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OIL STORAGE TANKS - home
ABANDONING OIL TANKS
ABOVE GROUND OIL TANK (AST) GUIDE
BURIED OIL TANK (UST) GUIDE
HEATING OIL TYPES & PROPERTIES - home
HOME BUYERS GUIDE TO OIL TANKS
OIL SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE
OIL TANK INSPECTION & TROUBLESHOOTING
OIL TANK LEAKS & SMELLS
OIL TANK PIPING & PIPING DEFECTS
OIL TANK REGULATIONS
OIL TANK REMOVAL COs
OIL TANK SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
OIL TANK LEAK TEST METHODS
OIL TANK TESTING & REMOVAL COs
OIL TANK WATER CONTAMINATION
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.
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To skip our introductory text and go directly to your U.S. State Oil Tank Regulation & Environmental Agency Directory use the state links just below:
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.
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 - 4/25/2006]
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 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.
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.
Contact the Environmental or TSSA office in your province (Canada): [U.S. state regulations are listed below].
List of U.S. State Environmental Regulations & State Offices for Oil Tank and Oil Spill Regulation & Advice
Contact the DEC/DEP/DNR office in your state (U.S.)
U.S. State Oil Tank Regulation & Environmental Agency Directory*
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: law regulating use of a flooded oil burner
(Dec 12, 2012) Arthur Kardos said:
What law is that?
Law of common sense, safety, perhaps.
If an oil burner has been flooded so has the combustion chamber. Just firing up a flooded heating system would be unsafe.
See HEATING EQUIPMENT, FLOOD DAMAGE REPAIR for help in understanding how to return a heating system to safe operation after a flood.
Question: above ground oil storage tank AST inspection frequency
(Aug 29, 2014) rsndy said:
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:
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.
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.
Website: portal.ncdenr.org - Telephone: 877-623-6748
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.
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