(1) After March 31, 2003, except as provided in (9) , a person may not place a regulated substance in, dispense a regulated substance from, or otherwise operate an underground storage tank system unless the owner or operator has a valid operating permit and an operating tag for the system.
(2) The department shall issue an operating permit when the owner or operator has filed with the department an inspection report signed by a licensed compliance inspector and the department determines, on the basis of the inspection report and other relevant information, that the operation and maintenance of the underground storage tank systems at that facility are not in significant noncompliance with Title 75, chapter 11, part 5, MCA, or rules adopted thereunder, on the date of the inspection. The department may issue and renew permits for tanks that are in significant noncompliance with applicable requirements. The department may take enforcement actions, including actions for penalties, and may pursue any other remedy available to the department to address noncompliance with statutes, rules, permits, or orders issued pursuant to this chapter.
(3) If a filed inspection report contains substantive errors or inconsistencies, the department may, before determining whether to issue an operating permit, correct the report based on available information, require the inspector to provide additional information or require the owner or operator to obtain a follow-up inspection.
(4) An operating permit must be issued for three years.
(5) The department shall issue an operating tag for each underground storage tank for which the department has issued an operating permit as described in (2) and (4) . The operating tag must be visibly affixed by the owner or operator to each tank’s fill pipe or to another visible part of the tank if affixing the tag to the fill pipe is impracticable. If an operating permit is revoked, the owner or operator must remove each operating tag and return it to the department within 30 days of receipt of revocation.
(6) The department may suspend, revoke, or determine not to renew an operating permit and tag issued under this rule upon its finding that there is substantial evidence that:
(a) the underground storage tank system for which the permit was issued is in significant noncompliance with Title 75, chapter 11, part 5, MCA, or with rules, permits or orders issued pursuant to Title 75, chapter 11, part 5, MCA;
(b) the permittee committed fraud or deceit in applying for the operating permit; or
(c) the operating permit was issued in error.
(7) Except as provided in (8) , the department shall suspend or revoke an operating permit and tag issued under this rule according to the provisions of 75-11-512, MCA.
(8) If the department determines that noncompliance with Title 75, chapter 11, part 5, MCA, or rules adopted thereunder, poses an immediate or substantial threat to the public health, safety, or environment, it may immediately revoke the operating permit and tag. A permittee whose operating permit and tag have been revoked in accordance with this rule may request a hearing before the department. The department shall schedule a hearing within ten days of the request for hearing.
(9) For the first 45 days after an operating permit expires, an UST is considered not operating if no regulated substance is deposited into or dispensed from the system.