There’s a lot to keep up with when you start as a new fleet manager. To help you keep up, here are ten things fleet managers need to know to understand, track, and stay ahead of your UST compliance.
1. Every state has different regulations: As a fleet manager responsible for UST compliance, you need to know that every state has different regulations. Even though the regulation comes from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each state has the authority to create its own rules. You can find those here.
2. Your inventory cycle may change depending on the state: Every state is a little different regarding requirements. In some states, you must do inventory variants on a ten-day cycle. Some are 30 days. In other states, you don't have to do it at all. Learn about state requirements here.
3. Some states require a third party inspector: Some states require a third party inspector to come out and inspect the system to get your permit (i.e., Illinois). In other states, you pay a fee. Other states don't even have an annual process. You can learn the specifics here.
4. There are three types of operators: The three types of operators are Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A operators must operate and maintain your UST system. Class B performs your monthly walkthrough inspections. Class C is often the first respondent to emergency situations.
5. Violation fees multiply until you pay them: Regulators can issue violation fees monthly if you don’t resolve a violation immediately. For example, if you have a $1000 violation and it takes you six months to get it fixed, that violation could ultimately cost you $6,000 total.
6. You need a follow-up process for inspections: All deficiencies that crop up in an inspection require not only corrective action but also a way to track that action. With a process in place, you're able to produce the required documentation whenever someone needs it, be it a technician or an inspector. Without the proper paperwork, the next time a technician goes out, they won't know there is an issue.
7. You must maintain a record of deficiencies and corrections: Monthly walkthrough inspections now have a monthly compliance report that includes any deficiencies. As noted, you have to have documentation for every deficiency as well as the corresponding corrective action. You need a means to attach those corrections to your compliance reports easily and linear linkage–when each document links to the next one in the chain–is the most efficient method.
8. Implement a standard practice to triage alarms: Some alarms will clear themselves, such as needing a fuel delivery, low volume, and high volume, but most will need you to respond. Having a standard in place to triage and respond to alarms can stop you from wasting hours sorting them.
9. Keep track of your UST operators: It’s important you know which operators are on your roster for each location you manage. Each class of operator has different training requirements and different frequencies for training in order to be up to date. Fleet managers need to know that every facility has the right class operator with up to date training ready to respond to any issues.
10. Know every facility’s testing requirements: Every UST system is a little different with different components and requirements, and this is especially true for fleets. Because of these variations, there are few standards for maintaining facilities. New fleet managers need to know what they've got and when testing is done or you risk falling behind and getting hit with major fines.
How to get ahead
Being a fleet manager is rewarding, but, in the past, it required juggling reams of papers containing all the dates, personnel info, deficiencies, and corrective actions you need to stay compliant. Luckily, these days, you can invest in technology that keeps you on track and documentation at your fingertips.