A petroleum tanks cleanup bill in the House has been amended to extend the deadline for tank site owners to replace older tanks that could leak.
In 1990, Gov. Bob Martinez and the Cabinet directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to require that petroleum tanks above ground and underground have secondary containment by 2010 to prevent leaks that could contaminate groundwater. Underground tanks installed prior to 1984 were required to have secondary containment by 1999. Tanks installed between 1984 and 1992 were required to have secondary containment by Dec. 31.
Of the 8,691 underground tanks, 91 percent had complied with the requirement, DEP reported to the Legislature in January. Of the 11,249 above ground facilities, 97 percent were in compliance, DEP said. The department said it intended to conduct enforcement sweeps during the winter and spring after having repeatedly written to tank owners instructing them of the deadline.
HB 1385 was amended Friday by the House General Government Policy Council to extend the deadline until Sept. 30, 2011 for facilities that have legal agreements in place with DEP by July 1, 2010. Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Vero Beach and sponsor of HB 1385, said the extension helps tank owners continue to survive and provide jobs while work with DEP.
The Florida Ground Water Association and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association supported the bill. The Florida Petroleum Council supports the bill but favors keeping the existing deadline, council Executive Director David Mica said. DEP is neutral on the bill, a department spokeswoman said.
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