Leaking Underground Fuel Tank (LUFT) Program
ACDEH oversees the investigation and cleanup of fuel releases from petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs) in unincorporated Alameda County, Alameda, Albany, Castro Valley, Dublin, Emeryville, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Lorenzo, and Sunol under the Local Oversight Program (LOP) contract with the State Water Board (SWB). In certain circumstances, ACDEH does oversee cases in Berkeley, Hayward, Fremont, Newark, San Leandro, and Union City with Regional Water Quality Control Board concurrence. Sites are entered into the LOP when a release from an UST is reported and confirmed. This typically occurs when an UST is removed and signs of a release are either obvious or confirmed in soil and/or groundwater sample analytical results. Releases are also reported when contamination is found while repairing fuel delivery systems associated with petroleum USTs or when environmental site assessments are completed at the time of property transactions.
Site Cleanup Program (SCP)
Releases of other types of hazardous materials from underground storage tanks or other releases and/or spills that have contaminated soil, soil vapor, and/or groundwater may be regulated by ACDEH under the Site Cleanup Program (SCP), San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWB) or by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
ACDEH under LOP's SCP oversees the cleanup of contaminated property under authority of California Health and Safety Code Sections 101480 through 101490, which provide that a Responsible Party (RP) for a release site or an entity redeveloping a site, may request ACDEH oversight for a site investigation and any remediation necessary to mitigate the site under a voluntary remedial action agreement (PDF). Once the signed agreement is received, ACDEH is required to notify the DTSC and RWB to determine if these agencies have regulatory involvement with the site. If no concerns are raised by the State agencies, an ACDEH case manager will oversee the investigation and/or remediation of your site. ACDEH oversight costs are paid by the property owner, responsible party, or entity performing site redevelopment.
To determine whether your site can be accepted into the ACDEH's SCP, complete and submit the Request for Preliminary Site Review for Oversight Determination application (Word) along with the site review fee. An ID number will be established in the State Water Board's GeoTracker website and all technical reports (in PDF format) describing the environmental conditions for the site must be uploaded to GeoTracker. ACDEH will review the submitted documentation and make a determination whether an SCP case is required.
Invitation to Comment – Environmental Corrective Action
Our goal is to ensure that LUFT and SCP site investigations and remediation are performed in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards, to be protective of human health and the environment to achieve case closure in a timely and cost-effective manner. The following information will help ensure that submitted reports, workplans and related documents meet current requirements and that they are reviewed and addressed in a timely manner (typically 60 days or less from the time of receipt). If your project or portions of it require expediting, please let us know as soon as possible, including documentation of the reason for the accelerated response. Please ensure that all submissions comply with the following general requirements.
Electronic Report Submittals
Alameda County Department of Environmental Health and the California State Water Resources Control Board both require electronic submission in lieu of paper submissions for LUFT (Leaking Underground Fuel Tank) and SCP (Site Cleanup Program) cases. All submission (reports, work plans, and documents) must be uploaded to GeoTracker. Instructions are posted on their website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/ust/electronic_submittal/index.shtml.
Cover Letter Requirements
A cover letter, signed by an officer or legally authorized representative of your company, is required for all work plans, reports and technical documents, which includes the following statement or equivalent: “I have read and acknowledge the content, recommendations and/or conclusions contained in the attached document or report submitted on my behalf to the State Water Board’s GeoTracker website.”
Professional Certification Requirements
California Business and Professions Code Sections 6735, 6835, and 7835.1 requires that work plans and technical or implementation reports containing geologic or engineering evaluations and/or judgments be performed under the direction of an appropriately registered or certified professional. Please ensure that all documents that contain site specific data, data interpretations, or recommendations comply with this requirement and that they include the professional registration stamp, signature and statement of professional certification.
Authority to Require Corrective Action and Reports
California Health and Safety Code Section 25296.10 provides ACDEH authority to require corrective action and related reports. California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Sections 2652-2654 and 2721-2728 specify the responsibilities of a responsible party in response to an unauthorized release from a petroleum UST system and requires your compliance with the ACDEH request for a technical report, workplan or related document. Health and Safety Code Sections 101480 through 101490, under a Volunteer Remedial Action Agreement, require corrective action and related reports.
Additional Approvals/Permits May Be Required
Approvals issued by the caseworker to perform work are limited to approving the proposed activity as it relates to the LUFT or SCP investigation and remediation. Many of these activities require additional approvals or permits from agencies other than the LOP (Local Oversight Program. More... (PDF)
Boring and well permits are issued by Alameda County Department of Public Works (http://www.acgov.org/business/wellpermits.htm), Alameda County Water District ( http://www.acwd.org/), or Zone 7 Water Agency ( http://www.zone7water.com/), depending on where the borings or wells are to be drilled (see Well Permitting Requirements in the Technical Reference section of this page for more information).
Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund
Subsurface Investigation and cleanup costs related to releases from a petroleum underground storage tank may be reimbursed by the State Water Board’s Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund. Delays in investigation, late reports, or enforcement actions may result in disqualification from receiving grant money from California’s Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund to reimburse you for cleanup costs.
Alameda County Environmental Health Agency Oversight Enforcement
Delays in the submission of reports or performance of cleanup work may result in referral to the Regional Water Quality Control Board, District Attorney, or other appropriate agency for enforcement. California Health and Safety Code Section 25299.76 provides for penalties of up to $10,000 per day for each day of violation. If you are unable to meet action dates specified in this letter, please contact the caseworker to request an extension.
If you have any questions, please contact your caseworker or the Local Oversight Program Manager at 510-777-2478
On May 1, 2012, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted a statewide policy (Policy) on the closure of leaking petroleum underground storage tank (UST) sites in California. The Policy applies to petroleum UST sites subject to Chapter 6.7 of the Health and Safety Code and establishes both general and media-specific criteria. If both the general and applicable media-specific criteria are satisfied, then the leaking UST case is generally considered to present a low threat to human health, safety and the environment. The Policy recognizes, however, that even if all of the specified criteria in the Policy are met, there may be unique attributes of the case or site-specific conditions that increase the risk associated with the residual petroleum constituents.
In order for the site to be accurately and completely evaluated for the above conditions, we request that you review each of the general and specific criteria established in the Policy and provide at a minimum, the information requested in the table below. The information must be provided within the format of a technical report that is prepared, signed, and stamped by a California Professional Geologist or Engineer. The thoroughness of the technical report will facilitate timely review and ultimately case closure.
Required Information to Review Case for Low-Threat Closure Per Resolution 2012-0016 (PDF)
Criteria for Low-Threat Case Closure
In the absence of unique attributes of a case or site-specific conditions that demonstrably increase the risk associated with residual petroleum constituents, cases that meet the general and media-specific criteria described in this policy pose a low threat to human health, safety or the environment and are appropriate for closure pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 25296.10. Cases that meet the criteria in this policy do not require further corrective action and shall be issued a uniform closure letter consistent with Health and Safety Code section 25296.10. Annually, or at the request of the responsible party or party conducting the corrective action, the regulatory agency shall conduct a review to determine whether the site meets the criteria contained in this policy.
General criteria that must be satisfied by all candidate sites are listed as follows:
a. The unauthorized release is located within the service area of a public water system;
b. The unauthorized release consists only of petroleum;
c. The unauthorized ("primary") release from the UST system has been stopped;
d. Free product has been removed to the maximum extent practicable;
e. A conceptual site model that assesses the nature, extent, and mobility of the release has been developed;
f. Secondary source has been removed to the extent practicable;
g. Soil or groundwater has been tested for methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and results reported in accordance with Health and Safety Code section 25296.15; and
h. Nuisance as defined by Water Code section 13050 does not exist at the site.
Low Threat Policy (PDF)
This 15-page document contains the full text of the policy.
Further information on the Policy can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board website: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/ust/lt_cls_plcy.shtml
You can find out about an LOP or SCP site in Alameda County by using the Find a Site link. ACDEH jurisdiction for these programs includes unincorporated Alameda County, Alameda, Albany, Castro Valley, Dublin, Emeryville, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Lorenzo, and Sunol. In certain circumstances, ACDEH does oversee cases in Berkeley, Hayward, Fremont, Newark, San Leandro, and Union City with Regional Water Quality Control Board concurrence. Information presented in the search will include all electronic documents that the department has reviewed and approved for LOP and SCP sites for which Alameda County provides investigation and cleanup oversight. To find current information regarding sites or a site in other areas of California, please go to the GeoTracker website at https://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/.
Stakeholders in Alameda County import and export soil to and from their environmental cleanup sites regulated by ACDEH (see “When can I reuse soil at a site?” for more information). In order to be protective of both human health and ecological risk, ACDEH has requirements for the characterization of soil to determine its suitability for use at another site. These requirements have been prepared by ACDEH to ensure that unsuitable soil is not imported to environmental cleanup sites or exported from environmental cleanup sites to properties with sensitive land uses.
To initiate soil import/export clearance, complete and submit the Soil Import/Export Characterization Service Request and associated fees to ACDEH. An ID number will be established in the State Water Board's GeoTracker website and a Soil Characterization Report (in PDF format) prepared in accordance with Alameda County’s Soil Import/Export Characterization Requirements Document for the soil export site must be uploaded to GeoTracker. ACDEH will review the submitted documentation and make a determination whether the soil is suitable for import.
Listed below are links to information that may be useful in analysis, both for your current environmental cases but also for future research.
Creek and Watershed Maps
The Oakland Museum of California has published a series of online and paper copy Creek and Watershed Maps that include the location of storm drain lines beneath our communities. Because these lines can act as preferential pathways for contaminant migration, these maps are an important resource for Responsible Parties and consultants in general. More information and map downloads are available on the Museum's website at Guide to San Francisco Bay Area Creeks.
The maps can also be purchased at Creek Mapping Project.
Please note: To encourage wider use, the maps are not copyrighted.
Links to specific PDF maps covering much of Alameda County:
Geologic Map External Links
The following links may be of use for subsurface investigations within the county. Additional resources exist; these maps should not be considered a comprehensive listing.
- Geologic Map and Map Database of the Oakland Metropolitan Area, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties, California, MF-2342; By R.W. Graymer, 2000;
- Quaternary geology of Alameda County, and parts of Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties, California: A digital database, OF97-97; By: E.J. Helley and R.W. Graymer, 1997,
- Preliminary Geologic Map Emphasizing Bedrock Formations in Alameda County, California: A Digital Database, OF96-252; By R.W. Graymer, D.L. Jones, and E.E. Brabb, 1996;
- Geologic Map of the San Francisco Bay Region, By R.W. Graymer, B.C. Moring, G.J. Saucedo, C.M. Wentworth, E.E. Brabb, and K.L. Knudsen, 2006;
Well Permitting Requirements
County PW, Zone 7, Berkeley and ACWD are the permitting agencies for well construction or destruction. Alameda County Public Works Agency-Water Resources issues drilling permits for projects located in the following cities:
Additional information on the Unincorporated Area Clean Water Program of Alameda County is provided by Public Works.
For contaminated property that has been cleaned up, ACDEH requires that the monitoring wells used to assess groundwater (GW) impact be properly destroyed (under permit), so they do not cause future contamination of the GW basin.
For private residence production wells (less than 5 hook ups), ACDEH reviews information related to production rates and water quality and issues letters of acceptance provided the system meets current standards. If it is a new house and there is an existing well but the new house can access municipal water, ACDEH would not require that the house destroy or cap the existing well though the local Building Dept might and if not the Building Depart. will at least require that anti-cross connection devices be installed.
State Water Resources Control Board
- UST Cleanup Program
- UST Cleanup Fund
- Contamination Assessment, Cleanup and Closure-Related Guidance
- Petition Process
- Draft LUFT Manual Update
- Draft LUFT Manual update: Site Conceptual Model
- Local Agency Contacts.
- Site Cleanup
- UST Cleanup Program
- Basin Plan
- Basin Plan Table of Alameda County Existing and Potential Beneficial Use
- Environmental Screening Levels and Environmental Screening Levels Memo
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
Frequently Asked Questions
Consider - the yellow pages, word of mouth, and etc.
Search the San Mateo County List of Consultants
Look up and check license status for Professional Engineers
Look up and check license status for Professional Geologists
Inquire about Consultant experience performing applicable work- i.e. UST removal, soil and groundwater characterization, soil and groundwater remediation, electronic file uploads.
Consultant websites may refer to prior projects- these should reviewable on Lead agency databases in California:
- Alameda County Department of Environmental Health
- Department of Toxic Substances Control
- San Francisco RWQCB
Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints
ACDEH maintains all case files in electronic form; there are no paper files. The electronic case files can be reviewed on the State Water Resources Control Board GeoTracker website. Files can also be reviewed on the ACDEH website. Enter the site address or case ID and click “Search.” The ACDEH case files include documents submitted prior to 2001.
To claim your site in GeoTracker, go to the GeoTracker Electronic Submittal page, review the information, or call the phone number in the upper right corner of the page.
Documents are required to be submitted to the State Water Board's GeoTracker website. Documents are submitted in electronic form as PDF documents to the GeoTracker website. To submit documents to GeoTracker you must first claim your site at the GeoTracker website. Otherwise you can access GeoTracker here. ACDEH reviews documents submitted to GeoTracker.
Reports submitted as attachments to electronic mail are not accepted.
Entire report including cover letter must be submitted to the GeoTracker website as a single portable document format (PDF).
It is preferable that reports be converted to PDF format from their original format, (e.g., Microsoft Word) rather than scanned.
Signature pages and acknowledgement statements must be included and have either original or electronic signature.
Each page in the PDF document should be rotated in the direction that will make it easiest to read on a computer monitor.
Reports must be named and saved using the following naming convention: RO#_Report Name_Year-Month-Date (e.g., RO#5555_WorkPlan_2005-06-14)
A PDF copy of these requirements can be downloaded here.
Suggested File Naming Conventions are available here .
There are four agencies that issue subsurface drilling permits in Alameda County. Alameda County Water District (ACWD) issues drilling permits for subsurface drilling in Fremont, Newark, and Union City. Zone 7 Water Agency (Zone 7) provides this service east of the East Bay Hills in the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Sunol, and Livermore. The City of Berkeley issues drilling permits in their city and Alameda County Public Works Agency (ACPWA) issues subsurface drilling permits in the remaining areas of Alameda County, which includes Alameda, Albany, Castro Valley, Emeryville, Hayward, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, and San Lorenzo.
In general, ACDEH follows the October 20, 2006 San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board draft Technical Reference Document Characterization and Reuse of Petroleum Hydrocarbon Impacted Soil as Inert Waste (pdf) and ACDEH’s Soil Import/Export Characterization Requirements document. Site by site differences can occur; however, the documents are a common starting point for site-specific considerations.
An underground storage tank (UST) closure is when a UST is taken out of service and will not be used again. A partial list of actions associated with this event include obtaining an UST removal permit, removal of the contents of the UST's, triple rinsing, inerting the UST, excavating and removing the UST system (inclusive of product piping and other appurtenances), collection of soil and groundwater confirmation samples, sending the UST to a recycler for disposal, and back-filling the excavation with clean material. All of these actions (and possibly more) are conducted under permit and under regulatory oversight by the local CUPA program. Be sure to communicate with the CUPA in your jurisdiction for proper permitting. Under certain limited conditions (structural threat, limited clearance, overlying utility lines, etc.), a UST may also be closed in-place.
Generally, upon receipt of final analytical results without detectable concentrations of contaminants, a tank closure letter may be issued by the CUPA program. If contamination is detected, an Unauthorized Release Form (URF) is filled out and submitted to the CUPA. The CUPA program will then transfer case oversight to the environmental contamination oversight program. At that time the site becomes an environmental contamination case. In most of Alameda County, oversight is provided by Alameda County Department of Environmental Health’s Local Oversight Program. For more details on tank closure, please contact the local CUPA Program. The Alameda County CUPA program can be accessed at this link.
Site or case closure of an environmental contamination case is provided at the completion of site investigations and any appropriate remedial activities that demonstrate that the site no longer poses a potential risk to human health and the environment at the time of closure.