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Federal Underground Tank Regulations


EPA's regulations can be found in full on their website.

In 1984, Congress added Subtitle I to the Resource Conservation And Recovery Act requiring the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate underground storage tanks (USTs). The goals of the law are:

  • To prevent leaks and spills;
  • To find leaks and spills;
  • To correct problems created by leaks and spills;
  • To ensure owners and operators are able to pay for spill cleanup;
  • To develop and approve State regulatory program for USTs.

In 1988, EPA passed federal UST regulations (40 CFR 280 and 281) laying out a comprehensive program for the monitoring and upgrading of USTs in the Nation. On July 15, 2015 (effective date of October 13, 2015) these regulations were updated to cover new requirements such as: adding secondary containment for new tanks/piping and the implementation of Operator Training requirements. New York's petroleum bulk storage regulations were based heavily off of these revised federal regulations to better harmonize the requirements between the state and federal level. There are differences between the two sets of regulations, some of which stem from more stringent requirements at the state level. Notable differences are:

The federal regulations cover crude oil and any fraction thereof and provide an exemption for tanks storing heating oil used consumptively on premises and tanks less than 1,100 gallons storing motor fuels at farms and residences. New York's regulations begin at 110 gallons for underground storage, and covers petroleum and petroleum mixtures as defined in 6 NYCRR sections 613-1.3(as & at) without the above exemptions.

  • The federal regulations cover only underground storage tanks. New York's regulations cover aboveground storage tanks as well.
  • The federal regulations require owners/operators to prove financial responsibility.
  • The federal regulations require additional testing and inspection of spill and overfill prevention equipment.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) implements all non-overlapping aspects of the federal program with the exception of enforcement. Violations which exist in the federal regulations, but not in New York's regulations, are reported by DEC to EPA for enforcement.

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