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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2013-14


MESSAGE:  Payments backlog has been reduced significantly.


MEASUREMENTS  - Data last updated on: 

Priority Claims Total Claims Deemed Eligible Claims Closed Before
FY 13-14
Active Number of Claims Claims Awaiting Activation Claims Closed in FY 13-14 Reimburse- ments in FY 13-14 Payments Backlog
as of June 30, 2014


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USTs that leaked in the past continue to cause groundwater impacts and pose a threat to public health, safety and the environment. There are currently approximately 11,432 UST site cleanups deemed eligible to be covered by the Fund, of which 2,377 are currently covered by active Fund claims. (Not all UST site cleanups are eligible for Fund reimbursement. The claims awaiting activation may never be activated, depending on the amount of funding the Fund receives through its lifetime). Many may be low risk, but progress is lagging and these cases have not been completed for various reasons. Completion and closure of appropriate cases will make funds and oversight staff time available for remaining higher-priority cases. The Fund has historically provided approximately $200 million annually to investigate and remediate contaminated petroleum UST sites, and the Fund has over 4,742 claims on its Priority List waiting for funding. AB1182, passed in 2009, temporarily increases the fee on motor fuels stored in underground storage tanks. The cash infusion from this fee increase allowed the Fund to unsuspend most claims that were suspended in 2008. The increased funding from AB1182 will be primarily used to pay backlogged costs that claimants have incurred, but have not yet been reimbursed for by the Fund due to the recent revenue shortage in 2008-2009. This will allow the Fund to better balance its revenues with projected payment demand on active claims. Funding for this program was originally extended to January 1, 2016 (by SB 1161), and recently extended to January 1, 2026 (by SB 445). A focus on completing cleanups will enable financial assistance to be provided to a greater number of cases. Since its inception, the Fund has paid in part or in full approximately 11,000 claimants in excess of $2.5 billion, of which 9,072 have been closed and 2377 remained active as of June 30, 2014. Considering the number of claims on the Priority List and the limited amount of funding projected for future years, it is possible that not all sites will be funded before the program sunsets.



The Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund (USTCF) Program provide financial assistance to owners and operators for cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination caused by leaking petroleum USTs. Leaking petroleum USTs are a significant source of impacts to groundwater and may pose potential threats to health and safety, such as exposure from impacts to soil and/or groundwater, contamination of drinking water aquifers, contamination of public or private drinking water wells, and inhalation of vapors. Federal and state laws require every owner and operator of a petroleum UST to maintain financial responsibility to pay for any damages arising from their UST operations. The Fund provides financial assistance to owners and operators for costs associated with the cleanup of contamination caused by leaking petroleum USTs. A recent (2009-2010) reduction in revenues resulted in substantial delays In reimbursement of corrective action costs to Fund claimants. Various process and program improvements implemented in 2009-2010 have significantly reduced these delays in payment. Various other improvements are being implemented to control claim costs and balance the Fund revenue and expenditures: A) Water Board staff Review new claim applications to determine if claimants meet the regulatory and statutory eligibility requirements, B) Determine eligibility for placement on the Priority List and issuance of a Letter of Commitment (LOC), C) Review agreements to assign Fund claims to otherwise ineligible parties, D) Review reimbursement requests for compliance with the Fundís cost control guidelines. Provide technical support to staff and claimants, E) Review site case histories of claims open more than five years to independently check the progress of sites and claim closures, F) Process reimbursement requests as efficiently as possible, G) Review settlement agreements to determine if claimants have already received reimbursement for costs also submitted to the Fund for reimbursement resulting in a double payment to claimants, and H) Audit claims that have been closed and reopen claims that have newly discovered contamination associated with the previous occurrence

Since the Cleanup Fund program began operations in 1991, the State Water Board has paid over $2.2 billion to individuals and small businesses to help them cover the cost of cleaning up their gas stations and other leaking Underground Storage Tank sites. Another $500 million has been paid to local governments and large businesses. The Fund is supported by fees paid by tank owners to the State Board of Equalization (BOE). (See Pie Chart Below)




A party who is eligible to apply to the Fund. The assignee of a Fund claim must demonstrate the priority and eligibility of the Assignee. See the UST Assignment of Claim Information & Guide.

A submittal to the Fund for reimbursement of costs incurred due to an occurrence.

( Page last updated:  10/30/14 )