The California Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund (USTCF, a.k.a. “the Fund”) is a state program which began in 1990 and has recently been extended to 2011. The fund is financed by a few thousandths of a penny tax per gallon of fuel retailed in California.
The purpose of the USTCF is to provide financial assistance to “innocent landowners” to cover the costs of investigation and cleanup of contamination at Underground Storage Tank (UST) sites. These costs may add up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per site.
The following are key features and eligibility criteria:
- the USTs were not discovered during normal due diligence procedures
- the Fund will not pay for removal of the USTs
- the claim is subject to a $5,000 to $20,000 deductible, depending on the claimant’s priority status
- the claimant must be the owner of the Property at the time the USTs are/were removed. Once the claim has been made, it may be re-assigned to a new owner
- the claimant must provide verification that there was no insurance or previous “deep pocket” operator that could provide third party funding
- the sale of the Property cannot have included contract clauses that provided a discount or sale as below market value
The application processes are subject to a considerable number of regulations, including strict guidelines governing cost and corrective action reimbursement.
ERAS secures USTCF payments by providing services for Property owners in the following ways:
- preparation of Fund application packages
- preparation of organized reimbursement binders to recover past expenses
- preparation of reimbursement requests, pre-approval packages and other paperwork necessary for active investigations and remediation at leak sites