The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, in compliance with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and financial responsibility requirements, ensures that underground storage tanks (USTs) are in safe working order to protect both drinking water and human health.
Gas stations, convenience stores and local governments having underground tanks that store petroleum must comply with financial responsibility requirements set forth in state and federal regulations. The purpose of the financial responsibility requirement is to ensure that owner/operators have the financial means to clean-up spills, overfills and replace or repair leaking corrosive tanks and lines and provides for compensation for third parties if any property damages or bodily injury occurs.
Owners and operators have the option of participating in the state's Georgia Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund (GUST ) by contributing to the fund for each gallon of petroleum products sold. The GUST covers release cleanup, corrective actions and compensation for third party damages or injury. Owners or operators with fewer than 100 USTs have cumulative coverage under the Fund up to $1 million. Owners or operators with 101 or more USTs have cumulative coverage under the Fund up to $2 million.
Owners and operators are responsible for the first $10,000 in a release, clean-up, or corrective action or a third party claim. Owners and operators must provide a form of financial responsibility to satisfy the requirement.
There are several types of financial responsibility that can be used to satisfy the requirement. The options may include:
Owners and operators may lose the right to participate in the GUST if they fail to correct violations that have been reported. When these cases arise, the owner or operator must provide another form of financial responsibility through one of the options listed above.
Owners and operators that choose to obtain a surety bond or performance bond. The bond amount may be either the $10,000 minimum or may be determined by the number of gallons of petroleum that pass through a UST tank on an annual basis.
The premium you pay for a Georgia Underground Storage Tank Surety Bond is based on the bond amount and owner's credit. Bond amounts over $50,000 will require financial statements as well.
An owner or operator that fail to register a UST in Georgia is 100% liable for any expenses related to third party claims and for any preventive, corrective or enforcement actions.
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