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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington Underground Storage Tank Permit (18-WA-a)

In Washington, a developer may need to obtain an Underground Storage Tank (“UST”) Permit from the Washington Department of Ecology (“Department of Ecology”) to install, remove, own, or operate a UST. W.A.C. §§ 173-360-130(1); Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.


Washington has a federally-approved state Underground Storage Tank (“UST”) program regulated by the Department of Ecology. Washington Department of Ecology – Underground Storage Tanks Webpage. The Department of Ecology regulates USTs to prevent threats to human health and the environment pursuant to R.C.W. §§ 90.76 et seq., Underground Storage Tanks and W.A.C. §§ 173-360 et seq., Underground Storage Take Regulations. W.A.C. §§ 173-360-100; R.C.W. §§ 90.76.005.

Washington defines an “Underground Storage Tank” as any one or combination of tanks (including underground pipes connected thereto) that is used to contain an accumulation of regulated substances, and the volume of which (including the volume of underground pipes connected thereto) is ten percent or more beneath the surface of the ground. “Underground Storage Tank” does not include any of the exempt UST systems specified in W.A.C. § 173-360-110(2), or any piping connected thereto. W.A.C. § 173-360-120.


Underground Storage Tank Permit Process

18-WA-a.1 – Conduct Technical Assistance Inspection (Optional)

The Washington Department of Ecology (“Department of Ecology”) offers new Underground Storage Tank (“UST”) owners (either new owners of existing tanks or new owners of a new facility) an optional free technical assistance inspection to review the requirements for the particular site. A developer seeking assistance can contact UST Staff in the appropriate regional office of the Department of Ecology.

18-WA-a.2 to 18-WA-a.3 – Is the UST System Exempt From Regulation?

The following UST systems, including any piping connected thereto, are exempt from regulation under W.A.C. § 173-360-160(2):

  • Any UST system holding hazardous wastes subject to Subtitle C of the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act, or a mixture of such hazardous waste and other regulated substances;
  • Any wastewater treatment tank system that is part of a wastewater treatment facility regulated under Section 402 or 307(b) of the Clean Water Act;
  • Equipment or machinery that contains regulated substances for operational purposes such as hydraulic lift tanks and electrical equipment tanks;
  • Any UST system whose capacity is one hundred ten gallons or less;
  • Any UST system that has never contained more than a de minimis concentration of regulated substances as defined in W.A.C. § 173-360-120;
  • Any emergency spill or overflow containment UST system that is expeditiously emptied after use;
  • Farm or residential UST systems of one thousand one hundred (1,100) gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes;
  • UST systems used for storing heating oil for consumptive use on the premises where stored; except that such systems which store in excess of one thousand one hundred (1,100) gallons are subject to the release reporting requirements of W.A.C. § 173-360-372;
  • Septic tanks;
  • Any pipeline facility (including gathering lines) regulated under:
(i) The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (49 U.S.C. App. 1671, et seq.); or
(ii) The Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 (49 U.S.C. App. 2001, et seq.); or
(iii) Which is an intrastate pipeline facility regulated under state laws comparable to the provisions of the law referred to in (j) (i) or (ii) of this subsection;
  • Surface impoundments, pits, ponds, or lagoons;
  • Storm water or wastewater collection systems;
  • Flow-through process tanks;
  • Liquid traps or associated gathering lines directly related to oil or gas production and gathering operations; or
  • Storage tanks situated in an underground area (such as a basement, cellar, vault, mineworking drift, shaft, or tunnel) if the storage tank is situated upon or above the surface of the floor.

W.A.C. § 173-360-160(2).

If the UST system is regulated through another program, the developer should consult the agency responsible for regulated the program. If the UST system is completely exempt, the developer does not need to complete this process.

18-WA-a.4 to 18-WA-a.5 – Has the Department of Ecology Delegated the UST Program Responsibilities to a Qualified City, Town or County?

The Department of Ecology has the authority and encourages the delegation of the UST program to a qualified city, town, or county. W.A.C. § 173-360-500(1). In addition, a fire protection district or political subdivision may enter into an agreement with the city, town, or county to assume all or a portion of the delegated responsibilities. W.A.C. § 173-360-500(2). If the Department of Ecology has delegated the UST program to a qualified local authority, the developer should consult the appropriate local authority for the UST process.

18-WA-a.6 – Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form

To apply for a UST permit for a new UST system or a previously unreported UST system, the developer must complete a 30-Day Notice Form and submit the form with payment of the applicable annual fee at least thirty (30) days and not more than ninety (90) days before installing the UST system. W.A.C. § 173-360-200. The developer may use the form to provide notice for more than one UST system at the same site, but UST systems installed at separate sites must file a separate notice for each site. The 30-Day Notice Form must include, at minimum, the following:

  • Information about the owner of the UST system;
  • Information about the site of the UST system;
  • Information about the UST system, including substance stored, capacity, and project start date; and
  • Information about the service provider(s) installing the UST system.

Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form

Developers seeking to install a UST system sooner than thirty (30) days should contact the Department of Ecology for a waiver. Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.

18-WA-a.7 to 18-WA-a.8 – Review 30-Day Notice Form for Completeness

The Department of Ecology will review the 30-Day Notice Form for administrative and technically completeness. The Department of Ecology must ensure that the proposed project is in compliance with WAC 173-360-130. UST systems are eligible for a UST permit if the following conditions are met:

  • The owner or operator is in compliance with all requirements of WAC 173-360, including the financial responsibility requirements of WAC 173-340, if applicable, or the owner or operator is in conformance with a compliance schedule negotiated with and agreed to by the Department of Ecology;
  • The UST is not known by the owner or operator to be leaking; and
  • All annual state tank fees and local environmentally sensitive area tank fees have been remitted.

WAC 173-360-130 (3).

If the 30-Day Notice Form lacks required information, the Department of Ecology will request the additional information.


18-WA-a.9 to 18-WA-a.10 – Does the Department of Ecology Approve the 30-Day Notice Form?

If the Department of Ecology approves the 30-Day Notice Form, the Department of Ecology issues an Underground Storage Tank System Permit, which allows for the developer to install the UST. Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements.

18-WA-a.11 – Begin UST System Installation

Within ninety (90) days after receiving the Underground Storage Tank System Permit the developer must have a Washington licensed UST installer install the UST system. The date stamped on the approved 30-Day Notice Form constitutes the beginning of the ninety (90) day period in which the installation must begin. Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit.

18-WA-a.12 – Business License and UST Addendum

The developer must complete the Business License Application and Underground Storage Tank Addendum and submit the forms to the Washington State Department of Revenue. The developer must complete the Business License Application regardless if the developer already holds a business license. If the developer holds a business license, the application will serve the purpose of adding an endorsement to the current business license. In addition, the developer must complete the Underground Storage Tank Addendum and submit the form upon installation of the UST system. The Underground Storage Tank Addendum includes an installer certification section, whereby the certified UST installer must sign the form certifying that the installation of the new UST system listed on the form was in compliance with all applicable regulations, codes, and standards and that a certified supervisor was on site during all required installation activities. Washington State Department of Ecology - Underground Storage Tank 30-Day Notice Form.

There is no appeals process regarding an Underground Storage Tank Permit. Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Notification Requirements; Washington Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance – Underground Storage Tank Facility Compliance Tag/Permit.




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