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Oil storage tank reguations guide:
This document outlines the basic rules for reporting oil tank leaks and abandoning oil tanks which are no longer to be used. It provides locates and summarizes oil tank abandonment guidelines providing oil tank regulations for all of the U.S. states and for several Canadian provinces, it provides state and national building or environmental code references for abandoning oil tanks including procedures for temporary abandonment and for handling of tanks when converting to other fuels.
In the U.S. some state regulations concerning underground or aboveground oil storage tanks can be a
bit difficult to locate, or in a few cases they are nonexistent. This document collects all of them and includes brief summary comments about
various state oil tank regulation programs. Researchers wanting to compare oil tank regulation and statistics across the U.S. will want to refer to this document.
We also provide links to programs offering financial aid to people lacking the means to pay for abandonment
or removal of residential oil tanks both at a national and at state levels. Programs offering such assistance
are invited to contact us to add their information to this listing.
Oil Leak Reporting Requirements & Oil Tank Registration at Residential Properties
We've been collecting copies of environmental regulations regarding oil storage tanks for U.S. states and Canadian provinces since 1990. Regulations regarding identification, testing, and removal or abandonment of buried tanks vary widely from state to state in the U.S., Canada, and other countries.
This text summarizes oil tank abandonment regulations.
Abandonment (discontinued use) of buried oil or other storage tanks is regulated in most U.S. states as well as in other countries
for safety, to avoid cave-ins, to avoid leaving flammable liquids at a site (a fire hazard),
and also for environmental protection, to avoid leaving heating oil or other stored liquids
in a container which may leak into and contaminate the environment, as well as to assure that if such a tank has already
leaked, the leak will be discovered and properly cleaned-up.
The regulations require that buried oil storage tanks be removed, which leaves a large hole to be filled-in,
or, provided there is no evidence of leakage, a buried oil storage tank can be filled in-place with a solid, inert material.
Filling the tank also keeps the tank from floating up out of the ground in areas of rising water table.
Tanks are filled with sand, concrete, or special foams.
Not only is the oil tank excavated, emptied, cleaned, and inspected for leaks, but also all
fill and vent lines are removed from the tank.
Old oil lines between the tank and building may be
left in place in some jurisdictions, but the lines are capped off.
Above ground oil storage tanks that are to be abandoned may also be regulated, depending on where you live.
NFPA 31(2011) Section 7.12 regulation on removal of above-ground oil-storage tanks and pipes after abandonment requires that tank, fill, vent and supply tubing be disconnected, cleaned and removed from the premises.
An exception is allowed if the unit was converted to an alternate fuel, and the tank is kept for switching back, the tank/pipes must be emptied and purged of vapors, the VENT PIPE must remain intact and open, the fill pipe must be plugged with concrete, and all other pipes and openings capped or sealed. State and local laws vary. - NHFireBear 05/11/2015
In the U.S., federal commercial UST regulations require for sites where more than 1,100 gallons of fuel or heating oil
were stored must also be checked for contamination.
List of Government Contacts for Oil Tank Information & Regulations for Canada
Contact the Environmental or TSSA office in your province (Canada): [U.S. state regulations are listed below].
The Technical Guidelines for Underground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum
Products (March 11, 1995) and the Technical Guidelines for Aboveground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum
Products and Allied Petroleum Products (August 17, 1996) incorporated the Canadian Council of the Minister of
Environment (CCME) Environmental Codes of Practice for USTs and ASTs - not a very helpful website as readers
must "join" to search for regulations--DF
Canadian Provincial Environmental Regulatoins for Oil Tanks: Above Ground and Under Ground
Canadian TSSA Regulations and Explanation of Underground Fuel Storage Tank registration and leak reporting. All underground oil storage tanks were be registered with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) by May 1, 2002 or fuel oil was not be delivered to the tank. Underground tanks with a storage capacity greater than 5 000 litres are to be leak tested annually.
Ontario Canada UST removal: Note: if your underground oil tank must be removed/replaced, in Ontario Canada (and possibly other provinces) the tank must be removed by a licensed expert:
Underground storage tanks in Ontario must be removed by a Licensed Petroleum Contractor who is required to hold a PM2 license.
An environmental assessment (have leaks occurred) is requierd after the buried oil tank has been removed or if the property (tank) owner wishes to apply for a variance to leave the abandoned oil tank in place.
Underground oil storage tanks that were 9 years old or less were to be removed or upgraded by 1 Oct 2009 (presumably an oil tank in this age range that had already been replaced or upgraded or meets current specifications will be acceptable).
Underground oil storage tanks that were 10 to 19 years old were to be removed or upgraded by 1 Oct 2008
Underground oil storage tanks that were 20 to 24 years old were to be removed or upgraded by 1 Oct 2007
Underground oil storage tanks that were 25 years old or older were to be removed or upgraded by 1 Oct 2006
UST Systems: Design, Construction, Installation and Notification, General Operating Requirements, Release Detection (oil tank leak detection), Release Reporting, Investigation, and Confirmation (oil tank leak reporting), Release Response and Corrective Action for UST Systems Containing Petroleum or Hazardous Substances,
Out-of-Service UST Systems and Closure (how oil tanks are abandoned), Financial Responsibility, and Lender Liability. This document includes reference to underground oil storage tank corrosion and anti-corrosive coatings. More about the galvanic scale and corrosion between dissimilar metals is at GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION.
Contact the DEC/DEP/DNR office in your state (U.S.)
Oil Storage Tank Installation, Clearance Distances, Piping Regulations, Codes, Standards
2008 ICC Chapter 13 on Oil Tank Piping [PDF] example as adopted in the New York City Mechanical Code, retrieved 2015/11/26, original source: http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newyorkcity/ Mechanical/PDFs/Chapter%2013_Fuel-Oil%20Piping%20and%20Storage.pdf
NFPA 31, Oil Storage Tank Installation & Piping [PDF] example as adopted by Warren County, VA, retrieved 2015/11/26, original source: http://www.warrencountyva.net/phocadownload/CountyForms/ BI_Dept/NFPA31%20Feul%20Oil%20Piping%20Installation%20and%20%20Testing.pdf
Laughlin, Tim, "Above-Ground Petroleum Storage Tank
Manual & NC Fire Codes With data on NC Gasoline Vapor Recovery &
EPA Spill Plan Information" [PDF], The North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association
7300 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
Web site: www.ncpma.org
Tim Laughlin, PE
Technical Director (2004)
for Storage Tanks UL-142 Steel Aboveground Tanks for Flammable & Combustible Liquids [PDF - workbook] New York City Metro Chapter
Society of Fire Protection Engineers
New York, NY — February 22, 2011 , retrieved 2017/11/26, original source: http://www.sfpemetrony.org/docs/2011-02-22-nfpa-30-tank-storage-workbook.pdf
In the U.S. many state DEP/DEC/DNR (Departments of Environmental Conservation or similar agencies) have programs for registering buried tanks at any site storing more than 1100 gallons of heating oil. The choice of 1,100 gallons was probably chosen by the states in order to exclude the largest common home heating oil storage tank size which is 1,000 gallons.
Requirements for gas (auto fuel), or other fuels may be different. Eventually this concern may spread to smaller residential tanks. The concern is for leaks which contaminate the environment. Tanks located where they may leak into a local waterway or into the water supply are a special environmental concerns. (C)trap DJ Friedman.
Examples of oil tank leak reporting requirements and oil tank registration requirements are given here. Please see specific
regulations by state or country for the details of your locale. Also in many states, such as New York in the U.S., local governments
(such as Long Island in New York) may have enacted specific reporting laws for their region.
Reporting Oil Tanks and Oil Leaks in New York
The NYS Department of Environmental
Conservation, which has regulations similar to those of most U.S. states, has a program requiring the
registration of buried tanks at any site storing
more than 1100 gallons of heating oil. Though specific reporting details may vary, most U.S. states have similar requirements.
Requirements for gas (auto
fuel), or other fuels may be different as well.
Oil Tank registration:
The presence of a buried (or above ground) oil storage tank
at a residential property does not need to be reported to the DEC provided the onsite storage volume is less than 1100 gallons.
Oil Storage Tank Leak Reporting:If a leak is detected at any fuel storage tank, it must be reported to the state Department of Environmental Conservation
within two hours. (State DEC telephone numbers are provided below in this document.) The concern is for leaks which
contaminate the environment. Tanks located where they may leak into a local waterway or into the water supply are a special environmental concern.
Reporting Oil Tanks and Oil Leaks in Maryland
Using a second U.S. state, Maryland, as example,
if soil or groundwater contamination is found during oil tank (or presumably any other) excavation,
the contamination must be reported to Maryland Department of the Environment immediately upon discovery.
Phone number: 410/631-3442 or after hours 410/974-3551. Maryland, like New York, requires that
any residential heating oil storage tank greater than 1,100 gallons in capacity must
be required to be registered with MDE. We add that the choice of 1,100 gallons was probably chosen by the states in order to exclude the largest common home heating oil storage tank size which is 1,000 gallons.
Heating oil tank regulations vary widely in other countries.
According to Project Clean Oslofjord in Norway,
"ninety per cent of the 13,000 buried oil tanks that are registered in Oslo are more than 20 years old,
and 37% more than 40 years old. The danger of leakage is acute.
A new regulation from the Norwegian Ministry of environmental protection that requires maintenance checks
of buried oil tanks applies initially only to tanks over 3,200 liters, namely half of the tanks.
Calculations show that the total number of buried oil tanks in Oslo could be over 35,000.
The Oslo local authority does not have any control with two thirds of these, because they are not registered."
For oil tanks within the regulated size range,
since 1997 owners of such oil storage tanks must have the tanks checked at a
frequency that depends on tank type: single- or double-bottomed steel tanks the first check is after 15 years.
After the initial test, such tanks shall be checked every fifth year.
For less leak-prone fiberglass tanks (glass fibre reinforced polyester) the tanks must be pressure-tested
two years after burial, and afterwards
at 30 years. [http://www.bellona.no/en/environmental_facts_and_info/status_and_field-reports/project_clean_oslofjord/12830.html -
Question: above ground oil storage tank AST inspection frequency
(Aug 29, 2014) rsndy said:
How often do above ground oil storage tanks need to be inspected?
There may be local code requirements - check with your building department or state or provincial department of environmental protection - for oil storage tank inspection or even testing
but I'm not aware of such in general
Your oil supplier will most likely agree that an annual inspection, perhaps performed at annual oil burner service time - makes sense. Inspect for evidence of leaks, damage, rust, piping defects. You may want to include testing for water in the tank and if present or for older tanks include an actual oil tank leak test or metal integrity test (ultrasound for example).
Question: requirement to remove an underground oil tank before closing sale on a New York home?
(Nov 17, 2014) louis pisciotta said:
I am in the process of selling my house in Yonkers, new York, and I was told that I needed to remove my inground oil tank before I go to closing.
Others says just test the tank and even others say just get the soil tested.
Can you advise me what the laws say
It may be profitable to the removal company to remove an oil storage tank regardless of its condition, but it may not be at all necessary.
If the residential oil tank has not leaked - confirmed by appropriate testing - the tank can be abandoned in place - a procedure less costly and less disruptive.
New York does not require the removal of non-leaking oil storage tanks. If the tank leaked, reporting the leak ismandatory and the tank's removal and a cleanup will be required.
Question: water in an underground oil storage tank in North Carolina
(Dec 18, 2014) Anonymous said:
I rent a property with an underground tank that has about 4" of water in it.
A new tank has been delivered but I feel this must be a hazard.
The owner will not deal with it . Do I have recourse? I reside in NC
Water in an oil storage tank can cause recurrent heating system operating problems or loss of heat. It might also indicate that there have been both leaks into or leaks out of an oil tank.
The fact that the tank is no longer in use means that indeed int should be properly and safely abandoned.
See OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE or pass that information on to your building manager if you like.
The owner will need to check with NCDENR, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources about the oil tank abandonment requirements for North Carolina.
The department's policy on underground storage tanks is at - portal.ncdenr.org/web/wm/ust
You may want to speak with someone from the department's Corrective Action Branch. It's possible that the departments UST flood guide will also give some guidance.
In my OPINION an improperly abandoned buried oil tank (such as left empty, partly now filled with water, is at least a collapse hazard that could indeed be dangerous, and of course there may be a need for soil testing or other steps to determine that no oil spill cleanup is needed.
(Feb 9, 2015) Anne said:
Hi ..Was wondering if ontario canada is offering a replacement program for a red tagged oil tank ? Its for a homeowner on a dsability.
(Feb 24, 2015)
Tom Trembley said:
Great resource... thanks so much for putting this together. This is often overlooked here in MA. "By September 30, 2011, you must upgrade your home heating system equipment to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to your furnace.
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Jay Hodgens,P.E., Hodgens Engineering Service, Rapid City, SD 57702. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for assistance with links and references to regulations regarding underground storage tanks as well as comments on other topics. Mr. Hodgens has been licensed as a professional engineer in eight states and has developed over 450 SPCC plans in compliance with reguilations in twelve states. Mr. Hodgens can be reached at 845-496-0494 or in South Dakota at 605-350-4367. His proposed amendments to US EPA 40 CFR part 112 can be read at http://www.hodgens.net/hes/10-07comments.pdf. 4/1/2013. Mr. Hodgens is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
Oil Tank Abandonment Regulations and Procedures for the abandonment of oil storage tanks, from which
some of the above text was paraphrased, are discussed in detail at TANK ABANDONMENT -
"Abandoning Commercial vs. Residential Underground Oil Storage Tanks (UST) - Procedures & Regulations
Thanks to Denise Adjutant, DOIT Web Support Division 271-8173, for New Hampshire oil tank regulations link update 6/22/09 Denise.Adjutant@doit.nh.gov
Canadian oil tank regulations sources include the individual provincial government websites and the Canadian Technical Standards and Safety Authority,
14th Floor, Centre Tower,
3300 Bloor Street West,
M8X 2X4 - http://www.tssa.org/ Contact the Canadian TSSA toll free at 1-877-682-TSSA (8772) or 416-734-3300 for the Toronto area. The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for the delivery of a range of safety services. This includes the administration of Ontario’s Technical Standards & Safety Act, 2000 within various industry sectors and the delivery of safety programs to the public.
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