directed against them by regulatory agencies. Many
technical experts have retired or moved into other
areas. Tank owners and operators seem to be shifting to
model c-stores and marketing/retail focus.
Expert: BOB RENKES Position: executive Vice President, Pei 1987Q I was administrative director of PEI for the first half of 1987, stepping up to my current position in the summer of that year.
1. We went from 2. 1 million USTs to 600,000 USTs in
2. UST removals started a movement toward ASTs
[aboveground storage tanks], which could only be
accomplished on the retail side by changes to the fire codes.
3. Installations have improved. In 1987, improper installation
was recognized by EPA as the second chief cause of UST
leaks. (Corrosion was number one.)
4. Unprotected steel tanks disappeared. In 1987, 80 percent of
existing tanks were made of unprotected steel. They had to
go, and they did.
5. Regulation of USTs went from the local fire marshal to the
state EPA. New state regulators that knew little or nothing
about USTs had to be trained, usually by experienced
installers and equipment manufacturers.
6. In 1987, most existing USTs did not have release detection.
We didn’t even know what under-dispenser containment
was—at least I don’t remember that we did.
7. Most leaks were noticed only after observation of obvious
impacts on private water wells, surface waters, basements,
utility lines or soils.
8. Mom-and-pops (that’s what we called them back then) were
defined as businesses with less than $500,000 in total assets.
They owned 72 percent of all retail outlets. Those stores
disappeared, but now we have a new batch of mom-and-pops
that own 62 percent of all retail outlets.
9. States became responsible for corrective actions (both
overseeing and paying for them through state funds).
10. We found out a lot about the UST systems that were in the
ground. In the old days, we didn’t have a clue what was
Expert: JOHN HARTMAN Position: industry Consultant John Hartman, who served as PEI’s president in 1979, passed away on April 2, 2012. In honor of his service, this photo shows John at a 1979 PEI board meeting.
1987Q In 1985, EPA told Howard Upton, PEI’s then
executive vice president, that if PEI would write a fair and
balanced recommended practice document, EPA would
reference it in the new regulations. PEI hired me to prepare
a draft. The final version was approved by EPA in 1987
and remains the cornerstone installation standard for
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Second Quarter 2012 | PEI JOURNAL | 4 9