Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Index


    Contractor Licensing Requirement Questions

    Who is required to have Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cards at a UST worksite?

    All individuals working on-site in the hot zone, excluding electricians, truck drivers, concrete masons, canopy erectors or crane operators. However, those last named individuals must be hired and supervised by the licensed contractor, and must comply with the standards established by the OSHA General Site Worker Program (29 CFR 1910.120).

    Who must have an ICC certification?

    • For Install/Retrofitting, Cathodic Protection and Decommissioning contractors, the individual at the job site supervising the tank activity must be ICC certified in the appropriate module for the work being performed. This person may be a certified employee or the certified contractor.
    • Lining contractors must carry Decommissioning certification and be certified by the manufacturer of the lining material they use.
    • For tank tightness testing contractors, certified employees may be certified by the manufacturer of any equipment being used in the testing processes, or they may obtain ICC certification, or they may have both manufacturer’s and ICC certification.

    I am already licensed and want to add a new employee to my list. Do I need to pay another $1000.00 fee?

    Complete the Notice to Certified Employees form page which is included in the Application for UST Contractor License form and send the new employee’s original picture ID passing exam report from Pearson VUE. Records showing completion of the 40 hour OSHA training and current 8 hour refresher training must also be submitted. No fee is due if you are not renewing your license at this time.

    How often do I need to renew my ICC certification?

    Every two years a certified employee or the certified contractor is required to take and pass the appropriate exams to renew their ICC certification.

    How do I become licensed?

    You can begin the licensing process on our Underground Storage Tank Portal (login/registration is required). And you can get additional information by contacting DPCS at (217) 785-1020 or by emailing the Division of Petroleum & Chemical Safety Division to receive a packet of information on how to obtain study guides and set a test date.

    I am certified in another state. Can I use that certification?

    If you are ICC certified in another state, submit the original picture ID passing exam report from Pearson VUE. We do not accept a state specific test. There is no reciprocity from any other state.

    I understand that I am required to have a contractor’s license certificate at each job. Is a photocopy of my license certificate sufficient?

    No. You are required to have an original License Certificate on-site. You may request additional license certificates by submitting your request in writing to DPCS, including the $50.00 fee per certificate.

    Our company has moved, and we have added a branch office. What must I do?

    Notify the DPCS in writing of any address, telephone or fax number changes, including any new branch offices. You must also submit a $50.00 fee payable to OSFM for each branch office per module.

    I lost my company's License Certificate. How do I get a replacement?

    Notify the DPCS in writing, requesting a new license certificate and submit $50.00 for each certificate requested.

    How many ICC certified personnel are required on a job site?

    One ICC certified person is required to be on the job site at all times. This individual must be certified in the UST work being performed and must actively supervise all permitted UST work being accomplished.

    My certification has expired how do I get a new one?

    You must call Pearson VUE, our ICC exam provider, at 1-(800) 275-8301 to schedule a test date. You must provide the Pearson VUE representative with the Exam ID and the Exam Title. After passing your test, complete the Notice of Certified Employees form and mail the form to our office with the original picture ID passing exam report.

    Financial Responsibility Questions

    How often do I have to report Financial Responsibility?

    It must be reported annually – one year from the last reporting date unless using the Self-Insurance mechanism, which in that case requires reporting within 120 days of the close of the fiscal year end. A reminder notification is NOT sent to the owner or operator; however, you may check at the public database of the OSFM website to verify the last date reported. Go to UST Search and enter your facility number in the search field.

    How do I submit a Certificate of Financial Responsibility form?

    The Certificate of Financial Responsibility form is available on the State Fire Marshal’s website in the Commercial area. You can do a search if necessary. Select the UST Applications and Forms folder and click on Financial Responsibility Report. The form is electronic (paperless) and is submitted through the OFSM website. You do not need a login or password. Once submitted, a message will confirm your submission and a copy of the form may be printed or saved for the owner/operator’s records.

    Is there required supporting documentation that needs to be mailed to the OFSM for Financial Responsibility?

    Once your online Financial Responsibility form has been processed by OSFM, if you are using one of the following mechanisms, the original instrument needs to be mailed to the OFSM: Surety Bond, Letter of Credit or Guarantee.

    Note that documentation required when using the Self-Insurance mechanism should be uploaded to the online form.

    Do we have to show proof of the mechanism that we choose to use?

    Evidence of financial assurance must be maintained at the UST facility or at the UST Owners/Operator’s primary place of business or corporate office, and they must have the ability to readily forward a copy of such documentation to the facility should an OFSM inspector request to review the documentation in the event that such documentation is not available at the facility. Examples of evidence of financial assurance could be a Certificate of Insurance from your insurance agent, a recent bank statement for Designated Savings Account or a recent bank statement for a Certificate of Deposit.

    What are my options to satisfy my financial responsibility obligation?

    See page 2 of the Certificate of Financial Responsibility form for a detailed summary of the 7 different Financial Responsibility mechanisms available. You may also see regulations at Title 41, Chapter 1, Part 176, Administrative Requirements for Underground Storage Tanks, Subpart B: Financial Assurance:

    I noticed that the ownership information on the Financial Responsibility form is not correct. Can I still submit my Financial Responsibility form?

    You may update the owner information on the form; however, we cannot process your submission until you submit a "Notification of Ownership Change for Underground Storage Tanks" form which is available on the Applications and Forms page.

    If I am eligible for the LUST Fund, doesn’t that satisfy my Financial Responsibility obligation?

    No. Although the LUST Fund assists certain petroleum UST owners in paying for corrective action or third-party liability, it is not considered a mechanism for compliance with OSFM’s Financial Responsibility requirements. See regulations at Title 41, Chapter 1, Part 176.205 Administrative Requirements for Underground Storage Tanks.

    Can I combine more than one financial mechanism to satisfy my financial responsibility?

    With the exception of Self-Insurance, you may use more than one mechanism to meet the $20,000 financial responsibility requirement.

    What is the difference between Self-Insurance and Commercial/Private Insurance financial responsibility mechanisms?

    Commercial/Private insurance requires the UST Owner/Operator to obtain a liability policy written to specifically cover environmental damage and personal injury caused by pollution as a result of a release from a UST. This type of coverage is usually not provided under a generally business liability policy. With regards to Self-Insurance, the owner or operator must first qualify to use this mechanism by demonstrating with supporting financial documentation a tangible net worth of $200,000 or more. Such documentation, must be prepared by an independent Certified Public Accountant and submitted within 120 days of the close of their fiscal year. For more details see, Title 41, Chapter 1, Part 176.220.

    What if we are a Federal or State of Illinois entity; do we still have to report Financial Responsibility annually?

    Yes. Federal and State of Illinois entities must still report annually and may report self-insured with the requirement for providing supporting financial documentation waived.

    Once I submit the Certificate of Financial Responsibility form, how do I know it was processed?

    You may verify on the OSFM website by locating the UST/Database and Contractor area and selecting UST Search, or by clicking here. At the search page, type in the facility number for the site and press enter. Under the Owner Details column on the facility detail page, you will find the Financial Responsibility Received Date.

    Do I have to report USTs that are currently not in use?

    Yes. Until the tanks have been removed or abandoned in place in accordance with all applicable OSFM rules and regulations as required by 415 ILCS 5/57.5, financial responsibility is required. Tanks that are in an out-of-service status must still maintain Financial Responsibility.

    LUST Fund Eligibility & Deductible (E & D) Questions

    If I buy a piece of property that has USTs, can I access the LUST Fund?

    An owner or operator of an UST who has a confirmed release from those UST or related system can apply to access the fund in accordance with 415 ILCS 5/57.9.

    Where can I obtain an E & D Application?

    Applications can be filled out online at the UST Portal.  Login/Registration is required. 
    A manually submitted form, that must be printed out and mailed in, is available.  Contact us to request this option.

    If I purchase a piece of property and the tanks that caused the release have been removed by the previous owner/operator can I access the Fund?

    Eligibility rules allow only an owner or operator of the UST(s) to access the LUST Fund. However, if you have obtained an ownership interest in a property that had USTs which were registered with the Fire Marshal’s Office, you should contact the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to discuss the process of submitting an Election to Proceed as Owner form to the IEPA.

    If I buy a piece of property with contamination and a cleanup is in progress, can I be reimbursed for my costs associated with completing the cleanup work?

    If the tank(s) that caused the release is still in the ground, the owner/operator can submit an Eligibility and Deductible Application to OSFM for consideration. However, if the tank(s) which caused the release was removed prior to your ownership of the site, you should contact the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to discuss the process of submitting an Election to Proceed as Owner form to the IEPA.

    I have not submitted an E & D application yet, but I would like to know what the deductible would be for my facility before I submit one.

    In order to determine the deductible for a facility, the facility file must be reviewed. Review of a facility file will not be done until an application is received. You may obtain a copy of the facility file by submitting a Freedom of Information Office (FOIA) request through the OSFM website. This information can assist you in determining what deductible will be set for your facility.

    How can I obtain a copy of an Eligibility and Deductible letter?

    Letters of Eligibility are mailed to the applicant. If someone will be submitting the application on the owner’s behalf, a cover letter may be attached to the Application indicating where copies should be sent. For copies of previously issued letters, please submit a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request through the OSFM website.

    I am working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on cleaning up my facility, and they have approved my plan of action. I need to get my Letter of Eligibility to EPA now. Can review and processing of my application be expedited?

    No. Applications are reviewed in Date Received order.

    If a tank contained more than one product how do I know which product to state on the UST Information Sheet?

    State the product that is currently being stored in the UST or the last product stored in the UST(s) immediately before its removal or abandonment in place. Provide an explanation in the “Comments” of the UST Information Sheet as to the date the product was changed as well as any other product(s) which was previously stored in that tank.

    How long will it take before I get a Letter of Eligibility for my facility?

    The Division of Petroleum & Chemical Safety (DPCS) has 60 days to make a determination of eligibility. However, the time may be less, depending on the number of applications in house.

    UST Regulatory Compliance Questions

    I received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from your office because one of my USTs was not in compliance. What do I do now?

    You should make arrangements to have the necessary repairs made or testing done as soon as possible. You have 60 days from the date the NOV was issued to bring all violations into compliance. If repairs or testing is not successfully completed by the end of the 60 day compliance period, your tank(s) will be red tagged until all violations are in full compliance. When the tank is red tagged, petroleum suppliers are prohibited from placing product in the tank(s). Only OSFM personnel are authorized to remove red tags.

    Can I get an extension of the deadline for bringing my facility into compliance?

    Requests for extensions are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Determining factors include, but are not limited to:

    • The type of violations for which the facility has been cited.
    • The amount of time previously granted for compliance to be completed.
    • The extent of cooperation demonstrated by the facility owner/operator.

    What does it mean when a tank is red-tagged?

    No additional fuel can be placed into the tank until it is brought into compliance. Fuel remaining in the tank which was deposited prior to being red-tagged can be dispensed.

    How is it determined who is responsible for UST compliance?

    There are numerous factors that are considered when determining who is the responsible party. They include, but are not limited to, who owns the facility, who installed the USTs and who last used the USTs.

    If I receive an Administrative Order do I have the right to appeal?

    Yes. An appeal letter must be received 10 days from the receipt of the Administrative Order. Additional information is included in the text of the Administrative Order.

    UST Job Permit Questions

    My contractor stated it might take a month to obtain a removal permit and schedule an inspector to be on-site for the removal. Is this correct?

    No. Turnaround time for issuing a removal permit and scheduling an inspector is typically less than a week. However, certain situations or circumstances beyond our control may slow the process.

    I am the sub-contractor/consultant/owner but another contractor secured the permit can I schedule the permit?

    No. The permit belongs to the contractor listed on the permit.

    I need to cancel a date certain or a time and date-certain inspection. Whom do I call and how much notice do I need to give?

    Inspections are scheduled and cancellations are entered at the Contractors Scheduling Portal. Cancellations of scheduled UST activities are allowed up until 0600 the morning of the scheduled activity. Exceptions can be made due to inclement weather, but this can only be done by calling the office and getting approval. Call: 217-785-7809 or 217-785-7812.

    I need to cancel a scheduled UST permit job. Who do I call and how much notice is needed?

    Jobs are scheduled and cancellations are entered at the Contractors Portal. Cancellations of scheduled UST activities are allowed up until 0600 the morning of the scheduled activity. Exceptions can be made due to inclement weather, but this can only be done by calling the office: 217-785-7809 or 217-785-7812.

    How can I get an extension to my permit?

    A permit is good for six months. A permit extension and $200.00 fee will extend the permit for an additional six months. The contractor that was issued the original permit must mail a copy of the existing permit, the $200.00 fee and a letter requesting an extension.

    Is a permit needed for the replacement of dispensers?

    If the replacement does not involve any piping retrofitting at or below the shear valve, a permit is not needed. If piping is being altered at or below the shear valve, an upgrade permit with a site plan is required.

    What situation warrants an emergency repair to be performed prior to the issuance of a proper permit?

    Leaking tanks or leaking pipes.

    Can I complete the work on my tanks and piping by myself?

    No. State statute requires that a contractor must be licensed with the Office of the State Fire Marshal DPCS to do this type of work.

    Are we allowed a second amendment to our permit?

    One amendment is allowed per permit, without a fee. Additional amendments require submission of another $200.00 fee. If changes are such that a new site plan is required, a new permit application and $200.00 fee is required, along with the new site plan, whether it is an initial amendment or not.

    How long does it take for a permit application to be reviewed and approved?

    Permits are processed in date-received order. The turnaround time depends upon how many permit requests are ahead of the new requests. OSFM has maintained a 95% completion of turnaround time in less than 20 days for all permits.

    What is the procedure for attaining approval for an emergency repair?

    The contractor must create an Emergency Repair Request at the Contractors Portal. Upon completion of the work, the contractor must perform a tank or piping tightness test. The contractor will then be allowed to backfill the excavation. Once the work is completed, the contractor must apply for a permit on the next business day and schedule a time-certain inspection within 10 days of permit approval.

    Can I send one check for multiple permit applications?

    Yes. All of the permits must be sent together in one package.

    How do I amend my permit?

    You must fax (217-524-9284) or mail in a copy of the existing permit along with the proposed changes to the attention of the Petroleum & Chemical Safety Division for approval. You must mail your permit to the office if a fee is required, and include the $200.00 payment fee.

    Who do I call about aboveground tank permits or questions?

    The Technical Services Division is responsible for all aboveground tank applications and can assist with questions associated with them. Please call 312-814-2425.

    Miscellaneous UST Questions

    Who is responsible for registering USTs?

    It is the owner's responsibility to register their USTs.

    I have never registered my USTs and would like to know about the fees.

    Registration for commercial heating oil tanks used any time after 1/1/1974 is $100.00 per tank if registered prior to 7/2/1992, and $500.00 per tank if registered on or after 7/2/1992. However, whoever registers heating oil tanks must pay the fee(s).

    If you were not the owner of the UST(s) on September 24, 1987 or in 1988, you will not owe the annual or late fees for registration. Nevertheless, if you apply for reimbursement through the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Fund all applicable fees must be paid.

    I am considering buying property which has USTs. Can you provide the background information on the tanks?

    Facility files cannot be researched by telephone. If you would like a copy of the file, submit your request through the Freedom of Information Office (FOIA) link on our website. Please include the facility name, complete address and current owner. You should receive your information in 7-10 days.

    How can I obtain information about USTs?

    Can I obtain a Notification Form for Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) on the website?

    Yes. All DPCS forms are available on the website.

    What information is required to be reported on a Notification Form? Is there a required time frame for reporting?

    Any change relevant to the facility status, product change, change in tank status, and change of ownership information must be reported within 30 days of such change as required by law.

    What is a site assessment?

    A site assessment is a procedure that measures for the presence of a release where contamination is most likely to be present at a UST site. In selecting sample types, sample locations and measurement methods, the owner/ operator shall consider the method of UST removal, the nature of the stored substance, the type of backfill, the depth to groundwater and other factors appropriate to use when identifying the presence of a release. Conducting a site assessment is the responsibility of the owner/operator. Refer to 41 IAC 176.330 in our UST regulations. All UST removals require a site assessment, and an OSFM Site Assessment Report Form must be submitted to our office indicating whether contamination was found or not.


    Triennial (3 year) Piping Containment Sump/Spill Bucket Testing & Overfill Prevention Equipment Inspection Questions

    What are the requirements for testing spill buckets and piping containment sumps? Will this apply to my facility?

    All spill buckets must either be of double wall construction, with both walls monitored for integrity every 30 days, or the spill buckets must be tested every three years to demonstrate they are liquid tight using hydrostatic (liquid), pressure or vacuum testing.

    All piping containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping must also:

    • Be of double wall construction, with the integrity of both walls monitored every 30 days, or;
    • Be tested every three years. For these qualifying sumps, testing can be hydrostatic, vacuum or pressure testing, or by following requirements developed by the manufacturer of the containment sump (if such requirements have been developed), or by another method no less protective of human health and the environment.
    • As an alternative to standard hydrostatic testing, low level testing of containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping is allowed in Illinois. To use this alternative testing option, sensor activation must result in the positive shut down of the submersible pump supplying the line.

    Types of piping containment sumps you might have at your facility could include submersible sumps at the USTs; dispenser sumps beneath each dispenser; transition sumps at points in the piping runs.

    For installation or repair of spill buckets or piping containment sumps, testing will be a full hydrostatic test only.

    What are the requirements for inspecting overfill prevention equipment?

    All types of overfill prevention equipment must be inspected at installation, after repair and at intervals of every 3 years.

    I have more than one type of overfill prevention equipment installed. Can I choose which one to inspect and forget about the other one?

    No. All overfill prevention equipment must be inspected. Since you are only required to have one form, a redundant type may be removed. This will require a permit.

    What if there are ball float vent valves that can't be accessed to inspect. Can they be left in place?

    No. They must be either inspected and replaced if they pass, or be removed or disabled if they fail or if they will be replaced by a different type of overfill prevention equipment. If a contractor determines the ball floats cannot be removed, they must be disabled. Ball floats may no longer be installed new, and ball floats that fail may not be replaced. Another type of overfill must be installed instead.

    When do the testing/inspection requirements become effective?

    The requirements have been in effect since 10/13/2018.

    As a facility owner or operator, can I perform the testing on my spill buckets and piping containment sumps?

    No. Only contractors licensed by OSFM as either Tank and Line Tightness Testing contractors or as Installation/Retrofit contractors qualify to do this testing. Additionally, the employees performing the testing must be currently certified as required by OSFM in testing of the equipment or in use of any testing equipment, as applies.

    What happens if any of my spill buckets or piping containment sumps fail testing?

    Like any other component of the UST system, the spill buckets or piping containment sumps that fail testing must be repaired following manufacturer's instructions or be replaced. For newly installed or repaired spill buckets and piping containment sumps, the only testing allowed will be a full hydrostatic test.

    I have piping containment sumps, but my piping is single wall, and there are no interstitial monitoring sensors in the sumps. Do these sumps qualify for triennial testing?

    No. To qualify, a piping containment sump must be used for interstitial monitoring of the piping. This applies only to double wall piping, otherwise there would be no interstice. There must also already be a sensor present.

    Containment sumps have been required in Illinois since 5/1/2003. Double wall piping and interstitial monitoring have been required in Illinois since 2/1/2008.

    I have piping containment sumps and double wall piping, but there are no sensors in the sumps. Do I have to have these sumps tested?

    Not as long as the piping was installed prior to the double wall/sensor requirement in 2/1/2008. Since both double wall piping and sensor installation were voluntary upgrades prior to 2/1/2008, some facilities elected to install double wall piping but not sensors.

    Double wall piping and interstitial monitoring sensors were both installed at my facility before 2/1/2008 when the upgrades were voluntary. Can I remove the sensors now to avoid having to test the containment sumps?

    No. Once the date passed when double wall piping and interstitial monitoring sensors became required, any facility that had them already was required to keep and maintain them.

    I have a European Suction (safe suction) piping system. Do the sumps have to be tested if there are sensors in them?

    No. Unlike pressurized piping systems or American Suction piping systems, European Suction piping systems are not required to have release detection. The sensors will need to be re-classified as nonregulated sensors. Your contractor can do this by submitting an upgrade permit to OSFM.