|Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality|
NDEQ’s Petroleum Remediation Equipment
Reuse Program Saves Taxpayer Dollars
The program known as “Title 200” might not be well known to most of the public, but it’s a welcome entity to the owners of leaking underground petroleum storage tanks.
In 1989 the cost of cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) became a lighter burden for responsible parties (RPs) when the fund administered under the program came into being. This fund reimburses RPs for the cost of equipment used in cleaning up LUST sites.
At first, this equipment was owned jointly, with the RP assigned ownership proportionally, based on the amount the RP had spent toward remediation of the site. The used equipment law that governs this process has changed over the years until 1998, when equipment became 100 percent owned by the State.
Initially, all of this equipment was sold at surplus for pennies on the dollar, or otherwise disposed of. However, in 1995 that process began to change. That year, NDEQ leased a 1,600 sq. ft. ammunition bunker at a National Guard training base two hours from Lincoln to store equipment until it could be reused.
There was no electricity, heat or water at this location, but the space was adequate for the purpose. At this time, prior to 9/11, the facility was acceptable, despite its remote location and lack of amenities, and hundreds of pieces of remedial equipment were stored and reused during the ten years NDEQ operated from this location.
Post-9/11 access to the bunker became increasingly difficult, due to heightened security and the presence of live ammunition stored and used during training at the base. By this time the bunker had become full of equipment, and there were many remedial sites waiting to be torn down so the equipment could be reused.
By 2004, the Petroleum Remediation Section had proven that equipment reuse would work, and expressed the need for a larger, more accessible storage building. In June 2005 equipment was moved to a warehouse in Lincoln, the same city as NDEQ agency offices. The new warehouse has a forklift rated to lift 5,000 pounds and a semi-truck loading dock, as well as water, heat, electricity and bathrooms. Low profile vehicles with trailers can drive into the warehouse for loading and unloading and drive through to exit on the opposite side, allowing NDEQ to move equipment in almost any weather conditions.
In the first 14 months of operation, NDEQ mobilized 168 items to be used on current remediation projects, with a new value of $536,739. This figure represents the amount responsible parties would have needed to spend (and that the fund would be required to reimburse) to buy the remediation items. This represents a direct savings to the taxpayers in the State of Nebraska.
As of November 16, 2009, $1,143,754 has been saved by reusing more than 200 items.
More than 1,000 items have been inventoried, sorted, and shelved in the new warehouse. All items have been photographed, described, categorized, and posted on the agency website for prospective consultants to view. Some creative consultants have put the used equipment to work as part of portable remediation trailers that can be moved from site to site. Some of the equipment has also been used during emergency responses such as when an above-ground storage tank has suffered a catastrophic failure.
In 2007, a significant effort was undertaken to reorganize the warehouse and recycle items that were no longer reusable. Nearly 7.5 tons of metal were cleaned, stripped, and recycled, providing a monetary return of $2,605. In addition to the financial reward, almost 15,000 pounds of scrap metal were kept out of the landfill.
In 2009, factory-built self-contained remediation trailers, many costing in excess of $35,000, have become more common among equipment stored and re-used throughout the warehouse. NDEQ has moved, stored and re-used more than a dozen of these trailers. The re-use of remediation trailers will become even more common as NDEQ promotes their use.
The warehouse also houses NDEQ’s Emergency Response truck and equipment, and a bio lab for use by the NDEQ Surface Water Unit. All of NDEQ’s water- and fish-sampling boats are stored at the complex, as is the air program’s sampling equipment. The remediation equipment storage portion of the warehouse now totals approximately 9,000 sq. ft.
To access information on the Petroleum Remediation Equipment Reuse Program, go to the NDEQ website at http://www.deq.state.ne.us. Click on “Focus on Water”, select the link for the “Petroleum Remediation Program”, and finally click on “LUST Remedial Equipment Inventory”.
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509