Since 1988, South Carolina’s SUPERB program—State Underground Petroleum Environmental Response Bank—has provided funding to owners and operators of qualified underground storage tanks (USTs) for remediation efforts following a petroleum release. Generated through a ½ cent state gasoline tax and registration fees from UST owners, SUPERB covers reasonable remediation efforts in excess of $25,000 up to a maximum amount of $1,000,000.
SUPERB requires that all costs associated with remediation receive prior approval from DHEC. In order to efficiently distribute SUPERB funds to sites of most critical need, DHEC has established a multi-tiered ranking system that allocates money first to sites presenting the greatest risk to human health and the environment. Even if a site is not prioritized for funding, an owner or operator may proceed with remediation and later seek funding from SUPERB. The owner or operator must, however, still receive DHEC pre-approval of the costs associated with remediation. The owner or operator can then seek reimbursement through DHEC’s deferred compensation contract, which will be paid as funds become available.
Owners and operators who face potential liability should also be aware that only certain contractors are certified by DHEC to perform remediation work that can be funded or reimbursed from SUPERB. DHEC regularly updates this list of certified contractors and provides other timely information through a semi-regular newsletter for owners and operators of USTs. View past DHEC newsletters here.