Substitute House Bill No. 6641

Public Act No. 99-269

An Act Concerning an Amnesty Program for Removal of Home Heating Oil Tanks.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) No person shall be liable to the state in any civil action for any cost relating to any spill, as defined in section 22a-452c of the general statutes, attributable to an underground storage tank system, as defined in section 22a-449a of the general statutes, used in connection with residential real property comprised of four residential units or fewer if (1) such person has provided for the removal or replacement of an underground petroleum storage tank associated with such system after July 1, 1999, and before January 1, 2002, and (2) such person has provided notice and documentation of such removal or replacement to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection in such form and containing such information as the commissioner may require. On or before January 1, 2000, and annually thereafter until January 1, 2003, the commissioner shall report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment regarding the program established under this section, the extent to which it is used and the extent of the state's liability for environmental remediation as a result of the program.

Sec. 2. (NEW) Any person in the business of removing or replacing underground storage tanks pursuant to section 3 of this act shall register with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and shall provide to said commissioner, on forms prescribed by said commissioner, (1) evidence of financial assurance in the form of insurance, a surety bond or liquid company assets in an amount not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, and (2) a written statement certifying that such person has had any training required by law for such business and that such person has performed no fewer than three underground petroleum storage tank removals. Such person shall pay a registration fee of five hundred dollars to the commissioner.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (a) As used in this section, "contractor" means a person registered with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection pursuant to section 2 of this act. No person who is not a contractor may remove or replace any underground petroleum storage tank used in connection with residential real property comprised of four residential units or fewer if such removal or replacement will involve remediation of contaminated soil or groundwater the costs of which are to be paid out of the not less than two million dollars set aside from the proceeds of bonds authorized under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of sections 13 and 32 of public act 99-242 for the purpose of providing funding for remediation of soil contaminated by a release from a home heating oil tank. If any such replacement involves installation of an underground petroleum storage tank, such tank shall conform to any standards which apply to new underground petroleum storage tanks.

(b) If, in the course of removing or replacing an underground petroleum storage tank associated with an underground storage tank system, as defined in section 22a-449a of the general statutes, used in connection with residential real property comprised of four residential units or fewer, a contractor finds that there has been a spill, as defined in section 22a-452c of the general statutes, attributable to such system and such contractor estimates that the remediation of such spill is likely to cost more than five thousand dollars, such contractor shall notify the spill response unit of the Department of Environmental Protection regarding such spill. If, after the contractor's initial estimate, the contractor subsequently determines that such cost will exceed five thousand dollars, the contractor shall notify the Department of Environmental Protection. The department may assess the spill and confirm that the remediation proposed by the contractor is appropriate and necessary, or may authorize an environmental professional licensed under section 22a-133v of the general statutes, to assess the spill and make such confirmation. Any such remediation shall be subject to approval by the department, except that the department may authorize an environmental professional licensed under section 22a-133v of the general statutes to make a recommendation regarding such approval.

(c) (1) A contractor, or a person licensed under section 22a-454 of the general statutes, who is engaged to perform remediation of a spill associated with an underground storage tank system, as defined in section 22a-449a of the general statutes, used in connection with residential real property comprised of four residential units or fewer may apply to the Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Clean-up Account Review Board established under section 22a-449d of the general statutes, for a disbursement from the not less than two million dollars set aside from the proceeds of bonds authorized under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of sections 13 and 32 of public act 99-242 for the costs of such remediation provided the owner of such tank system shall pay the first five hundred dollars of such costs and the board may approve payment of the balance of such costs up to fifty thousand dollars. Such owner shall provide to the board a statement confirming whether the applicant contractor has been engaged by such owner to perform the remediation and shall execute an instrument which provides for payment to said account of any amounts realized by the owner, after any costs of litigation or attorney's fees have been paid, from a judgment or settlement regarding any claim for the costs of such remediation made against an insurance policy or any party. The contractor shall submit documentation, satisfactory to the board, of any costs associated with such remediation.

(2) The board may deny remediation costs of the contractor in excess of five thousand dollars if the Department of Environmental Protection was not notified in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section. If the board denies payment of such costs, the contractor shall be liable for such costs and shall have no cause of action against the owner of the underground petroleum storage tank.

Sec. 4. Section 22a-449d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) There is established an Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Clean-Up Account Review Board to review applications for reimbursements and payments from the account established under section 22a-449c. Upon application for reimbursement or payment pursuant to section 22a-449f, the board shall determine if a release occurred and damage resulted from such release and the amount of any such damage. The board shall have the authority to hold hearings, administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and documents through its chairperson when authorized by the board; designate an agent to perform such duties of the board as it deems necessary except the duty to render a final decision to order reimbursement or payment from the account; and provide by notice, printed on any form, that any false statement made thereof or pursuant thereto is punishable pursuant to section 53a-157b.

(b) The board shall consist of the Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Revenue Services, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the State Fire Marshal, or their designees; one member representing the Connecticut Petroleum Council, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; one member representing the Service Station Dealers Association, appointed by the majority leader of the Senate; one member of the public, appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives; one member representing the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; [,] one member representing the Connecticut Gasoline Retailers Association, appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives; one member representing a municipality with a population greater than one hundred thousand, appointed by the Governor; [,] one member representing a municipality with a population of less than one hundred thousand, appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; [and] one member representing a small manufacturing company which employs fewer than seventy-five persons, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and one member experienced in the delivery, installation, and removal of residential underground petroleum storage tanks and remediation of contamination from such tanks, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate. The board shall annually elect one of its members to serve as chairperson.

Sec. 5. Not less than two million dollars of the amount allocated to the Department of Environmental Protection under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 13 of public act 99-242 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, and under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 32 of public act 99-242 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001, shall be used to make grants under section 3 of this act for the remediation of contamination attributable to residential underground petroleum storage tanks.

Sec. 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 1999.

Approved June 29, 1999

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