The Excess Liability Trust Fund (ELTF) is an Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) managed trust fund established so that owners/operators of underground storage tanks (USTs) could meet their financial obligations as part of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) US EPA requirements. The investigation and cleanup of facilities that have regulated USTs and are in substantial compliance with the ELTF Rule are eligible for coverage of up to $2 million per location, after having met the per-site deductible.

Recent revisions of the ELTF Rule, which took effect on March 26, 2011, are the first significant changes to the rules since July 2004. The revisions clarified language limiting fund abuse, updated rates for reimbursable costs for investigation and remediation, and for holding the UST owner/operators accountable for missing deadlines subject to coverage reduction. Significant changes in the ELTF Rule are summarized below.

Reimbursable Costs

Rates for some reimbursable items were increased such as consulting fees, excavation and drilling, while rates for other items decreased (e.g., laboratory costs). Another key change is that three bids can now be accepted for several field remediation activities, which will help control costs. Consulting labor rates will also now be adjusted annually (June 1st), in accordance with the Product Price Index (PPI).

Fund Qualifying Occurrence

A “fund qualifying occurrence” is defined in the revised Rule as “… an incident that is the result of a release of product from a registered UST system and dispensing components, except the nozzle and hose connecting the nozzle to the pump.” The Fund Qualifying Occurrence must:

  • Be directly attributable to a registered UST system.
  • Have been assigned an IDEM incident number.
  • and the owner/operator must have submitted an initial site characterization (ISC) to IDEM.

Fund Access

Several significant changes affect how the Fund is accessed.

  • Must be from a fund qualifying occurrence.
  • An Initial Site Characterization (ISC) must be submitted to IDEM within 60 days.
  • All claims must be submitted to IDEM within 90 days of receiving no further action (NFA) status.
  • Resubmittals of previously disallowed costs must be submitted within 12 months of receiving NFA status.

Tank Fees and Reduction of Reimbursements

  • If IDEM does not receive an ISC within 60 days, coverage will be reduced by 5% and by an additional 5% for each 6 months thereafter until the ISC is received.
  • Owners/operators must pay all outstanding fees for any USTs that are not closed in accordance with 329 IAC 9-6-1 and are operable or in temporary closure, prior to removal.

Potential Buyer (Third Party)

  • IDEM has added language to the ELTF Rule requiring potential buyers (third parties) to perform an environmental investigation and meet one of the following deadlines. If not met, the ELTF-eligibility percentage will be reduced by 5% and an additional 5% will be deducted for every 6 months that passes until at least one of these deadlines is met.
    • Within 45 days from the date the third party accessed the site, the owner/operator requested by certified mail, the results of the investigation that identified a potential release on that site and reported any spill or release, as required by the rules of the solid waste management board at 329 IAC 9-4-4.
    • The access agreement with the third party specified that the results of the investigation are provided to the owner/operator within 45 days of sample collection.