|Program Title||Underground Storage Tank Program|
|Department Name||Environmental Protection Agy|
|Agency/Bureau Name||Environmental Protection Agency|
|Assessment Rating||Moderately Effective|
|Assessment Section Scores||
|Program Funding Level
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
Underground Storage Tanks Improvement Plan: collaborate with states to meet the 2005 EPAct deadlines and develop performance measures to track progress.
|Action taken, but not completed||Collaborate with states to meet inspection requirements (8/10) and assess progress in implementing operator training (8/09), secondary containment (2/08) and delivery prohibition (8/08).Analyze trends for confirmed releases and make appropriate adjustments (annually beginning 11/08). Work with states on natl. estimate of state UST expenditures by 11/08. Spr 08: Most states met 8/07 inspection deadline. Are making incremental progress on other areas. State laws/leg schedules affect progress.|
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
Measure: Minimize the number of confirmed releases at UST facilities to 9,000 or fewer each year
Explanation:Since the existing universe of USTs is aging - a large number of which were either installed or upgraded in the mid 1990s to meet a regulatory deadline - preventing releases is an increasing challenge. Annual confirmed releases is not a cumulative number, so the challenge of preventing releases is faced anew each year.
Measure: No more than 50,000 confirmed releases through FY2008 and no more than 77,000 confirmed releases through FY2011.
Explanation:Since the existing universe of USTs is aging - a large number of which were either installed or upgraded in the mid 1990s to meet a regulatory deadline - preventing releases is an increasing challenge. Long-term targets are goals for preventing confirmed releases between 2003 and 2011 derived from the annual measure.
Measure: Increase the percentage of UST facilities that are in significant operational compliance (SOC) with both release detection and release prevention requirements by 0.5% over the previous year's target.
Explanation:Significant operational compliance measures the percent of facilities in full compliance with the primary UST regulations. Ensuring compliance reduces the chance of a release, thereby moving toward achieving the ultimate goal of the UST program: preventing releases. Compliance is not a one time event, and substantial work is needed to maintain compliance. Since compliance is not a cumulative measure, the challenge of increasing compliance includes both ensuring existing compliant facilities remain compliant, and bringing additional facilities into compliance. A goal of a .5% annual increase is necessary to achieve long term goals of 68% compliance through FY2008 and 66% compliance through FY2011. This represents an increase from 65 percent in 2009 to 67.5 percent in 2014
Measure: Attain a 68% significant operational compliance rate through FY2008 and 66% through FY2011.
Explanation:Operational compliance is a measure of a facility's compliance based on having the equipment (required by the regulations in 40 CFR Part 280) and performing the necessary operational and maintenance requirements. Significant operational compliance measures a facility's compliance with only the "significant" regulations, ones having the most impact on human health and the environment. Being in operational compliance is one of the primary factors in preventing leaks from underground storage tanks.
Measure: Number of annual confirmed UST releases per Federal, state and territorial costs
Explanation:Preventing releases is the ultimate goal of the national UST program and therefore an important part of any measure of program efficiency. Also, this measure incorporates a key national measure of UST program performance, annual confirmed releases, which is tracked by all state programs and reported to OUST on a semi-annual basis. Finally, this measure incorporates federal and state program funds, including the total federal contribution to state programs and the state contribution as represented by a 25% match, which represents the best and most reliable data we have on state program funding.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design|
Is the program purpose clear?
Explanation: The purpose of the underground storage tank (UST) program is to protect human health and the environment by preventing leaks from these USTs and ensuring that tank owners and operators are in operational compliance with the leak prevention and detection regulations. This purpose was established in Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act which requires EPA to regulate underground storage tanks (USTs) storing petroleum and certain hazardous chemicals
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#1.1 The underlying statute, 42 USC Chapter 82, Section 6991 et seq (Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle I - Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks, Sections 9001 - 9010) established the purpose of the program, and the regulations that EPA promulgated in 1988 (40 CFR Part 280 - Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements for Owners and Operators of Underground Storage Tanks) implemented the program. The regulations included performed standards for tanks and piping which prevent releases by requiring corrosion protection, spill prevention and overfill protection, and the regulations ensure operational compliance by requiring testing, inspections, and recordkeeping.
Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: The program addresses the need to prevent leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs) which can contaminate ground water, the source of drinking water for approximately 50% of Americans. Leaks can also cause fires and explosions. While much progress has been made since the program was established in 1984 and the regulations promulgated in 1988, there are still over 7,000 confirmed releases every year, and significant operational compliance with the technical regulations is approximately 66%. EPA is addressing these problems by providing funding, technical assistance, guidance, and other support to state and tribal programs to prevent releases from USTs.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#1.2 U.S. EPA, National Water Quality Inventory: 2000 Report (Chapter 6, pp. 50-52) This report, which was published in 2003, included a survey in which 35 states rank USTs as among the top threats to ground water quality, and leaks from USTs continue to present threats to state designated sourcewater areas. Survey of State Experiences with MTBE and Other Oxygenate Contamination at LUST Sites. In this 2003 report, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) reported that data from 20 states indicated that MTBE and other oxygenates were present in UST releases. OUST Semi-Annual Activity Reports. These reports show the number of confirmed releases, the backlog of cleanups needing to be completed, and the significant operational compliance rate.
Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?
Explanation: The UST program was designed (by statute and by regulations) from its inception to be implemented by the states. This design makes state officials the primary decision-makers to eliminate redundancy. EPA's performance-based regulations further eliminates redundancy by setting a base level of regulation and protection which every state must meet while allowing each state to tailor their specific regulations and standards to meet their own health and environmental needs. EPA provides funding, technical assistance, guidance, support, and national direction to these state programs to prevent leaks from USTs.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#1.3 The underlying statute, 42 USC Chapter 82 Section 6991 et seq. (Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle I - Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks, Sections 9001-9010) plus the legislative history described what Congress wanted to see in the design of the program. The regulations (40 CFR Part 280 - Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements for Owners and Operators of Underground Storage Tanks, and 40 CFR Part 281 - Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Programs) implemented a program following congressional intent.
Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?
Explanation: The UST program is designed to maximize program effectiveness and efficiency by promoting strong state programs, state implementation, and performance and results based regulations. Both Congress and EPA recognized that due to the size of the regulated universe (around 2 million USTs at the time the program began in 1988) that states would be in the best position to effectively implement the program. Congress, therefore, required EPA to establish a national regulatory program and authorized EPA to provide states funds to implement their own programs. The UST program is both efficient and effective because performance-based regulations gave states flexibility to tailor their own regulations to state-specific issues and needs, aggressive approval of qualified state programs, vigorous outreach and education, and strong partnerships with states and industry.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#1.4 42 USC Chapter 82 Section 6991 et seq (Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle I - Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks, Sections 9001 9010) 40 CFR Part 280 (Technical Standards and Corrective Action Requirements for Owners and Operators of Underground Storage Tanks) 40 CFR Part 281 (Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Programs) State UST Program Grant Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10) 20th Anniversay Report
Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?
Explanation: The UST program has been designed to ensure resources are used directly by states (every state, except Idaho which has no UST regulations, is the primary implementer of the program) to prevent leaks from USTs and ensure compliance with the regulations. Through grant agreements, EPA provides STAG (state and tribal assistance grant) funds to states as core funding to enable them to build the basic infrastructure supporting their work to prevent leaks by developing their regulations, training inspectors, and inspecting facilities. Tribes use these funds to build their capacity to implement the UST program by training inspectors, performing inspections, and doing outreach to tank owners and operators in Indian Country. EPA grant guidance states how the STAG funds are to be used every year. EPA regional offices conduct mid- and end-of-year evaluations of state programs to determine progress and to ensure that funds have been used correctly.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#1.5 FY 2005-2007 National Program Manager (NPM) Guidance Draft FY 2007 OSWER National Program Guidance UST/LUST National Native American Lands Policy Statement (OSWER Directive 9610.15) These guidance documents described how and what purposes STAG funds can be used. Wisconsin UST Grant Program Work Plan FY2005-06) Wisconsin LUST Grant Workplan (April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007) Ohio UST Workplan (2005) Arkansas End-of-Year Report UST/LUST Programs FY05 Ohio FY 2005 Year End Report Wisconsin FY2005 Mid-Year Report Wisconsin FY2005 End of Year Report These reports described what Wisconsin and Ohio committed to doing in return for their grant funds. The Mid-Year and End of Year Reports described what these states achieved with their grant funds.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design||Score||100%|
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning|
Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?
Explanation: The UST program has two long-term performance measures focused on the purpose of the program which is to prevent leaks from underground storage tanks: the number of confirmed releases through 2008 and 2011 and the significant operational compliance rate by 2008 and 2011.
Evidence: A release from a regulated underground storage tank is confirmed after a state/local implementing agency has verified the release according to state procedures such as a site visit, phone call, or other reasonable mechanism that confirmed the release. Operational compliance is a measure of a facility's compliance based on having the equipment and performing the necessary operational and maintenance requirements. In order to determine significant operational compliance, inspectors measure a facility's compliance with those regulations that have the most impact on human health and the environment. http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm2.1 The Agency's 2003-2008 Strategic Plan (see Goal 3 beginning on page 62) Significant Operational Compliance (SOC) Performance Measures
Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?
Explanation: The program has ambitious targets and timeframes for its two long-term performance measures: confirmed releases and significant operational compliance. The targets for the first measure would ensure that from FY2003, no more than 50,000 confirmed releases occur through FY 2008 and no more than 80,000 through FY 2011. This long-term target is ambitious relative to the program's baseline of 14,000 confirmed releases established in 2003 which would translate to 70,000 confirmed releases through FY2008 and 112,000 confirmed releases through FY2011. The baseline number is the average number of confirmed releases in the initial years following the 1998 deadline for compliance with all of the technical requirements in 40 CFR 280. This long-term target will challenge our state and regional partners but is realistic in light of recent performance trends. The targets for the program's second long term measure is to attain a 68% significant operational compliance rate by FY 2008 and a 71% rate by 2011. This target is also ambitious because it requires state and regional partners to ensure that all 171,000 facilities now in compliance continue to remain in compliance, while bringing an additional 1% of all non-complying facilities into compliance each year through 2011.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.2 The Agency's 2003-2008 Strategic Plan (see Goal 3 beginning on page 62)
Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?
Explanation: The program has established two annual performance measures - limit confirmed releases below 10,000 per year, and increase significant operational compliance by 1% per year - which will contribute toward achieving the program's long-term goals. The program many need to revise its targets, timeframes, and measures because of the significant changes to the program resulting from the Energy Policy Act of 2005. However, until the new requirements are in place, the program will continue to use its current measures.
Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?
Explanation: The program has baselines and ambitious targets for its annual performance measures: confirmed releases and significant operational compliance.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.4 The Agency's 2003-2008 Strategic Plan (" ... between FY99 and FY02, confirmed releases averaged 13,980"; see page 53 Significant Operational Compliance (SOC) Performance Measures For confirmed releases, the program established a baseline to measure annual progress in preventing confirmed releases; the baseline established in 2004 is set at approximately 14,000 reflecting the average number of releases in the initial years following the 1998 deadline. The annual goal of fewer than 10,000 new confirmed releases a year is 30% below our baseline and meeting this goal is ambitious for the program's state partners. This performance measure will ensure that 98.5% of all active tanks each year are not leaking. The program continuously monitors recent data trends and shifts in programmatic policy that can effect the number of confirmed releases, and if indicated, evaluates the need to revise its current baseline and targets. Given the variability inherent in the annual data reported by the states, the program primarily uses 3 to 5 years worth of data to determine trends and set its baseline. For significant operational compliance, the program's goal is to increase the compliance rate by 1% each year over the previous year beginning in 2004, when the compliance rate was 64%. In order to attain this goal, the program and its state partners will have to ensure that all facilities that were compliant in the previous year must remain in compliance while bringing an additional 1% of facilitities into compliance.
Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?
Explanation: The UST program is designed to be implemented by states and states continue to be key partners in performing activities necessary to meet program goals. As such, each state receives funding to carry out activities that support program goals. State commitments are reflected in state workplans, which is incorporated into their grant agreement. These workplans contain the state's commitment and activities designed to meet program goals. To measure states' progress and performance, EPA regional offices meet regularly with states, and states report performance data to EPA at least semi-annually.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.5 State UST Program Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10) UST/LUST National Native American Lands Policy Statement (OSWER Directive 9610.15) FY 2005 Performance and Accountability Report (Office of the Chief Financial Officer) Utah FY2005 Goals UST UST Branch Goals Utah Performance Plan Ohio UST Workplan (2005) Wisconsin UST Grant Program Work Plan (April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007) For example, Wisconsin's UST Grant Program Work Plan for FY 2005-2006 states that "the State has linked this cooperative agreement to the structure of the U.S. EPA's Strategic Plan and GPRA goals. ... For the FY06 Underground Storage Tank agreement, the outcome is improving UST compliance through active inspection, enforcement and compliance assistance program. The State's goal is to increase compliance by at least one percent (1%) each year as measured by Significant Operational Compliance (SOC). ... Another outcome of the UST program is the number of new confirmed releases. US EPA has a national goal of less than 10,000 new confirmed releases per year. The Department's goal is to continue to reduce that number [of releases in Wisconsin]."
Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: GAO has conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the UST program. This evaluation coupled with testimony at Congressional hearings led to the passage of the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005 which is Title XV of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This Act substantially changes the UST program by mandating inspections of all facilities within three years, prohibiting delivery of fuel to non-compliant tanks, and requiring increased owner/operator training. In 2004, EPA's Inspector General evaluated the UST program's administration of contracts and financial management finding that the program had inappropriately used funds from the LUST Trust Fund to pay for underground storage tank activities. However this is the extent to which the program has been independently evaluated to date. There are no plans to initiate independent evaluations on a regular basis.
Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?
Explanation: EPA's budget requests for Underground Storage Tank State and Tribal Assistance Grants are tied to the goals of preventing releases and ensuring compliance. However, budget requests in EPA's Environmental Programs and Managment account for the UST program are less clear as there is no clear delineation between the funds for the cleanup of leaking tanks and funds for the UST program's preventative activities. While EPA is able to provide breakouts upon request, the budget request could benefit from increased transparency.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.7 FY 2007 Annual Performance Plan and Congressional Justification (EPA's Proposed Budget) see page 79 In EPA's 2006 Annual Performance Plan and Budget Overview, the agency included in its budget justification a clear linkage to use the resources to increase compliance and reduce the number of confirmed releases as required to meet the program's annual and long term performance measures. In the President's FY07 budget, the request ties the amount to states' performance in meeting the UST performance measures and for implementing the UST provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For example, with the additional resources requested in the FY07 budget, EPA expects states and EPA to complete up to 40,000 more inspections putting EPA and the states on track to meet the new 3-year inspection requirements and through these inspections, be on track for meeting the annual and long term performance goals. EPA and the states are now working to develop an appropriate formula for distributing the requested amount to ensure that UST performance measures are achieved and progress is being made toward meeting the long term performance measures.
Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?
Explanation: The UST program currently does not have any identified strategic planning deficiencies.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.8 EPA's Budget - FY2007 (see page 35) EPA HQ and regional management and staffs hold monthly conference calls and semi-annual or annual meetings to discuss possible new initiatives and goals. The program meets with our state partners through the Tanks Subcommittee of the ASTSWMO (Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials) at least twice a year and many more times via conference calls to discuss issues, national program goals and strategies for meeting the goals. EPA regional offices meet with our tribal partners at least once a year to discuss their needs and EPA assistance to meet their goals. The regional offices also hold annual or semi-annual All States meetings where information is shared and issues discussed.
Are all regulations issued by the program/agency necessary to meet the stated goals of the program, and do all regulations clearly indicate how the rules contribute to achievement of the goals?
Explanation: The regulations were developed to meet the statutory requirements in Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#2.RG1 Subtitle I of SWDA; 40 FR Part 280 plus the Preamble to the Regulations The Preamble sets out the purpose of the regulation and the Operating Principles that EPA followed in developing the regulations. The regulations included performance standards for tanks and piping which prevent releases by requiring corrosion protection, spill prevention and overfill protection, and the regulations ensure operational compliance by requiring testing, inspections, and recordkeeping.
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning||Score||89%|
|Section 3 - Program Management|
Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?
Explanation: EPA collects mid-year and end-of-year data on the number of confirmed releases and the significant operational compliance rate in support of its performance measures. The data is quality checked in the regions and at HQ. EPA analyzes the data to determine long term trends, issues, areas needing improvement, and areas where to best focus resources.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.1 Updated UST Performance Measures (begins on page 2, following Updated LUST Performance Measures) Corrective Action Measures Archive (Semi-Annual Reports also contain information on Significant Operational Compliance) Significant Operational Compliance (SOC) Performance Measures For example, analyses of data and trends led to the development of "an EPA traveling inspector team" which provides focused EPA inspection resources on a particular state needing help with their inspection program, and the "significant operational compliance checklist" which allows all EPA and state inspectors to use the same checklist to determine compliance allowing, for the first time, a consistent measure of compliance across the country. It also led to the development of a Sumps manual since the data showed that many releases occur from sumps that had been improperly maintained. Educating owners and operators on the proper maintenance of their sumps should lead to a reduction in the number of releases from these sumps. As an another example, in response to regional and state concerns, EPA developed an e-training (web based) for EPA and state inspectors thereby reducing the cost of training new inspectors as well as reducing the down time before new inspectors are able to go to the field and do inspections. UST Systems: Inspecting and Maintaining Sumps and Spill Buckets
Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?
Explanation: OUST federal managers' performance standards are linked to the program's GPRA goals; however, OUST and EPA as a whole must continue to work with to improve the strength of measures contained in manager's performance appraisals. Through grant conditions in the STAG agreements, states are similarly held accountable for the program's goals. At least twice a year, EPA regions review state program progress, provide feedback, and make appropriate adjustments in the grants to achieve results.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.2 EPA Manager's Performance Standard Correspondence between EPA Region 3 and DC UST Program: FY04 End-of-Year Report EPA Region 3 Action Letter FY05 End-of-Year Report Region 3 withheld $25,000 from DC's grant due to questions about DC's inspection results. The region notified DC, redid the inspections resulting in a much lower compliance rate, and told DC that their funds will be withheld until their performance improves. DC is working to improve its inspection capabilities and reporting more credible results. The region has not yet decided whether to release the $25,000 back to DC.
Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?
Explanation: Prior to each fiscal year, the program develops an operating plan which reflects its budget priorities. Resources are allocated by goal, objective, subobjective, program, and object class. Programs then readjust the operating plan to reflect appropriated levels. EPA's budget and annual Operating Plan are aligned with the Agency's Strategic Plan and approved by OMB and Congressional Appropriation Committees. Obligations and expenditures are tracked in the Agency's Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) against the Operating Plan. Fund transfers between program objectives in excess of Congressional established limits require Congressional notification and/or approval. Program obligation reports are monitored periodically throughout the year. Beginning in August, the program monitors obligations weekly, and in the last week of the fiscal year monitoring occurs almost daily. The program uses timely financial management information in IFMS to track commitments, obligations, and expenditures and maximizes the use of its limited resources. Advice of Allowance (AOA) funds are distributed to EPA regions, with EPA's general goal to obligate funds into a grant within 90 days after the region had received the grant application. At mid-year review sessions, senior HQ program managers ensure funds have been and will be obligated in a timely manner, as well as make decisions about low utilization rates to determine if they need to shift funds to be better utilized for other projects or higher priority projects. EPA works with grantees to ensure that their work plans reflect the Agency's Strategic Plan and Operating Plan and that recipient spending is consistent with the approved work plan. Each program office and grants management office conducts post-award monitoring of assitance agreements, including monitoring the draw-down of funds against grantee progress on work plan taks and deliverables. This monitoring ensures that recipients are spending the funds designated to each program area for the intended purposes. All grantees are required to submit quarterly financial status reports. The program obligates nearly 99% of it's funds from the Environmental Programs and Management (EPM) account within the required two-year timeframe, and 88% of the funds in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account within the first year.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.3 State UST Program Grant Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10) "Managing Your Financial Assistance Agreement: Project Officer Responsibilities" (EPA 202-B-96-002, Jan 2000)
Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?
Explanation: The program does not have an efficiency measure in place with baselines and targets. The program is working with its state partners to consider various options to best measure efficiency and account for the impacts of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. While the program does not have a formal measure of efficiency, the program has taken several steps to achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution -- contracts are awarded under competitive procedures; the program is a key participant in EPA's competitive sourcing reviews and plans; the program developed and promotes cost-effective methods such as multi-site compliance agreements (negotiating one agreement covering many sites owned by the same company); the significant operational compliance checklist used by all EPA and state inspectors standardized the definition of what is and is not in compliance allowing for a consistent comparison of compliance rates among states; e-training (web-based) for all new inspectors which significantly reduced the cost and time for training new inspectors (around $2000 per inspector); and working with regional and state drinking water programs identifying and targetting USTs in sourcewater areas for inspections.
Evidence: State UST Program Grant Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10) Significant Operational Compliance (SOC) Performance Measures Joint OUST and OGWDW memo of July 11, 2005) MOU Between AR Dept. of Env. Quality and AR Dept. of Health. This is an example of a state where the state drinking water program is now working with the state underground storage tank program is sharing information, leading to efficiencies for both programs. Underground and Aboveground Storage Tank Inspection (Leak detection workshop)
Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?
Explanation: OUST regularly collaborates with states, tribes, and industry partners through its Annual Conferences. Partners are able to provide feedback on progress toward goals, obstables, and opportunities for improvement. EPA regional UST programs hold annual or semi-annual All States meetings where information is shared and issues discussed. The program provides financial assistance to states implementing the UST program via grants to associations representing states such as ASTSWMO (Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials) and meets on a regular basis with the Tanks Subcommittee of ASTSWMO. Headquarters, regional, and state UST programs are now working with their drinking water counterparts to share information on USTs in sourcewater areas and to target them for more frequent inspections.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.5 Source Water Areas and Underground Storage Tanks (with the Office of Water) 18th Annual National Taks Conference and Expo MOU Between AR Dept. of Env. Quality and AR. Dept. of Health Collaborative efforts have resulted in the development of a uniform "significant operational checklist" that all inspectors use to determine compliance allowing for a consistent measure of compliance. Futhermore collaborations have led to the development of a Sumps manual to educate tank owners and operators on the importance of proper maintenance and operation. Concerns raised during conferences also led to the development of e-training (web-based) for inspectors thereby reducing the cost of training new inspectors as well as reducing the down time before new inspectors are able to go to the field and do inspections. Another example is the MTBE Task Force within the ASTSWMO Tanks Subcommittee bringing together experts from EPA, states, and private industry to share information about MTBE.
Does the program use strong financial management practices?
Explanation: The program follows EPA's financial management guidelines for committing, obligating, reprogramming, and reconciling appropriated funds. Agency officials have a system of controls and accountability, based on GAO and other principles, to ensure that improper payments are not made. At each step in the process, the propriety of the payment is reviewed. OUST requires all Work Assignment, Task Order, and Grants managers to be trained and certified by EPA's Contracting and Grants Offices on proper contract and grant management and oversight to ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities for invoice review and for carrying out the financial aspects of the program objectives. A recent audit by EPA's OIG on the program's contract administration practices found significant improvements and success in how the program uses its appropriated funds.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.6 FY 2006 Extramural Status of Funds State UST Program Grant Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10)
Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?
Explanation: The UST program follows guidance provided by EPA's Office of Administration and Resources Management to assure that it has taken the necessary measures to evaluate management controls in accordance with the Federal Manager's Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) requirements. In our latest FMFIA Report (FY2005), the UST program reported no weaknesses. Adhering to the FMFIA requirements is a Critical Job Element in the Performance Agreement of all HQ managers in the program. In 2006, EPA's Office of Environmental Information performed an assessment of the program's quality system and issued a report concluding that the program did not have any deficiencies in its quality systems. Regional offices review state performance and management issues during on-site mid-year and end-of-year reviews.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.7 OIG Report, "Office of Underground Storage Tanks Has Improved Contract Administration But Further Action Needed" (Report No. 2006-P-00012) OIG Report, "The Office of Underground Storage Tanks: Contract Administration and Performance Measurement Concerns" (Report No. 2004-P-00014) FY 2005 Integrity Act Annual Assurance Letter (August 5, 2005) Final Report for the Assessment of the Office of Underground Storage Tanks Quality System.
Does the program have oversight practices that provide sufficient knowledge of grantee activities?
Explanation: The program has a reporting system in place to document grantee's use of funds in eligible activity categories. The program's grant guidance clearly identifies the uses for STAG funds. Regional grants offices review and audit state spending plans and expenditures. Each regional office assigns a primary liaision to one state providing more oversight and assistance to that state. Regional program offices review state performance and management issues during mid-year and end-of-year reviews, which are usually conducted at the state's offices. State performance data are quality checked before use. Headquarters leads monthly conference calls and annual meetings to monitor regional activites receive regional reviews of state programs.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3 BF1 Corrective Action Measures Archive (Semi-Annual Reports also contain information on Significant Operational Compliance) State UST Program Grant Guidance (OSWER Directive 9630.10) UST/LUST National Native American Lands Policy Statement (OSWER Directive 9610.15) FY2005 Performance and Accountabilty Report Project Title: Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Program for the State of Alaska Arkansas End-of-Year Reort UST/LUST Programs FY05 Ohio FY2005 Year End Report Wisconsin FY2005 End of Year Report
Does the program collect grantee performance data on an annual basis and make it available to the public in a transparent and meaningful manner?
Explanation: Performance data is reported by the states to EPA on a semi-annual basis. The data are checked for quality before they are compiled and analyzed. The final data and analyses are posted on the OUST website.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3 BF2 Corrective Action Measures Archive (Semi-Annual Reports also contain information on Significant Operational Compliance)
Did the program seek and take into account the views of all affected parties (e.g., consumers; large and small businesses; State, local and tribal governments; beneficiaries; and the general public) when developing significant regulations?
Explanation: In developing the proposed regulations, EPA worked aggressively with states, local governments, and groups representing various segments of the petroleum industry (large and small business owners and operators, tank and pipe manufacturers, and manufacturers and installers of petroleum components such as leak detection devices, etc). EPA solicited and received comments. data from these various groups.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.RG1 Preamble to the final regulations in 40 FR Part 280 has a summary of the major comments to the proposed regulations and EPA's responses including whether and how these comments are reflected in the final regulation. UST docket (which contains the proposed regulations as well as the Comment Response Document which has all of the comments placed in major categories or sections of the regulations, identified all the commenters for each major comment, and EPA's response to the comments). The proposed regulations generated over 5,000 individual comments from over 1,100 individual commenters (written comments as well as comments received during three public hearings). An example of how EPA responded to comments on the proposed regulation was EPA's response after reviewing numerous comments from tank installers. At EPA's request, the trade association representing tank installers organized a focus group of installers who met for a day with EPA staff in Oklahoma. Based on the new information obtained during this meeting, EPA rewrote the section of the regulation dealing with piping. Since the comment period had closed, EPA reopened the public comment period allowing the public to comment on the revised version of the regulation dealing with piping. While delaying the publication of the final rule, EPA felt that the new information required a major revision to the proposed rule.
Did the program prepare adequate regulatory impact analyses if required by Executive Order 12866, regulatory flexibility analyses if required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and SBREFA, and cost-benefit analyses if required under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and did those analyses comply with OMB guidelines?
Explanation: EPA conducted Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA) under Executive Order 12291 (which governed such analyses in 1987 and 1988) using OMB's "interim RIA Guidance" and EPA's "Guidelines for Performing RIAs" for both the proposed and final regulations. A Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis was performed for the final regulation. At the time the regulations were developed, neither SBREFA or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act had been enacted.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.RG2. Preamble to regulations in 40 FR Part 280 contains a summary of the RIA and the Reg. Flex analyses. UST Docket The RIAs for the proposed and final regulations and the Reg. Flex analysis for the final regulation can be found in the UST docket.
Are the regulations designed to achieve program goals, to the extent practicable, by maximizing the net benefits of its regulatory activity?
Explanation: The proposed regulation considered several options. All of these options were analyzed for their cost, impact, and benefits. After considering comments from the proposed regulation, EPA developed and promulgated the final regulations.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#3.RG4 Preamble to 40 FR Part 280 contains a summary of the comments received and EPA's reasoning for choosing the option it did for the final regulation. Regulatory Impact Analyses and Reg. Flex. analysis. The regulations gave the regulated community flexibility in complying with these regulations. For example, they can choose from different types of tanks or piping as long as they are corrosion-protected. The regulation also allowed flexibility in choosing the type of overfill device to be used in preventing tank overfills.
|Section 3 - Program Management||Score||92%|
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability|
Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?
Explanation: The program is on track to meet both its long term performance goals.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#4.1 Corrective Action Measures Archive (Semi-Annual Reports also contain information on Significant Operational Compliance). Actual confirmed releases for the past two years has totalled 15,306 or about 7,650 confirmed releases per year. By the end of FY2005, the significant operational compliance rate was at 66% or 1% more than the target for FY2005.
Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?
Explanation: Since the annual targets were established in FY2003, the program has met its two annual performance goals.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#4.2 Corrective Action Measures Archive (Semi-Annual Reports also contain information on Significant Operational Compliance. The actual number of confirmed releases in FY2003, FY2004, and FY2005 are 9,926, 7855, and 7421 respectively. In FY2005, the program attained a significant operational compliance of 66% or 2% above the baseline rate of 64% set in FY2004.
Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?
Explanation: The program does not have a measure of efficiency with baselines and targets. However, with the same level of federal funding the program has reduced the number of confirmed releases since 2003. The program has also developed and promoted the use of innovative methods such as e-training (web-based) for all new inspectors which significantly reduce the cost and time for training new inspectors.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#4.3 Underground and Above Storage Tank Inspection (leak detection workshop)
Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?
Explanation: Direct comparison with other programs is inherently difficult since the UST program is distinct for several reasons: the program has mandatory leak prevention and leak detection regulations for underground storage tanks, regulates an extremely large universe of tanks (over 650,000 active tanks) located in over 250,000 facilities owned by the largest companies in the world (e.g., ExxonMobil) to small mom-and-pop businesses. The program was designed to be and is primarily implemented by the states. Federal regulations set up performance-based objectives which give states a great deal of flexibility in implementing their own programs as long those programs protect human health and the environment. The program does not know of any other program of such design, scope of regulatory coverage, size and diversity of the regulated universe.
Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?
Explanation: The General Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a comprehensive review of the UST program in 2001 evaluating the effectiveness of implementing federal and state tank regulations, the breadth of EPA and states' inspections and enforcement actions, and an assessment of the current state of UST problems. GAO surveyed tank program managers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that most tanks have been upgraded in accordance with EPA's regulations. While GAO concluded that operational compliance remains a challenge, GAO also concluded that this issue was being addressed by the program's initiatives to improve training and tank compliance, specifically highlighting the helpful tools the program had developed including the operations and maintenance checklists and manuals, other publications, and guidance. GAO also indicated that industry and the states found these tools useful. Select GAO findings and recommendations, i.e. need for more frequent and periodic inspections of UST facilities, are now mandated in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005 which is Title XV of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part_doc.htm#4.5 GAO Reports on UST Programs.
Were programmatic goals (and benefits) achieved at the least incremental societal cost and did the program maximize net benefits?
Explanation: The EPA underground storage tank regulations are performance-based and allow the regulated community to choose different options for complying as long as these options meet the minimum performance standard. For example, the regulation allows a tank owner to choose the option that is most cost-effective for him (it could be the cheapest or the most expensive).
Evidence: http://www.epa.gov/oust/part-doc.htm#4.RG1 The Preamble to the regulation lays out EPA decision to use performance-based standards, and the regulations in 40 FR Part 280 provide the options.
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability||Score||73%|