Press Release

BALTIMORE (June 10, 1998) -- The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) reminds owners of underground storage tanks (USTs) that they only have until June 30, 1998 to apply for loans from the Underground Storage Tank Upgrade and Replacement Fund.

The fund provides loans to tank owners to finance the upgrade, replacement or abandonment of their tanks to comply with federal and state technical standards. Those standards include corrosion and spill/overfill protection and leak detection. Approximately $2.8 million has been provided in more than 65 loans since the loan program's inception in 1991.

The current interest rate for a loan through this program is 4.4 percent. A maximum of $50,000 per site (up to $150,000 per year per applicant) is available. The rate is based upon the most recent sale of general obligation bonds by the state of Maryland.

This notification is coming on the heels of a reminder that UST owners have until December 22, 1998 to comply with federal and state requirements to replace, upgrade or properly close USTs that store motor fuels, used oil or heating oil for resale. This deadline will not be extended and states do not have the authority to extend it. Maryland has achieved an 85 percent compliance with federal requirements from an initial inventory of 33,000 tanks in 1986.

The old underground storage tanks were constructed of bare steel and generally corrode with time, discharging oil into the environment. In addition to the new UST standards, UST owners must have environmental insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility to satisfy liability that may result from an oil release.

Those interested in the loan program or compliance with the 1998 deadline can contact MDE's Oil Control Program at (410) 631-3442.