Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund

Priority System

The Act sets forth a claim priority system based on claimant characteristics. The highest priority, Class A, is reserved for residential tank owners; the second priority, Class B, is reserved for small California businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies with gross receipts below a specified maximum; the third priority, Class C, is for certain California businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies not meeting the criteria for Class B; and the fourth priority, Class D, is given to all other eligible claimants.

Under statute, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) must update the Priority List at least once a year to include new claims. Since fall 1993, the State Water Board has been updating the list monthly. Claims from previous updates retain their relative ranking within their priority class with new claims ranked in their appropriate class below those carried over from the previous list. New claims in a higher priority class must be processed before older claims in a lower priority class.

There are two exceptions to the priority system. In 1993, the Legislature amended the Act to require the Fund to award approximately 15 percent of its funds annually to any lower priority classes that would not otherwise be funded (i.e., Class C and D claimants each receive at least 15 percent of the annual funding). In addition, legislation signed by the Governor on July 19, 2000 provides immediate funding for Fire Safety Agencies who submitted applications to the Fund by January 1, 2000.