Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs)
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources began regulating ASTs in 2011, with a goal of reducing the number of releases from ASTs into the environment. Most ASTs in Vermont are home heating tanks. Reducing the number of releases reduces the threat and impact of petroleum products on human health and the environment. It also helps limit liability for the cleanup of uninsured releases to the Petroleum Cleanup Fund.
The current AST Rules came into effect on August 15, 2017.
- State law requires releases from ASTs be reported immediately, as detailed on the Spills Management webpage.
Bulk Facility ASTs
ASTs at bulk facilities must be registered with the state using the registration form. Additionally, ASTs at bulk facilities may be required to have a permit issued by the Division of Fire Safety of the Department of Public Safety. For more information, check with their regional or main office.
“Bulk storage tank facility” means any facility:
(1) that stores heating fuel or motor fuel in an aboveground tank and the principle purpose of the storage is:
(A) in the case of heating fuel, for distribution to consumer homes, and
(B) in the case of motor fuel, for distribution to a person for sale to consumers;
(2) with a total storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons; and
(3) that is stationary and located at a fixed location.
“Bulk storage tank” means any aboveground petroleum storage tank at a facility required to have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan pursuant to 40 CFR § 112.
ASTs for Heating
One of the major components of the AST Rules is the requirement that all ASTs be inspected. Inspections can identify problems that lead to a release before the release happens. After an AST is inspected, the inspector must provide the tank owner with a copy of the inspection checklist within two business days of the date of inspection. The Rules require inspections in the following instances:
- At least every three years. See the routine checklist for more information.
- Before the first fill, to ensure the installation meets regulatory standards. See the new installation checklist for more information.
- Immediately after the first fill, to confirm there are no leaks. See the first fill checklist for more information.
- Before a supplier can fill the tank of a new customer, to confirm the supplier is aware of any system variations. See the new customer checklist for more information.
A tank system that is deficient in any one of five items must have a “Do Not Fill” tag affixed to the tank. This is also referred to as a “red-tag.” Instances that would result in a red-tag include the following:
- Unstable foundation. Releases from tanks that tip-over or sink into the ground are very common! If a tank is leaning, sinking into the ground, or resting on the ground it must be red-tagged, and be re-installed on a stable foundation, a concrete pad is recommended for existing tanks and is required for new tank installation, before it can be filled via delivery truck.
- Fill and/or vent pipe is too narrow. These pipes should both be at least 1¼”. Narrower pipes could lead to pressurization of the system, weakening the system and leading to releases.
- No vent alarm. A vent alarm “whistles” during delivery, letting the delivery driver know that there is a connected tank with room for the oil they are delivering. Without the vent alarm a driver has no guarantee that an indoor tank is even connected. Additionally, the driver must guess when to shut off the flow, and an incorrect guess can result in a release.
- Buried fuel lines are not protected from contact with soil/concrete. Some installations have the copper line from the tank to the appliance installed underground. If these lines are bare copper, they will eventually corrode and result in a fuel leak that is underground – hard to discover and costly to cleanup!
- General poor tank condition. Inspections that find a tank with cracks, bulges, active leaks, or excessive rust will result in a red-tag being placed on the tank.
Inspectors are required to notify the State of any red-tags for posting on our Red-Tag webpage. This list enables any fuel supplier to know if a new customer’s system has any deficiencies. In order to get a tank system removed from the red-tag list, a tank owner or inspector must contact the Tanks program via phone or email with the following information:
- Name and address of customer
- What work was done to bring the tank back into compliance
- Who did the work
- Who conducted the inspection
If you made less than $65,000 in the previous tax year, you may be eligible to receive assistance for replacement of an AST. See the Residential Heating Oil Tank Removal/Replacement Financial Assistance Program webpage for more information.