Chemical and Petroleum Storage
Items of note:
- The DEC issued a Petroleum Bulk Storage enforcement discretion memorandum on July 8, 2009.
- Read the July 2012 issue of the Tank Bulletin for updated information.
- Use the Petroleum Bulk Storage Registration Worksheet (PDF) (2 page, 32 KB) to assist in fee calculation.
Tanks storing petroleum and hazardous chemicals must meet minimum standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). New York's Hazardous Substances Bulk Storage Program provides guidelines and controls for the storage of many different hazardous chemicals.
Improper handling and storage of petroleum and hazardous chemicals can result in leaks and spills and pose a serious threat to the quality of the environment in New York State. Petroleum, additives and a variety of industrial chemicals have been discovered in many of the State's groundwater supplies. In some wells, only trace quantities have been discovered; in others, levels have exceeded federal and State drinking water standards. Hundreds of drinking water supplies have been closed because of excessive chemical contamination.
Water contamination is only one consequence of poor handling practices. Mismanagement of some substances may pose occupational hazards, present a fire or explosion risk or result in a release of odors or fumes with serious public health and environmental consequences to the neighboring community.
Gasoline, which fuels the millions of automobiles we all drive each day, is highly flammable and can flash violently when ignited. Gasoline and many other hazardous chemicals when inhaled can cause drowsiness, nausea and other adverse health effects.
Once a chemical soaks into the ground, it disperses and may dissolve and contaminate a water supply for many years. Cleanup is often difficult and it is usually expensive.
New York State has approximately 52,000 storage facilities which involve an estimated 125,000 bulk storage tanks. Leaks and spills occur as a result of poor housekeeping, overfilling of tanks, loading and unloading mistakes, and poor maintenance and inspection.
An Ounce of Prevention
When it comes to handling hazardous materials, there is truth in the old saying - "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." For every dollar spent on preventing a spill, many dollars are saved in cleanup cost and damages.
New York State (NYS) prevents leaks and spills at petroleum and chemical storage facilities through the Bulk Storage Program operated by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Bulk Storage Program is based on four (4) laws enacted over the past 20 years. Three (3) are State laws requiring the DEC to develop and enforce standards for storage and handling of petroleum and chemical products and to regulate aboveground and underground tanks storing these products. For summaries on these State regulatory programs, choose from the following topics.
The fourth law is the federal amendment to RCRA (Subtitle I) requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate underground storage tanks (USTs). Under the memorandum of understanding with EPA, DEC assists in the regulation and inspection of 36,000 underground tanks covered by Subtitle I, provides education to tank owners and encourages compliance with federal regulations.
More about Chemical and Petroleum Storage:
- Oil Cleanup Information for Homeowners and Insurance Companies - Oil Cleanup Information for Homeowners and Insurance Companies
- What to Do After a Flood - Underground Motor Fuel Storage Tanks - Measures underground fuel tank owners should take to safely return their system to operation after a flood.
- Regulatory Requirements Due to Hurricane Sandy - Temporary Aboveground Petroleum Bulk Storage Tanks Storing Motor Fuel - Non-stationary petroleum tanks used on a temporary basis to provide motor fuel to vehicles in the NY metropolitan area in response to Hurricane Sandy are not required to be registered under the NYS PBS Program.
- Preparing for Storms/Flooding: Owners of Fuel Oil Tanks - Owners of fuel oil tanks located in flood-prone areas should prepare for storms that could lead to flooding of the tank.
- Guidance for Owners of Petroleum Tanks that Store No. 4 or No. 6 Heating Oil in New York City - Heating oil requirement for certain building owners in New York City to phase-out the use of No.6 and No.4 heating oils
- Forms and Instructions for the Bulk Storage Program - This information is intended to provide facility/tank owners and operators answers to commonly asked questions.
- Chemical Bulk Storage (CBS) Registration and Renewal FAQ's - Chemical Bulk Storage in New York. Frequently asked questions on the regulatory programs and requirements for bulk storage of chemicals in New York State.
- Petroleum Bulk Storage Underground Tank Tightness Testing FAQ's - FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions on New York's Petroleum Bulk Storage Underground Tank Tightness Testing.
- Public Record of Underground Storage Tanks - Federal law requires that states maintain, update, and make available to the public a record of information regarding certain underground storage tanks (USTs). New York State's Public Record of USTs includes the number of facilities with regulated USTs, the number of UST facilities inspected during the reporting period, and the percent of those facilities that were found to be in significant compliance.
- Summaries of Bulk Storage Regulations - Chemical and Petroleum Bulk Storage in New York. Information on the regulatory programs and requirements for bulk storage of petroleum and chemicals in New York State.
- Standards and Practices for Bulk Storage - A partial listing of consensus standards and recommended practices which are applicable to the Chemical Bulk Storage (6 NYCRR Parts 595-599) and Petroleum Bulk Storage (6 NYCRR Parts 612-614) programs in New York State.
- Tank Bulletins for New York State Bulk Storage Program - Information and answers to commonly asked questions for storage tank facility owners and operators.
- Tank Owner and Operator Financial Responsibility Information - Information for tank owners and operators relating to the submission of the State Oil Spill Fund as a financial responsibility mechanism.
- Underground Heating Oil Tanks: A Homeowner's Guide - Even if your heating oil tank is unregulated, you probably know that a leak could be very unfortunate - not only for the environment, but for your pocketbook too.