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Regulation of Chemical Tanks


In 1986, the Legislature passed two State laws for protecting public health, safety and the environment. One law, Article 37 of the Environmental Conservation Law requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to regulate all substances covered by the Federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and Federal Toxic Substances Control Act (FTSCA). DEC may also regulate other chemicals known to be hazardous.

A second law, which is entitled Article 40, Hazardous Substances Bulk Storage Act, regulates the sale, storage and handling of hazardous substances. These State laws were among the first of their kind in the Nation designed to prevent chemical spills and leaks.

The Department has enacted Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations (6NYCRR Parts 595-599) which set forth rules as follows:

  • Over 1,000 substances are listed;
  • Requirements for release reporting, response and corrective action are outlined;
  • Chemical manufacturers/distributors must supply their buyers with guidance on proper storage and handling of chemicals and to file the guidance with DEC;
  • New storage equipment (tanks, pipes, transfer stations and associated equipment) must meet State standards;
  • Tanks and pipes must be tested and inspected for soundness;

Important past due deadlines are:

  • By August 11, 1996, owners were required to develop and keep up-to-date a plan for spill prevention. This is called a spill prevention report or "SPR."
  • By December 22, 1998 underground tanks and piping systems were required to be replaced with double-walled walled systems.
  • By December 22, 1999 aboveground tanks and transfer stations were required to have secondary containment and be upgraded to meet State standards.
  • By December 22, 1999 non-stationary tanks were required to be stored in dedicated areas with spill containment.

The transfer of hazardous substances is prohibited if the facility is unregistered or where the manufacturer/distributor fails to provide buyers with recommended practices and guidance on proper methods for storage and handling of such substances.

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