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above ground storage tank3Considering purchasing an above ground storage tank, or AST, for your New York business? Understanding the official regulations before you make any decisions will enable you to make the most appropriate and cost-effective choices. But it’s more complex than you might think. Consulting a professional environmental engineering firm can help you navigate this process so you don’t overlook something important, waste time or money.  If Under Ground Storage Tank Regulations in New York interest you more then click the link above.

Above ground storage tank regulations aren’t simply another government run-around. Just one gallon of a spilled toxic chemical can contaminate as much as a million gallons of water. The results could be devastating. And long-lasting. Regulations are designed to ensure safety and security, for people and the environment.

So who’s in charge, anyway?

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has developed regulations that pertain to any above ground storage tank that holds 660 gallons or more, or multiple tanks totaling at least 1320 gallons. These rules are known as the Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure standards, and they cover everything to tank design and construction materials and methods to installation.

States handle regulatory oversight. InNew York, that’s the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which governs petroleum bulk storage of 1100 or more gallons or tanks containing 185 gallons or more or any officially designated hazardous substance. For petroleum storage, rules also vary depending on whether you sell the product retail or store it strictly for internal use.

Note that some municipalities prohibit using ASTs for certain purposes, although that’s less and less common these days.

What are the regulations all about?

Depending on your location and planned use, an above ground storage tank doesn’t necessarily require a fire rating. But whatever size and style you select, you will have to install it on a sturdy pad or footing. Secondary containment is also required, so if your tank doesn’t have double-wall construction, you’ll need to construct a dike around it.

And just so you’re aware from the beginning, if you ever need to decommission or remove the tank, there’s a set of regulations for that as well.

Regulations apply to your entire above ground storage tank system, not just the tank itself. All components must be constructed of materials compatible with the product you plan to store. That means their physical characteristics must be able to resist abrasion, temperature extremes, vibration and other conditions that might accelerate wear and deterioration.

Every tank and fill port must be properly labeled in accordance with common standards,  so there’s no confusion about what chemicals are present in the tank or moving through the system.

And you have to register your tank with the appropriate agency – NYSDEC or your County health department if you’re outside New York City. This is true even if the tank has been provided by your automotive fluids distributor. If it’s under your control, it’s your responsibility. So post your permit in a prominent location.

You have to monitor your set-up, with:

  • Daily measurement and reconciliation of the contents, and documentation of any unexplained losses.
  • Monthly cathodic protection documentation, especially important because corrosion can cause leakage. You should also visually inspect your tank and associated fittings to ensure your cathodic protection is working properly.
  • Monthly release detection reporting.

An official inspector is likely to visit you once a year, and they’ll want to see your records as well as your equipment. If they determine you’re out of compliance, they can issue a Notice of Violations for which you could owe fines or other penalties. Unregistered tank finds can be as high as $1000 per day; other infractions can range up to $10,000 per tank.

The smarter and easier to know and comply with the regulations governing your above ground storage tank. And you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing your tank and its surroundings are safe and secure.  We love being your resource for your environmental engineering needs.

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