UST Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's Underground Storage Tank Program (UST).
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General Help FAQs

Can I file my Claim for Reimbursement prior to receiving a Board Approved Application of Eligibility and a UST Release #?

No. Per 503 CMR 2.08, a claim for reimbursement must be filed by an Eligible Claimant. To be an Eligible Claimant you shall have an approved Application for Eligibility and be assigned a UST Release # prior to any claim submission.
 

What costs will be considered timely for my first Claim for Reimbursement?

For your FIRST submittal only, you shall submit costs within 90 days of the date of the Eligibility Approval letter for those costs paid no greater than 180 days from the date you filed your Application for Eligibility. For example, assume the Application for Eligibility was filed on January 1, 2017 and the Eligibility Approval letter date is April 1, 2017.   By July 1, 2017, (90 days from April 1, 2017), the UST Program must receive those costs paid after August 1, 2016 (180 days prior to application filing date of January 1, 2017). Remember this applies solely to the first claim for reimbursement.
 

What about those costs that are paid less than 180 days from the date I plan to submit my first Claim for Reimbursement?

Those costs shall be submitted no later than 365 days from the date they were paid.
 

When is it appropriate to use the Labor Codes (Codes designated under 1.0) found in Appendix 3 Fee Schedule?

Generally, the labor codes can be used if the labor hours cannot be assigned to response actions already assigned to other task codes in the Appendix 3 Fee Schedule. For example, Emergency Response Actions costs and MassDEP Tier IA classified sites may require a technician or project manager to monitor activities for 24-hours. In this scenario, labor codes may be used to claim technicians or project managers labor hours because the oversight task codes solely cover 8 or 10-hour workdays.
 

How do I organize my claim for Reimbursement?

The UST Board recommends that all claims be filed accurately and completely in a manner that will facilitate processing. Supporting documentation should be submitted in an organized manner within the pdf file upload.  A suggested organizational format is provided within the claim submission application of eUST.
 

What if my costs do not have a task code?

Pursuant to 503 CMR 2.11 (3), you may obtain 3 bids from contractors proposing the identical scope of services.
 

How many days do I have to file a Request For Reconsideration?

A Request for Reconsideration must be filed within 60 days from the Board Claim Approval Letter date.
 

What must the Reconsideration contain?

A Reconsideration appeal must be filed electronically through eUST and must include a clear, concisely written statement of the reasons you believe the costs denied should have been approved for reimbursement. The claimant shall present in exact detail those costs being appealed.  Clearly explain and support the costs that you are seeking Reconsideration. The Board cannot evaluate the merits of statements only. New evidence and supporting documentation is also required.

MGL c21J Annual and Delivery Fees FAQs

What is the purpose of the Chapter 21J program?

The purpose of the Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Product Cleanup Fund (Fund) is to:

  • Prevent the need for environmental cleanup actions and
  • Expedite environmental cleanup actions.

The Fund accomplishes these objectives by providing partial reimbursements to owners or operators of underground storage tanks or underground storage tank systems who incur costs resulting from releases of petroleum products from underground storage tanks or underground storage tank systems.
 

How is the program funded?

The program is directly funded through annual legislative appropriations and indirectly by the Annual Tank Fee. The Annual Tank Fee of $250.00 per tank is imposed on the use or maintenance of an underground storage tank used to store petroleum product, except waste oil, at a dispensing facility. The UST Program also collects the UST Delivery Fee, which supports the Commonwealth Transportation Fund. The Delivery Fee of $257.15 per 10,000 gallon delivery load (i.e., 2.5715 cents per gallon) is imposed on each gallon of petroleum product delivered to a dispensing facility from a bulk facility. The delivery fee is adjusted annually based on the consumer price index.
 

What types of tanks are subject to the fees?

Any underground storage tank used to store petroleum product, except waste oil, at a dispensing facility is subject to the annual fee. The term "petroleum product" means a product, or fraction of product, that is obtained from distilling and processing crude oil and that is capable of being used as a fuel for the propulsion of a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft. The term doesn’t include:

  • Naphtha-type jet fuel
  • Kerosene-type jet fuel
  • A petroleum product destined for use in chemical manufacturing or
  • Feedstock of that manufacturing or
  • Fuel oil used for heating purposes.
     

Who pays these fees and when are they due?

The owner of an underground storage tank pays the annual tank fee. The invoices for the annual tank fee are:

  • Mailed at the beginning of each fiscal year in July, and
  • Due within 30 days of the invoice issue date.

Each person who orders or requests the delivery of petroleum product from a bulk facility pays the Delivery Fee. Delivery Fees are collected by:

  • Licensed Massachusetts Distributors
  • Unclassified Importers and
  • Special Fuel Suppliers.

The Delivery Fees are remitted to the Department of Revenue (DOR) on or before the last day of the month immediately following the calendar month reporting period.
 

If I am not using the UST Program as a means of demonstrating financial responsibility, do I still have to pay the fees?

Yes. There is no statutory provision that exempts anyone from the payment of the fees because the individual does not participate in the UST Program.
 

What if I do not pay the fees that are due?

M.G.L. c.2J Section 12 imposes a penalty of 5% of the fee due and payable if any person or entity possesses a fee collected or payable fails to timely remit the fee to DOR in the proper manner. There is an additional penalty of 5% if any owner or operator fails to file the monthly report.

Thereafter, for every 30 days or portion thereof that the report or fee remains unfiled or unpaid, the person or entity shall pay a penalty of an additional 5% of the fee due and payable. This late payment penalty will also be applied to the Owner of an underground storage tank who doesn’t voluntarily pay the annual tank fee.

Section 13 of chapter 21J provides for a fine not to exceed $25,000.00 or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both, for any violation of Chapter 21J or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder.

There is an alternative civil penalty not to exceed $25,000.00. Each day a violation occurs or continues is a separate offense.

UST Electronic Claim Filing FAQs

What are the requirements for use of an Owner Authorization?

  1. Whenever the Claimant/Applicant is not the the Owner of the UST System, and Owner is registered as an eUST User, the Owner implicitly provides the Owner Authorization by electronically completing the claim submission process. 
  2. If the Owner is not a registered eUST User, a paper Owner Authorization form may be submitted, at which time the UST Program staff will complete the claim submission process.  If a Claimant/Applicant is unable to obtain the Owners’ authorization, please refer to the Deemed Authorization Policy for additional options. 
  3. Note that an Owner Authorization form may also be submitted if the intent is to provide authorization of more than a single claim for a specific eligibility number.  Paper Owner Authorization forms must contain an original signature. 


What will be the affect of a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's issuance of a Notice of Non-Compliance (NON) on my reimbursement?

Issuance of an NON doesn’t automatically equate to costs being deemed ineligible. Issuance of a NON will result in charges being deemed ineligible if:

  • Work performed is determined to be not cost effective, reasonable, or necessary; or
  • Work causes the Fund to incur costs that it would not have incurred but for the issuance of the NON.
     

What is considered a valid Proof of Payment (POP) when the payment was issued via a Retainer Check and how will payment via Retainer Check affect the timeliness of my submission?

In addition to the POP requirements for standard check payments, the following apply to retainer check payments:

  • Costs covered by retainer checks shall be considered timely from the work completion date (Dates of service for work being claimed) not by the check's cash date or the invoice date.
  • To be eligible, costs associated with a retainer check must be submitted within 365 days of work being performed as documented through invoices, timesheets etc.
  • Also additional information regarding appropriate Proof of Payment in the section UST Electronic Claim filing requirements below.
     

What happens if my Certificate of Compliance (COC) is revoked?

If a COC has been revoked, costs associated with the Release during the period of revocation may be deemed ineligible.
 

What are the reasons that a COC may be revoked?

  • Failure to Pay fees
  • Failure to Renew the COC
  • Failure to maintain compliance with applicable UST regulations
  • Failure to repay monies owed to Fund
  • The underground storage tanks no longer meet the eligibility criteria. For example, the product stored is changed from an eligible product to a non-eligible product.
     

When do I use Task Code 9.8 versus 9.9?

  • Task 9.8 is a Professional Utility Survey and must include the following:
  • Above and underground utilities
  • Inverts
  • Reference to NGVD and drafting.
  • A Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) stamped drawing is required as supporting documentation for this task code.

Task 9.9 is a Ground Penetrating Radar Survey and is utilized to locate underground tanks or other anomalies underground. Proper backup required include the following:

  • Time sheets
  • Field notes and/or subcontractor invoices and
  • The report.
     

When do I use Task Code 9.7.1 versus Task Code 9.7.2?

If the document (usually a drawing or figure) is stamped by a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS), then all charges associated with that document shall be coded to the 9.7.2 series of codes.
• If the document produced is not stamped by a PLS, the charges should be coded to the 9.7.1 series of codes.
• Please note that a Professional Engineer stamp is not equivalent to a Professional Land Surveyor stamp.

 

What supporting documentation is required to support concrete slab area or fencing?

Provide a map with scale or subcontractor invoices indicating the size of the concrete slab or length of fence used.
 

Should units of measure or number of events be used on Task Codes 18.0 and 11.0?

  • Unit of measure.
     

Is Administration or Coordination time eligible for reimbursement?

  • Administration or Coordination time may be eligible if it is task coded to the event that it is associated with; however, it is not in addition to the event's Task Code maximum allowable amount.
  • If there is no event, it will be deemed ineligible.
     

Are signature stamps acceptable for Proof of Payment Verifications, Owner Authorizations, Direct Pay Certifications, Verification of Costs Submitted on Behalf of a Claimant, and Escrow Certification Forms?

A signature stamp is permitted on Proofs of Payment only. All other documents require a wet/original signature. Electronic submission of the original signed document is acceptable.
 

What are the parameters to be followed when seeking reimbursement for the use of an Air Knife under Task Code 28.18.4.1?

Claims seeking costs for the use of Air Knifing should be accompanied by documentation sufficiently demonstrating the reasons for its use, including, but not limited to:

  • Site maps and
  • Affirmations as to the proximity of the utilities.

Supporting documentation should be provided to support the total hours claimed, including, but not limited to:

  • Driller’s field sheets, or
  • Consultant field notes

Both of these should document time on-site.
 

When costs are being claimed for gauging/sampling events, what is the need for additional items such as groundwater contour maps where backup for the event already includes field notes and/or work order; Liquid Level Data Sheet w/gauging information; and a sales & rental that includes bailers and vehicle charges?

This information is not required for all field events. It is requested on a case-by-case basis where the adjuster may have information presented (or provided) indicates the presence of ineligible USTs (or other ineligible items) and further clarification is needed to determine the eligibility of the requested charges.
 

Why are site maps that include the recent installation of monitoring wells or completion of borings needed where backup for the event includes field notes and/or work orders, boring/drill logs, and subcontractor invoice charges?

  • These items are requested generally based on information that is provided either via reporting (i.e. Phase II Report) or past site history that indicates possible ineligibles, activities or charges.
  • Drilling/Boring logs do not always indicate where monitoring wells are being installed or whether installation occurred on or off site or in the vicinity of ineligible areas.
  • Drilling Logs are not always filled out properly (i.e. correct drilling method/drilling dates).
     

There are cases where a site is classified one way, which results in the start of a specific type of report and then circumstances change, such as new data, causing the consultant to change the direction of the site remediation.  Will the costs for both the old and new report be reimbursed?

  • The Fund may allow costs to be reimbursed on a case-by-case basis where effort on one report can be incorporated into a second report.
  • If the report was never completed, all costs will be denied. For example, if one report was started, but never completed because a RAO was submitted, costs may be coded/recoded towards the RAO. There are no partial Task Code Maximums for unfinished reports.
  • Costs will be denied for unfinished reports if the consultant does not specifically indicate that the work was performed toward completing a RAO or where the consultant merely indicates that the report was never completed.
     

When there are unusual circumstances at a site that would create a situation where charges exceed the Appendix 3 Reimbursement Fee Schedule, is there a mechanism for payment of the overage? Will these situations be handled case-by-case via pre-approval or regardless of the situation is the contractor/consultant expected to remain below the task maximum?

  • Pursuant to 503 CMR 2.00 Reasonable and Appropriate Reimbursements shall be determined by the Appendix 3 Reimbursement Fee Schedule or for activities not covered by the Reimbursement Fee Schedule, the Claimant shall obtain bids.  Costs exceeding the Fee Schedule task maximums will be denied.
     

Will charges incurred in trying to obtain an access agreement be allowed where the access was denied or delayed?

  • Charges will be allowed.  However, a copy of the access request letter(s) will be required as well as proof of mailing and receipt.
     

If a Catox system at a site breaks down and the cost of repair is $9,500, but the purchase of a new one is $24,000, will I get reimbursed for the cost of the new system?

  • If the original Catox purchase price was already reimbursed, you would only be able to claim $8,560 as this represents the annual maximum allowance for system repair under Task Code 23.3.
  • If the purchase price of another system were submitted for reimbursement, it would be denied.

UST Electronic Claim Filing Requirements

All fields should be properly filled out.

Owner Authorization/Direct Pay Certification forms are required when the claimant is not the current UST owner and the current UST owner is not registered in eUST.
 

Proof of Payment (POP)

  • Acceptable forms of POP include the following:   
    • Both sides of a cancelled check
    • Bank statement with face of check
    • When a check covers more than one invoice, include the check register identifying all invoices paid with specific check
    • Credit card receipt
    • Payment affidavit signed under the pains & penalties of perjury on contractor payee letterhead with date paid for invoices.
    • Note that all account numbers must be redacted from the front and back of checks, bank statements and credit card receipts.


Invoices

  • Containing T&M breakdown of charges, no unsupported unit costs, no unsupported lump sums, and properly line item task coded with line item dates of service to correspond to the charges claimed
  • All subcontractor invoices/receipts with supporting proof of payment where markup is claimed.
  • Invoice backup information which includes but is not limited to:
    • Sufficient evidence of field events and/or purchased items
    • Permits
    • Bills of lading/manifest to support contaminated soils/water disposal
    • Off-site access letters
    • Bioremediation calculations
    • Site maps


Other supporting documentation to include:

  • Well logs to support boring/drilling events.
  • Chain of Custody to support lab invoices.
  • Explanation that DEP report is in progress with an estimated completion date.
  • If a BID item is being claimed, provide the Appendix 5 BID form with supporting documentation for BIDs.

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