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Senate Bill 445 Passes: What This Means for Remediation of Contaminated Sites

Senate Bill 445 recently passed in California to amend current laws regulating underground storage tanks

Senate Bill 445 was recently passed in California to amend current laws regulating underground storage tanks that are used to store hazardous substances, petroleum, groundwater, and surface water contamination. SB-445 Chapter 547 changes a number of requirements of the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund (USTCF). Most significantly, the establishment of the Site Cleanup Subaccount (SCSA) expands the scope of contaminated properties that are eligible for funds to offset cost of investigation and remediation. This may help property owners get access to funds to clean up contaminated properties, and ease the financial burden on business owners to comply with regulations by offering a reimbursement (funded by an increase in the storage fee that UST owners are required to pay for each gallon of petroleum).

Specifics of SB 445, Chapter 547

SB 445 - Chapter 547, establishes a Subaccount Pilot Test Program in fiscal year 2015-16 with funding of $100,000,000 with no more than $1,000,000 available per site. The site priority for entrance into the program is primarily based on financially disadvantaged sites, specifically where "the responsible parties lack sufficient financial resources to pay for the required response actions." A limited number of sites will be allowed into the pilot test program. The effectiveness and efficiency of the pilot test program will be evaluated through January 1, 2018. Up to 25% of the funds placed in the UST Fund program can be transferred into the Subaccount Pilot Test Program.

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