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Virginia DEQ - Conducting Petroleum Cleanups

Clean Up

Release response and corrective action comprise a set of procedures for responding to releases of petroleum or regulated substances from storage tanks. The DEQ Storage Tank Program uses an interactive process with the tank owner/operator and consultant to characterize and clean up releases. This process involves the use of an Activity Authorization Form (AAF) to pre-approve activities needed to investigate or clean up the release before these activities are performed. The purposes of authorizing activities before they are undertaken are to:

  1. Ensure that all work undertaken for release response and corrective action is eligible for consideration for reimbursement from the Virginia Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.
  2. Reduce the number of iterations of reports submitted to DEQ by allowing DEQ staff, the tank owner/operator, and the owner/operator's consultant to agree on release response and corrective action activities before work is performed at the site.

Reports that tank owners/operators may be required to submit following a release include Initial Abatement Reports, Site characterization Reports, Free Product Removal Reports, and Corrective Action Plans. Common elements that are often included in these reports may be found on the following fact sheets:

  • Elements of an Initial Abatement Report
  • Elements of a Site Characterization Report
  • Elements of a Free Product Removal Report
  • Elements of a Corrective Action Plan

Please note that the issues that must be addressed in individual reports are site-specific and will be worked out between the DEQ Case Manager, the tank owner/operator, and the consultant.

At all storage tank release sites, the tank owner/operator is required to stop the release, remove free product to the extent practicable, and address petroleum saturated soil. Remedial endpoints for contaminant concentrations in the various media are site-specific and based upon risks at the individual site. When characterizing and evaluating risks at a site, the DEQ Storage Tank Program requires the tank owner/operator to evaluate risks to receptors that are currently present at the site and known future receptors.

The Storage Tank Program Technical Manual has additional information regarding conducting clean-ups at leaking storage tank sites, and the Home Heating Oil Tanks page has information for the homeowner regarding how to respond to a discharge.

Discharging Petroleum Contaminated Wastewater


Certain activities at and near facilities that manage or managed petroleum may result in the production of large amounts of petroleum contaminated wastewater. In these cases DEQ may authorize the discharge of petroleum contaminated water from de-watering activities, aquifer testing, hydrostatic testing of tanks and pipelines, and activities related to the clean up of petroleum contaminated ground water under the VPDES General Permit for Petroleum Contaminated Sites, Ground Water Remediation and Hydrostatic Tests (9VAC 25-120). Persons interested in obtaining coverage under this permit should complete the permit registration statement and provide the required information to the DEQ regional office located in the region where the discharge will take place.


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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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