bond they need from SuretyGroup.com to meet the state license requirements. We offer low rates and can quickly upload your bond into the National Mortgage Licensing Service (NMLS) system. Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637.

 

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Vermont Rental Company License Surety Bond

A car on a rental car lot.A car rental company in Vermont is a person or business that offers pleasure cars for rent on a short-term basis, with “short-term” meaning less than one year.

Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicles requires short-term vehicle rental companies to obtain a license. This includes rentals of trailer coaches and trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or less, and trailers and semi-trailers weighing 3,000 pounds or less.

If a rental company’s yearly tax liability is greater than $5,000, then they must also submit a surety bond along with their license application. The amount is determined by using the total of the two highest months of liability in the preceding year, but it will not exceed $400,000. New rental companies must submit a $1,000 bond with their application. The amount for the bond is renewed annually, and the Commissioner may raise the amount to whatever it deems necessary to protect the revenues of the state.

A letter of credit will be accepted in lieu of a bond, and must be submitted with a current financial statement.

SuretyGroup.com is licensed to write surety bonds in Vermont. We offer Vermont Rental Companies free, no-obligation quotes, low rates and fast service.

SuretyGroup.com offers great rates, same day service and best of all, SuretyGroup.com has the bond you need! Email info@suretygroup.com, apply online or call our Surety Bond Specialists today at 1‑844‑432‑6637.

 

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