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  • Cleanup Contamination from Underground Storage Tanks

    Leaks pollute the ground, water and indoor air

    Half of the 600 contaminated sites in Pierce County are from leaky USTs. We work with property owners and consultants to clean up current and historic contaminated underground storage tank (UST) sites. We issue cleanup and tank-removal permits and provide guidance to get started.

    USTs store fuel and other liquids. Leaks can happen at gas stations, industrial sites, schools and hospitals. These sites are harmful to our health, the environment and our economy.

    Home heating oil tanks

    Contact your local Fire Marshal for questions about home heating oil tanks.

    Resources

    Guidance for property owners

    Applications, fees, regulatory information

    Hazardous waste disposal

    Visit Waste Management for hazardous waste disposal information.

    Find contaminated sites in your neighborhood:

    Questions?

    Contact us at UST@tpchd.org.

    Contaminated Property Cleanup FAQs

    Contaminated UST sites degrade the environment, pollute drinking water, expose communities to toxic chemicals and harm economic development, often in areas with the greatest health disparities

    We require owners of all current and historic UST sites to cleanup contamination and remove abandoned or leaking tanks. Our cleanup requirements are not voluntary. Our Local Health Code applies to all sites in Pierce County.

    Department of Ecology does not normally require cleanup at UST sites. Ecology and Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) provide voluntary ways to resolve a site’s status with the State, but those account for a smaller portion of all contaminated sites. Health Department cleanup, permitting and reporting requirements apply to all sites. 

    UST removals require an annual Site Cleanup permit. Contaminated UST sites must maintain an annual Site Cleanup permit until the cleanup is complete.

    Complete an application and submit the annual permit fee. For those holding active permits, we will send a reminder letter when it’s time to renew.

     Permit fees cover:  

    • Cleanup enforcement.
    • Technical guidance to property owners.
    • Connect property owners with consulting and financial assistance.
    • Resource coordination with Ecology and PLIA.
    • Coordination with attorneys for insurance claims.
    • Investigation and response to environmental and public health emergencies.
    • Work plan reviews and cleanup reporting.
    • Administer Appeals and other due process.
    • Public record requests.

    We will work with owners to come into compliance with UST requirements. If an owner refuses to comply or misses permitting deadlines, we will record Notice of Non-Compliance against the property title, issue fines, Stop Work orders and impose other legal remedies. Anyone affected by a decision or action by the Health Department may Appeal within 15 calendar days.

    The property owner is responsible to meet  our cleanup and permit requirements. Service providers must ensure permit and notification status before conducting work. Any qualified person may conduct work or complete permitting on behalf of the property owner, but the owner remains responsible.

    Heating oil tanks under 1,100 gallons are exempt from our oversight. We don’t issue permits or keep records for small heating oil tanks. The jurisdictional Fire Marshall issues decommissioning permits and may have records on file. A lender may require proof of decommissioning during a home sale. Visit www.plia.wa.gov for further assistance with home heating oil tank removal or cleanup from leaks.