Play it Safe
Keeping your farm or other agricultural facility safe and legal is a tricky proposition. Farm storage tank regulations can be confusing at times, because certain tank sizes or types may or may not be subject to certain regulations. Remember, however that farm storage tank regulations exist to keep owners, operators, workers, consumers, and the environment safe and free of toxic emissions and discharges. Therefore these regulations should be followed as closely as possible to prevent damage to personnel and the environment and to avoid penalties and fines.
Allowable Storage Tank Set-Ups
Allowable tank systems for each farm are determined primarily by the size of the particular tank and its distance from buildings pursuant to farm storage tank regulations. Those tanks which are used for flammable or combustible liquid storage must adhere to stringent design specifications which provide protection against fire and explosion due to heat or flame exposure.
Underground storage tanks (USTs) must not be used aboveground. These tanks are designed specifically for underground use. USTs placed aboveground have no counter-balancing force to keep them upright. In additions, USTs do not have the required emergency and atmospheric venting require for aboveground storage tanks (ASTs).
- Elevated, gravity feed tanks
- Suction pump mounted double wall tanks
- Single wall tank with containment dike using a suction pump
- Skid mounted single wall tank with suction pump
Farm Storage Tank Regulations
Farm storage tank regulations require aboveground storage tanks with a capacity greater than 110 gallons and underground storage tanks with a capacity greater than 60 gallons must be installed by a certified storage tank installer or with a storage tank installer’s supervision. Installation plan approval is required before any tank installation or upgrading can be done.
Non-Secondary Containment Tanks
Aboveground storage tanks without secondary containment must have a capacity no greater than 1,100 gallons and must be a minimum of 40 feet away from a public way and from any buildings used for:
- Human occupancy
- Livestock housing
- The storing or repairing of vehicles or machines
- The storing of chemicals, pesticides, or fuels
- Storing of hay or other crops prone to spontaneous combustion
USTs Used for Vehicle Fueling
USTs which are used for vehicle fuel dispensing are subject to strict farm storage tank regulations covering everything from corrosion to leak closure. Failure to follow these regulations will almost certainly result in stiff penalties and fines.
All tanks and pipes must adhere to farm storage tank regulations
- Tanks and pipes must be constructed of non-corrosive material
- Older tanks must be upgraded with an interior lining or cathodic protection
Spill and Overfill Protection
Farm storage tank regulations require than underground storage tanks must:
- Provide approved devices or designs for the prevention of spilling due to transfer hose detachment during fuel transfer to the UST
- Provide approved device to notify or prevent the filling of storage tanks past 95%
Underground tanks with a capacity of greater than 1,100 gallons and all pressurized pipes must have approved leak detection.
Should petroleum tank use be discontinued:
- Said tank must be closed via removal or closure-in-place. Either method must be done under contractor supervision.
- Closure in place must be requested and approval granted.
- Farm storage tank regulations require that USTs with a capacity of 1,100 gallons or more and heating fuel tanks with a capacity of 4,000 gallons or more must have a closure assessment.
Pursuant to the Comm 10 code, wheeled tanks must follow specific design standards for the tank and chassis encompassing:
Abandoned Underground Storage Tank Policy
In some cases, such as the purchase of a farm with existing tanks, abandoned tanks may be present. In such cases, there are specific farm storage tank regulations which must be followed in order to make said tanks safe for personnel and the environment.
Documented UST Closure Before 1971
This old method of tank closure poses significant environmental impact risks due to leakage resulting from a tank void, and the corrosion which could result. Tank integrity may be adversely affected from tank voids as well. These tanks should be emptied of water and filled with sand or removed altogether. Tanks filled with sand or other material or removed from the site must be documented.
Undocumented UST Closure Before 1971
If you have an undocumented Underground storage tank that was filled with water before 1971, you are required to produce documentation that verifies the closing. Farm storage tank regulations also require that you remove the water and fill the tank with sand or remove the tank from the site.
If closure cannot be verified, a site assessment must be made prior to closing the tank.
UST Closure During or After August 1971
After August 1971, tank closure via water filling was discontinued. After August 1971, USTs were required to be filled with inert materials or completely removed.
Undocumented UST Closure before December 22, 1988
Thorough information must be given to the appropriate department as soon as possible including:
- Closure date
- Closure type
- Source information
- Second and third party verification
- Inadequate or otherwise incomplete information requires a site assessment
Common Tank Closure Questions
What tank types and sizes are subject to regulation?
Any USTs that where used for storage of petrochemicals having a flash point of 200°F or less at any point and have a capacity of 60 gallons or more.
Do USTs have to be closed when not used?
A tank not currently in use can be set to temporary closure status. If a tank has 1 inch or more of product or 0.3% of total capacity, corrosion and leak detection maintenance must be continued.
USTs which are closed for more than 3 months require that lines, pumps, manways, and ancillary equipment are capped and secured adequately and vents must be in full, functioning order.
Can tanks be closed by private individuals?
Tank closure requires the supervision of a certified specialist. The process uses special safety precautions and proper documentation, therefore a specialist is required.
Under what circumstances are site assessments required?
All UST sites where the UST is used for commercial fueling, heating fuel tanks of more than 4,000 gallons, and where there is evidence of contamination require site assessments.
Do heating fuel tanks for home usage require site assessments?
Heating fuel tanks with a capacity of less than 4,000 gallons are exempt from assessment.
What exactly is a site assessment?
Soil samples are taken to a lab for contamination testing. The results will decide if further investigation is warranted.
What should be done with contaminated soil?
The appropriate environmental agency must be notified before any site remediation begins.
When property having an inoperative UST is purchase who is responsible for contamination and tank closure?
The individual owning the property at the time of UST non-compliance is the responsible party.
Am I legally bound to provide a lender or real estate agent a site assessment when selling property on which a legal closed tank is present?
Yes. Lenders and real estate agents are not exempt from liability due to contamination.
Unless physical access is not attainable or tank removal will significantly impact a building’s structural integrity, farm storage tank regulations prohibit closure-in-place.
In some cases, closure-in-place may be granted:
- Commercial sites where overhead utilities are a factor
- Transformers or substations are next to or impeding upon the tank
- Safety concerns for workers
- Tanks that encroach on another person or entity’s property
- Tank removal that may cause damage to a building’s foundation
- Inability to access the tank with the required equipment
- Tank removal that would destroy mature trees
Farm storage tank regulations do not allow closure-in-place for:
- Financial reasons
- The presence of underground utilities
- The presence of overhead commercial utilities
- Removing fencing
- Damages to sidewalks, driveways, decks, patios, etc.
- Destruction of landscaping
- Public right-of-way encroachment
At Envirosafe, we are committed to bringing you the most thorough information on storage tanks and all their related issues. We hope that this coverage of farm storage tank regulations has been of help to you.
To learn more about bulk fuel tank regulations, please visit our Fuel Tank Regulations page