Owners and operators of petroleum storage tanks who have incurred costs during the investigation and remediation of petroleum releases may be eligible for reimbursement from the Petroleum Release Remedial Action Reimbursement Fund. The Nebraska Legislature created the reimbursement fund to provide financial assistance to persons determined by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) to be responsible for a release first reported after July 17, 1983, and on or before June 30, 2024. The fund is administered within the NDEE’s Petroleum Remediation Section.
Title 200 Application Phases
Application for reimbursement may be made following completion and Departmental acceptance of NDEE required increments of investigation and/or remediation. A responsible person may also be eligible to receive reimbursement for some of the expenses resulting from a tank removal or replacement. Although not all costs incurred during such activities are eligible, expenses directly related to (1) the excavation, disposal and replacement of petroleum contaminated soil to the extent described in the NDEE’s Petroleum Underground Storage Tanks: Closure Assessment Sample Collection and Over-Excavation Guidance, (2) required field and/or laboratory analysis of soil samples, and (3) preparation of the Closure Assessment Report required by the State Fire Marshal under Title 159—Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Tanks may be considered eligible remedial activities under Title 200.
A complete application must be submitted within one year of the compliance date established by the Department when the remedial phase is approved, pursuant to Title 200, Chapter 2, Section 007. Failure to submit an application in a timely fashion may result in reduction of reimbursement by up to 100%. If total eligible costs do not exceed the initial deductible as described in the following section, this requirement does not apply.
Deductible and Co-payment Requirements
When making an initial application for reimbursement under Title 200, the applicant must show that eligible remedial costs in excess of the deductible requirement have been incurred and paid. Once the deductible has been met, responsible persons or their designated representatives may apply for reimbursement of 75% of any subsequent eligible costs until their co-payment requirement is met. After meeting both the deductible and co-payment obligations, responsible persons may apply for reimbursement of 100% of all eligible costs associated with the remedial action, until the maximum per release limit has been reached ($1 million in total eligible expenses) or the NDEE determines the remediation to be complete.
Most responsible persons will need to meet an initial deductible of $10,000 in eligible expenses per release. The responsible person also has a co-payment obligation equal to 25% of the next $60,000 of eligible expenses (a total co-payment of $15,000). Total “out-of-pocket” expenses may therefore total $25,000 per release for this level.
However, a responsible person may qualify for a lower deductible and co-payment obligation, if he or she is either:
- A marketer who sold more than 2,000 but less than 250,000 gallons of petroleum at all facilities in the calendar year prior to the year the release was first reported.
- A storer/non-marketer who stored less than 10,000 gallons at all facilities in the calendar year prior to the year the release was first reported.
If either of these criteria is met, the applicant has a reduced deductible requirement of $5,000, followed by a co-payment obligation equal to 25% of the next $40,000 in eligible remedial expenses (a total co-payment of $10,000). Total “out-of-pocket” expenses may therefore total $15,000 for an applicant classified as low-volume. In order to be considered for the low-volume classification level, a responsible person must complete and submit to the NDEE an “Application for Low-Volume Classification.”
General Eligibility Issues
Under the provisions of Title 200, a responsible person may apply for reimbursement for the actual, reasonable, and eligible costs incurred during the performance of an NDEE-approved remedial action. Each Title 200 application processed by the Department will be evaluated with regard to the reasonableness of both individual billing rates and the total cost of the particular work effort. More detailed rate information may be found in the Reasonable Rate Schedule and Reimbursement Guidance Manual.
Factors That May Reduce Reimbursements
Under the provisions of Title 200, reimbursements to responsible persons may be denied or reduced up to 100% for non-compliance with the rules and regulations of the State Fire Marshal, the NDEE and other agencies. Reductions in reimbursement may result from the failure of a responsible person to follow requirements in regard to tank registration, tank upgrade, tank design and repair, release detection, inventory control and tank gauging, release notification and containment, and failure to clean up past spills and overfills. The reimbursement of eligible costs incurred during an approved remedial action may also be reduced for the failure of a responsible person or their consultant to meet NDEE timetables during the remedial action and/or to submit an application in a timely fashion.