Storage tanks can be portable, underground or aboveground and can range in size from 5 gallons to 5 million gallons.  Each one can present unique challenges and require the upmost care to ensure there are no leakage or spills into the environment. and then expand each section to find out more…

A leak, even a small one can be quite costly to clean up depending on how long it has been leaking without the owner/operators knowledge. 

Take a look at the table below to see the effects of a leak and ask yourself, how much risk is my organization willing to carry?

A UST system is the underground storage tank, including underground piping connected to the tank, that has at least 10% of its combined volume underground.

UST Systems Overview

  • Tanks can hold up to 50,000 gallons.
  • Can be made of steel, steel clad, or fiberglass
  • UST systems are well suited for long-term storage of fuel
  • Stability of temperature/humidity of the product and tank
  • Decrease in condensation and Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC)
  • Saves on physical space in some space restricted applications.
  • UST systems are regulated by the EPA through state environmental programs that specify requirements for maintaining operations.
  • Requirements for USTs include ensuring the UST is properly installed, maintained, inspected, and closed to prevent discharge of hazardous substances into the environment and eventually into our water supply.
  • Additionally, owner/operators must also meet financial responsibility regulations to ensure that there are funds available to maintain the systems as well as pay for any cleanup required due to a release from the UST environment.

UST Systems Requirements

  • Release Prevention
  • Owners and Operators (O/O) are required to properly install UST systems and protect their USTs from spills, overfills, and corrosion and require correct filling practices to be followed.
  • Owners and Operators (O/O) are required to report the existence of new UST systems, suspected releases, UST system closures, and keep records of operation and maintenance.
  • Release Detection
  • Corrosion Protection (CP)
  • Monthly and Annual Operator Walkthrough Inspections
  • Overfill Prevention Inspections
  • Spill Prevention Inspections
  • Release Detection Equipment Testing
  • State Delivery Prohibition Programs*

AST systems consists of an aboveground storage tank, including aboveground piping connected to the tank, where no more than 10% of its combined volume can be underground.

AST Systems Overview

  • Can be made of steel, steel clad, or fiberglass.
  • Can be installed horizontally or vertically.
  • Tanks can be in excess of 20,000,000 gallons.
  • Well suited for large amounts of fuel/oil.
  • AST systems can have challenges when it comes to long-term storage of fuel in that they experience greater swings in temperature and humidity which can be a factor in degradation, bacterial/algae growth, and MIC.
  • AST systems are installed aboveground which takes more physical space but allows for a more complete physical inspection.

AST Systems Requirements

Regulations vary by state and there is increased state legislation to tighten up regulations on aboveground storage tanks/bulk storage containers to prevent release of substances into the environment.

While there is no uniform federal program as there is with USTs.  All AST systems are regulated by the EPA through 40 CFR 112 and are classified as a bulk storage container rather than aboveground storage tank. Some facilities may be subject to the U.S. EPA Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Regulations contained in 40 CFR 112.

More and more states are developing regulations through their environmental quality division to address the lack of uniform standards.  Most rely heavily on industry standards like those from the Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association (STI/SPFA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). They set the standards for all aboveground/bulk storage containers and have programs set for construction, testing, inspection, and repair. Both of these programs are referenced by the EPA and meet the intent of 40 CFR 112 and are dependent on the tank itself; they are the STI SP001 or the API 653 inspections.

STI/SPFA SP001 (STI SP001) — Standard for the Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks.

This standard focuses primarily on inspection of welded, metal, shop-fabricated and small field-erected tanks. Also included is the inspection of smaller, portable containers such as 55-gallon drums, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and other such containers that may be of metal or plastic construction.

Go to the STI website for more information on the SP001 standard

API Standard 653 (API-653)–Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction

API-653 covers steel storage tanks built to design specifications in the API 650 standard. This standard is typically used to establish an integrity testing program for field-erected tanks that are typically 30 feet in diameter or greater.

Go to the API website for more information on their standards.

There are viable solutions for addressing fuel storage issues…

Fuel Services Group uses a blended approach to maintaining fuel quality and fuel storage tanks that is contained within our comprehensive fuel and tank maintenance program. Our program is specifically designed to target every portion of your fuel and storage tank that will cause risk to your organization and increase your ROI.   

State Delivery Prohibition Programs

This consists of either the Red Tag Program or the Green Tag Program.

Prohibit product delivery to the UST for one or more violations.

States using the Red Tag Program include:

WA, ID, NV, CA, AZ, UT, WY, CO, NM, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, LA, AR, MO, IA, MN, WI, IL, MS, AL, TN, KY, IN, OH, MI, WV, VA, SC, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, HI, AK, PR, VI, and Guam.

Identify the tanks that are eligible for product delivery to the UST.

States using the Green Tag Program include:

OR, MT, TX, GA, FL, NC, DC, and PA

American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands have no program.