Letter: Oil tank regulations left homeowners in dark

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to voice my displeasure with the implementation of the new above-ground storage tank regulations. I fully understand the premise of the wanting such regulations/inspections to ensure that a household or business's fuel tank is safe to fill. What infuriates me about this new program is the start date.

Why the Vermont legislature and the following organizations that helped craft this program -- the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, the Agency of National Resources and NORA -- wait until August to implement this new program? This is a program that should have been implemented in the beginning of summer when households were enjoying the warm weather, not in late August just a month shy before the fall season is upon us. Also, notices should have been distributed via local news outlets, newspapers and direct mailings that such a program was going to be initiated. Having early notification would have given homeowners the time to look over the regulations to see if they would be in compliance. Homeowners could have been preparing themselves for the eventual repairs and/or replacement of their oil tank and setting aside the funds to do so.

Case in point: On Aug. 25 to my surprise we had our tank inspected by our local fuel deliverer. Due to a rusty leg and a fuel line that is underground our tank did not pass inspection and was "red tagged." the red tag means we cannot receive an oil delivery until a new tank is installed and the old tank removed.

According to the individual doing the inspection, other households are in a similar predicament. I was also informed that a backlog of homeowners needing repairs was beginning. I immediately called our plumbing and heating repair person and asked if he would be able to do the necessary work to bring our household into compliance. I was informed that he was busy with other projects and was not able to give us an exact date or time that he could make the necessary repairs.

The following day on August 26th, I received in the mail a one-page pamphlet and short notice from our fuel supplier informing us that the State of Vermont has established regulations for above ground oil tanks that became law on August 7th. Why did it take the Legislature and these organizations so long to implement these regulations and why wait until August to do so?

We currently have half a tank oh home heating fuel in our existing tank. Hopefully with oru household being conservative with heat and hot water our half a tank will last us until our situation can be resolved. No household on the State of Vermont should have to be worried of running out of fuel with the cold weather approaching.

If Vermont state officials and the organizations responsible for developing this program were thinking of Vermont homeowners and the impact these regulations would have, they would have given earlier notice and implemented this program sooner or delay the roll-out until the spring/summer of 2018.

Gary Joaquin



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