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​Technical Compendium

Following are frequently-asked questions about storage tanks.

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Act 2/ReleasesWhen must a cleanup be conducted under Chapter 245, and when must it be conducted under Act 2?

A release from a regulated portion of a storage tank system would fall under Chapter 245. A release from an unregulated portion of a storage tank system would fall under Act 2. At an AST facility, once piping leaves the containment structure, it is no longer regulated under Chapter 245. If, for example, piping penetrated a containment structure at an AST facility, and ran underground below the containment structure, any release from that portion of piping would not be regulated under Chapter 245, but under Act 2.

Closure/ RemovalIs there public funding available for the removal of USTs?

An inert material is one that is chemically inactive, a “safe” material that will not contribute to environmental contamination. The Bureau of Waste Management has a list of materials that are considered “Clean Fill.” The Department would consider these to be acceptably “inert” materials. A material that meets the definition of clean fill and is non-shrinking would be acceptable for use in a closure-in-place application. Clean fill, such as sand and clean soil are acceptable if they are compactible. Materials with large “chunks” would leave substantial voids and would, not be considered compactible or non-shrinking.

“Clean Fill” materials will tend to pile into a cone, rather than fill all space available. “Tankcrete” or another flowable concrete are the best materials for closing USTs in place, especially if structural soundness is required.

Expanding foam may be acceptable only if the City Fire Marshal or PA L&I approve its use. To date, the Department is not aware of a City Fire Marshall that has accepted foam material for this application.

Closure/ RemovalWhat does the Department consider an “inert, solid, non-shrinking material” as it relates to the closure-in-place of regulated USTs?

An inert material is one that is chemically inactive, a “safe” material that will not contribute to environmental contamination.  The Bureau of Waste Management has a list of materials that are considered “Clean Fill.”  The Department would consider these to be acceptably “inert” materials.  A material that meets the definition of clean fill and is non-shrinking would be acceptable for use in a closure-in-place application.  Clean fill, such as sand and clean soil are acceptable if they are compactible.  Materials with large “chunks” would leave substantial voids and would, not be considered compactible or non-shrinking. 

 
“Clean Fill” materials will tend to pile into a cone, rather than fill all space available.  “Tankcrete” or another flowable concrete are the best materials for closing USTs in place, especially if structural soundness is required.
 
Expanding foam may be acceptable only if the City Fire Marshal or PA L&I approve its use.  To date, the Department is not aware of a City Fire Marshall that has accepted foam material for this application.
ComplianceIf a DEP certified inspector is unable to verify the construction of a storage tank system component visually or by use of appropriate documentation, how does this affect the Facility's compliance status?

​Any storage tank system attribute that is marked unknown on the inspection report must also be marked as non-compliant.​

ComplianceIf a DEP certified inspector is unable to verify the construction of a storage tank system component visually or by use of appropriate documentation, how does this affect the Facility's compliance status?

Any storage tank system attribute that is marked unknown on the inspection report must also be marked as non-compliant.

ComplianceWhen DEP reviews an inspection report that indicates a violation that was corrected prior to the submission of the inspection report, how does DEP follow up with enforcement?

​Upon receiving a Modification Report (if necessary) or other appropriate documentation of the correction of the violation, DEP will resolve the violation. Whether or not to pursue an enforcement action for the violation is left to the discretion of the appropriate regional office.​

ComplianceWhen DEP reviews an inspection report that indicates a violation that was corrected prior to the submission of the inspection report, how does DEP follow up with enforcement?

Upon receiving a Modification Report (if necessary) or other appropriate documentation of the correction of the violation, DEP will resolve the violation. Whether or not to pursue an enforcement action for the violation is left to the discretion of the appropriate regional office.

ComplianceWhen DEP reviews an inspection report that indicates a violation that was corrected prior to the submission of the inspection report, how does DEP report compliance information to EPA?

​At the time of the inspection, the Facility was non-compliant, so DEP reports non-compliant for the specific violation to EPA.​

ComplianceWhen DEP reviews an inspection report that indicates a violation that was corrected prior to the submission of the inspection report, how does DEP report compliance information to EPA?

At the time of the inspection, the Facility was non-compliant, so DEP reports non-compliant for the specific violation to EPA.

ContainmentIn the secondary and emergency containment requirements for double-walled ASTs, what does it mean that a solenoid valve or antisiphon device is required “if appropriate”?

People are often confused by the phrase "if appropriate". The regulations direct the reader to see PEI RP 200 to determine if a solenoid/antisiphon valve is appropriate. PEI RP 200 says either a solenoid valve or an antisiphon valve should be installed if the maximum product level in the tank is at a higher elevation than the supply piping or the dispensing unit such that, in the event of a leak, head pressure or siphon flow of product in the tank would contribute to product released. PEI RP 800 also clearly states that ASTs should have valves installed to prevent gravity-discharge when the liquid level in a tank is at a higher elevation than the supply piping or loading unit. Block valves should be installed on all AST outlet piping, and located as close as possible to the tank shell. The solenoid/antisiphon valve should be located adjacent to and downstream of the block valve at the tank outlet.

25 Pa. Code 245.612(d)PEI RP 200, PEI RP 800

ContainmentWhat needs to be in place for a double-walled AST to meet emergency and secondary containment requirements.

To meet both emergency and secondary containment requirements, a double-walled AST must be equipped with a spill bucket; an overfill alarm, or prevention device, or monitoring gauge and written shutdown procedure; a block valve on each product line; and a solenoid valve or antisiphon device on each product line, that drops below the maximum liquid level in the tank.

25 Pa. Code 245.612(d), PEI RP 200, PEI RP 800

Corrosion ProtectionAfter a cathodic protection system is repaired, when does the system need to be tested to ensure that it is operating properly?

The Storage Tank Regulations require the cathodic protection system to be tested within 6 months following the repair to ensure that the system is operating properly. Testing may be conducted immediately following the repair, or up to 6 months after the date of the repair, but for an impressed current cathodic protection system, it would be beneficial to allow time for the system to charge, in order to more accurately demonstrate that the cathodic protection system is operating properly.

NACE SP 0285, Section 8.2.1 says: A survey shall be conducted after each cathodic protection system is energized to determine whether it satisfies applicable criteria and operates efficiently. Section 8.2.2.1 of SP 0285 says: All corrosion control systems shall be monitored in accordance with NACE Standard TM0101 to assure effective operation as designed. The system shall be tested to verify its effectiveness after installation and whenever construction or maintenance in the area of the structure occurs.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsIf an emergency generator UST that was exempt because it stored heating oil/fuel oil begins receiving diesel fuel, does it become regulated?  Does the type of diesel fuel matter?

Yes, as soon as the emergency generator UST receives the first delivery of diesel fuel, the heating oil exemption no longer applies, and the tank becomes regulated.

If the tank system contains diesel fuel, the UST is regulated regardless of the type diesel fuel stored. The diesel fuel could be labeled low-sulfur, ultra-low sulfur, dyed, undyed, on-road or off-road as shown on the delivery receipt.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsIs a 1,000-gallon gasoline AST at rental facility or golf course regulated?

The definition of Aboveground Storage Tank in 245.1 specifically excludes tanks of "1,100 gallons or less in capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes...” Noncommercial purposes is defined as, “Motor fuel not for resale.” Generally, a 1,000-gallon gasoline AST at a rental facility or golf course would be considered exempt. However, if the motor fuel is resold at any time, as indicated by a separate fuel charge on a customer’s invoice, the tank would become regulated.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsIs a 1,500-gallon diesel AST connected to an emergency generator regulated? 

The definition of Aboveground Storage Tank in 245.1 states ASTs that are stationary, contain a regulated substance, and are greater than 250 gallons in capacity are regulated unless they meet an exemption.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsIs a UST used as an emergency spill or overflow collection point a regulated tank?

A UST used as an emergency spill or overflow collection point is not necessarily regulated under DEP’s UST regulations. 25 Pa Code, Chapter 245, Section 245.1 contains several exemptions to the definition of a regulated Underground Storage Tank. The relevant exemption states that a regulated underground storage tank is NOT "an emergency spill or overflow containment underground storage tank system that is expeditiously emptied after use."

 
If the tank in question is used only to contain product in the event of a spill or overfill, and it is expeditiously emptied after use, the tank would be exempt from DEP's UST regulations.
If the tank would be used in any planned release manner, such as a holding tank for product during scheduled maintenance activities on a nearby regulated tank or if the tank is not expeditiously emptied after containing the emergency spill or overfill, it would be considered regulated and must be registered with the Department.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsIs an underground tank containing waste oil that is used to fuel a waste oil burner a regulated UST?

If the tank is continuously connected to the waste oil burner, and all of the waste oil is consumed on-site by the waste oil burner, the waste oil qualifies as a substitute for heating oil, in which case, the tank is exempt from regulation under 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 245. The tank is regulated under the Storage Tank Regulations if at any time the tank is disconnected from the waste oil burner, or if any of the waste oil is removed from the tank and taken off-site (i.e. a waste management company pumping out the tank for disposal).

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat are some examples of "residences", with respect to the residential tank exclusion?

Per EPA guidance to the Department, EPA considers homes, apartments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and monasteries/convents to be "residences". Facilities such as prisons, hotels and camps are not considered to be "residences".

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat are some examples of "residences", with respect to the residential tank exclusion?
​Per EPA guidance to the Department, EPA considers homes, apartments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and monasteries/convents to be "residences". Facilities such as prisons, hotels and camps are not considered to be "residences".
Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat conditions must be met for a UST to qualify for the exclusion from the Storage Tank Regulations as a "Farm Tank"?

The definition of Underground Storage Tank in 245.1 specifically excludes” Farm or residential tanks of 1,100 gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes." Farm is defined in 245.1, in pertinent part, as, "Land used for the production for commercial purposes of crops, livestock and livestock products, including the processing or retail marketing of these crops, livestock or livestock products if more than 50% of these processed or merchandized products are produced by the farm operator." In order to qualify for the "Farm Tank" exclusion, the Facility must meet the definition of a "Farm" in 245.1 and the conditions for exclusion under the definition of Underground Storage Tank in 245.1, as listed above.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat conditions must be met for a UST to qualify for the exclusion from the Storage Tank Regulations as a "Farm Tank"?

The definition of Underground Storage Tank in 245.1 specifically excludes ”Farm or residential tanks of 1,100 gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes." Farm is defined in 245.1, in pertinent part, as, "Land used for the production for commercial purposes of crops, livestock and livestock products, including the processing or retail marketing of these crops, livestock or livestock products if more than 50% of these processed or merchandized products are produced by the farm operator." In order to qualify for the "Farm Tank" exclusion, the Facility must meet the definition of a "Farm" in 245.1 and the conditions for exclusion under the definition of Underground Storage Tank in 245.1, as listed above.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat conditions must be met for an AST to qualify for the exclusion from the Storage Tank Regulations as a "Farm Tank"?
The definition of Aboveground Storage Tank in 245.1 specifically excludes tanks "1,100 gallons or less in capacity located on a farm used solely to store or contain substances that are used to facilitate the production of crops, livestock and livestock products on the farm." Farm is defined in 245.1, in pertinent part, as, "Land used for the production for commercial purposes of crops, livestock and livestock products, including the processing or retail marketing of these crops, livestock or livestock products if more than 50% of these processed or merchandized products are produced by the farm operator." In order to qualify for the "Farm Tank" exclusion, the Facility must meet the definition of a "Farm" in 245.1 and the conditions for exclusion under the definition of Aboveground Storage Tank in 245.1, as listed above
Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat if it is a belly tank or an integral tank to the emergency generator?

Emergency generator ASTs that are greater than 1,100 gallons in capacity, are stationary, and contain a motor fuel are regulated regardless of design. The tank could be located above, below, or alongside the emergency generator.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat is a "Pre-Act" tank?

"Pre-Act" tanks are not regulated under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. To be considered a “Pre-Act” tank, a tank must meet the following requirements: The tank must have been empty since before December 22, 1988, and not pose a current or potential threat to human health or the environment. DEP defines "empty" as containing no more than 1" of product. If the tank is a "Pre-Act" tank, it is not regulated by the Division of Storage Tanks and is not subject to 25 PA Code, Chapter 245. Please see the Department’s Guidance titled, “Applicability of Chapter 245.453 to Underground Storage Tank (UST) Systems Closed Prior to the Effective Date of the Federal Regulations” for more information.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat is a flow-through process tank?

According to 40 CFR 280, a tank must meet all of the following conditions to be exempt from regulation under 40 CFR 280 and 25 Pa Code, Chapter 245 as a flow-through process tank. The Tank must: (1) form an integral part of a production process; (2) have a steady, variable, recurring, or intermittent flow of materials through the tank during the operation of the process; and (3) not be used for the storage of materials prior to their introduction into the production process or for the storage of finished products or byproducts from the production process. Flow-through process tanks are excluded from regulation under 40 CFR 280 and 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 245.

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat is considered a residence, in relation to whether a UST system qualifies for exclusion from the regulations as a residential tank?

EPA’s Regulations under 40 CFR part 280 define residential tanks as "tanks located on properties used primarily for dwelling purposes." Based on this definition, EPA considers residential tanks to include those at homes, apartments, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. EPA would not consider tanks on properties such as prisons, hotels and camps to be residential tanks. Note that the residential tank exclusion only applies to USTs of 1,100 gallons or less in capacity that are used to store motor fuel for noncommercial purposes. The Storage Tank Regulations define noncommercial purposes, with respect to motor fuel, as, "motor fuel not for resale."

Exclusions/ ExemptionsWhat types of tanks are excluded from the definition of a UST as being used for “operational purposes”.

The definition of Underground Storage Tank excludes “Equipment or machinery that contains regulated substances for operational purposes such as hydraulic lift tanks and electrical equipment tanks.” Tanks like hydraulic lift tanks and transformer tanks may be excluded from regulation under Chapter 245 if they are part of a closed-loop system in which product is neither delivered or dispensed.

GeneralDoes a property owner need to disclose the presence of USTs prior to selling the property?

If the Tank(s) on the property are regulated under 25 Pa Code, Chapter 245, beginning on October 24, 1988, any person who sells a regulated tank system or a property containing a regulated tank system must notify the purchaser, in writing, of their obligations as the owner of a regulated storage tank system. If the tank system is not regulated under 25 Pa Code, Chapter 245, reporting requirements would be under real estate law. For questions about disclosure of unregulated storage tanks, a realtor or an attorney should be consulted.

GeneralDoes the PA DEP Storage Tanks Program regulate aboveground liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks?
​ The PA DEP Division of Storage Tanks does not regulate LNG tanks because LNG is a petroleum based substance which is cooled to liquid form at approximately -260° Fahrenheit and kept at around 4 psi pressure. LNG would have to be liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.7 psi to be considered a regulated substance under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. Labor & Industry does not regulate the LNG manufacturing process because LNG is not considered a flammable liquid due to the low vapor pressure. They do however, regulate the vessels in which LNG is stored. Storage vessels that are used to store LNG must be registered with L&I and inspected every 3 years by either a L&I inspector or a commissioned insurance inspector. The storage vessel must be constructed to an ASME construction standard. Additionally, fire safety standards such as NFPA 58 should be followed when storing LNG.
GeneralDoes the PA DEP Storage Tanks Program regulate aboveground liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks?

The PA DEP Division of Storage Tanks does not regulate LPG tanks because LPG is a petroleum based substance that vaporizes at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To be stored as a liquid, LPG is pressurized and stored at around 145 psi pressure. LPG would have to be liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.7 psi to be considered a regulated substance under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act.

GeneralIf a Facility has a "dual-use" Tank with two piping runs, in which one piping run is for a regulated use and the other piping run is for a non-regulated use, are both piping runs regulated, or is one exempt from DEP regulations?
If the Tank is regulated, both piping runs are regulated. A regulated UST is defined, in part, as a tank containing a regulated substance and all associated piping. Therefore, corrosion protection and appropriate release detection must be operated and maintained on both the non-regulated use and regulated use piping runs. One concern with exempting the piping for the non-regulated use would be, in the event of a release from the non-regulated piping, the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund may not cover cleanup costs associated with that release.
GeneralIf a property on which regulated tanks are present is purchased, and regulated Tank(s) are not removed, who is responsible for the risks and liability associated with the Tank(s)?

Unless a contract was negotiated between the buyer and the seller, the responsibility, in the event of a release, would be on the "Responsible Party" as defined by 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 245. "A person who is responsible or liable for corrective action under the act. The term includes: the owner or operator of a storage tank; the landowner or occupier; a person who on or after August 5, 1990, knowingly sold, distributed, deposited or filled an underground storage tank regulated by the act which never held a valid registration, with a regulated substance; and a person who on or after August 5, 1990, knowingly sold, distributed, deposited or filled an unregistered aboveground storage tank regulated by the act, with a regulated substance, prior to the discovery of the release." In most cases, the responsibility for violations of the Storage Tank Regulations is placed on the current owner of the regulated Tank(s). However, a release to the environment from the tanks will impact the property, and the landowner may be liable under the Clean Streams Law.

GeneralIf a property owner does not disclose the presence of storage tanks prior to sale, and storage tanks are discovered after the sale of the property, what are the potential consequences for the new owner and the previous owner?

If the tank(s) are regulated under 25 Pa Code, Chapter 245, all of the enforcement and penalty provisions in the Storage Tank Regulations could be applied. If the tank(s) are not regulated under the Storage Tank Regulations, an attorney should be consulted.

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GeneralIs a 1,000 gallon UST containing gasoline at a residence out of which a business is run regulated under Chapter 245?

This depends on the use of the tank. The UST would be exempt if:

  • The gasoline is not being sold from the tank, and
  • The gasoline is used primarily to fuel the owner of the residence’s vehicle for non-business purposes.
If the property at which the tank is located is not used “primarily for dwelling purposes” (more than 50% of its use is for business), fuel is being sold from the tank, or the tank is used primarily to fuel vehicles for business purposes, it would be regulated under 25 Pa Code Chapter 245.

 

GeneralIs emergency venting of the secondary tank of a double-walled AST by “weak-weld” or engineered failure acceptable to DEP?

Some double-walled fire-protected ASTs, constructed to UL 2085 (such as Fire-Guard or Convault) are designed in such a way that overpressurization of the interstice is vented by an engineered failure of the secondary tank shell at the top portion of the tank.

If the AST was constructed according to a contemporary industry standard, this AST emergency venting strategy is acceptable to DEP. Additionally, DEP still considers the outer wall of this AST to provide secondary containment, as well.

GeneralWho is usually held responsible for the cost of Tank inspections, removals and remediation activities, in the event of a change in ownership?

This is a legal question, and an attorney should be consulted. The Department examines every situation individually, but typically addresses these issues with both the current owner and previous owners. In order to avoid questions about the responsibilities of the parties, it is recommended that a prospective buyer contact a reputable environmental consultant who is familiar with Phase I, II, and III site assessments. The environmental consultant can research the history of the property for any potential environmental concerns and contamination (Phase I). The environmental consultant can then conduct soil and groundwater investigations to search for possible contamination (Phase II). If the environmental consultant certifies that no contamination exists, the purchaser will have documentation of that. If the environmental consultant finds contamination, the buyer and seller can negotiate a contract delineating how the cleanup (Phase III) will be addressed.

 

InspectionsAPI 570 requires piping inspections every 10 years.  Often large AST facilities have their piping inspections on different schedules than their Integrity Inspections.  What should IAFs be looking for, regarding piping, while conducting inspections?

IAFs should review documentation from the most recent API 570 inspection, and verify that it has been completed within the time frame for regular integrity inspections (5 years in the case of large ASTs). IAFs should also visually inspect piping at the Facility for corrosion, coating failures, and any other potential concerns.

InspectionsCan a DEP certified inspector use a previous inspection report to verify the construction of a storage tank system component?

While an inspection report is a legal document, and may be acceptable as “other tangible evidence”, as described in the FOI Guidelines, the Department does not recommend this method. If the previous inspection report was incorrect, the inspector submitting the new inspection report will also be incorrect. The inspector is ultimately responsible to verify the accuracy of the information provided in their inspection reports.

InspectionsDo API 570 inspections need to be completed by a DEP certified inspector?

Yes, API 570 inspections must be completed by a DEP certified “IAF”, if they are being conducted on piping associated with a field-constructed AST. API 570 piping inspections meet the Department's definition of an inspection activity. Additionally, completion of or review of a current (within 5 years of the Integrity Inspection for large ASTs) API 570 inspection is part of a complete Integrity Inspection.

25 Pa. Code 245.1, API 570

InspectionsDo UST systems that are empty and registered as Temporarily Out-of-Service need to have Facility Operations Inspections every three years?

​Yes. According to a memo circulated by EPA on February 2, 2011, all UST systems that are not permanently closed or changed to an unregulated use are still regulated underground storage tanks. All regulated underground storage tanks must be inspected between 6 and 12 months after installation, and at least every three years thereafter.

InspectionsHow do I determine what piping is associated with what AST?

Any piping that transports product to or from the regulated AST would be considered a part of that tank system. Often at large AST facilities with extensive piping runs, the piping system is put on its own inspection cycle. If API 570 inspections are conducted every 5 years on the facility’s entire piping, the documentation from the piping inspection may be used by the inspector during integrity inspections of each AST.

InspectionsHow often do API 570 piping inspections need to be completed to be compliant with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 245?

Large, field-constructed ASTs are required to have Integrity Inspections at least every 5 years. To be compliant, the API 570 inspection must have been completed within 5 years of each Integrity Inspection, unless a shorter inspection interval is required because of the condition of the piping.n employee of a Facility, certified or not, cannot conduct inspection activities at the Facility. This violates the Department's conflict of interest regulation. All inspection activities must be conducted by a DEP certified inspector holding the appropriate inspection category for the tank system in question. The piping inspection is considered an "Inspection Activity" as defined in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 245, and must be completed by a DEP certified inspector that has API 570 certification and is not an employee of the company. Therefore, an inspection conducted by an employee of the Facility or by an uncertified individual without the direct onsite supervision of a DEP certified inspector would be invalid.

InspectionsIf, during a Facility Operations Inspection, a DEP certified Inspector observes a violation which is corrected immediately after the inspection, how should the inspector report the compliance status at the Facility?

The inspector should mark the Facility as non-compliant for the violation. Facility Operations Inspections should reflect the conditions at the Facility at the time of the inspection. If the inspector can verify that the violation has been corrected prior to submission of the inspection report, the inspector should attach documentation that the violation has been corrected and/or indicate that the violation has been corrected and explain how it was corrected in the comments section of the inspection report. The Facility, however, remains non-compliant for the original violation.

InspectionsIs a certified inspector able to use API 570 inspection information from API 570 inspections conducted by uncertified facility staff or an uncertified company?

No. An employee of a Facility, certified or not, cannot conduct inspection activities at the Facility. This violates the Department's conflict of interest regulation. All inspection activities must be conducted by a DEP certified inspector holding the appropriate inspection category for the tank system in question. The piping inspection is considered an "Inspection Activity" as defined in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 245, and must be completed by a DEP certified inspector that has API 570 certification and is not an employee of the company. Therefore, an inspection conducted by an employee of the Facility or by an uncertified individual without the direct onsite supervision of a DEP certified inspector would be invalid.

InspectionsIs a Facility Owner/Operator's verbal verification of storage tank system attributes adequate for notation on a Facility Operations Inspection report?

No. The Department certified inspector must verify information reported on the inspection report form through personal observation, or from other sources such as construction documents, certified installer information or other tangible evidence. If the inspector cannot verify the construction of equipment through personal observation or through acceptable documentation, the inspector must mark the Facility non-compliant.Tank owners are required under 25 PA Code, Chapter 245.435 to retain all tank and tank system installation, modification, upgrade, repair, etc. records for the life of the tank system.

InspectionsWhat are some acceptable ways for a Storage Tank Inspector to verify storage tank system components, attributes and construction?

Inspectors can verify construction of storage tank system components by visual inspection, or by review of documentation including, but not limited to, construction documentation, project specifications, as-built drawings, information from certified installers.

InspectionsWhat if a Facility owner was not the original owner of a storage tank system, and does not have all of the installation and modification documentation related to the tank systems at the Facility?

Tank owners are required under 25 PA Code, Chapter 245.435 to retain all tank and tank system installation, modification, upgrade, repair, etc. records for the life of the tank system. If the Facility was purchased and the new owner did not obtain the necessary documentation, the burden is on the new owner to obtain that documentation. Sometimes excavation by PA DEP certified individual with “UMX” certification is needed in order to verify the construction of tank system components, if the owner or past owners did not retain documentation.

Leak DetectionCan the factory-installed vacuum gauge that monitors the interstice of a double-walled tank during transport be used for tank release detection?

No. The factory-installed vacuum gauge is not a permanent method of release detection. These vacuum gauges are designed to monitor the tightness of the tank during transport and not for extended use. Review of the tank manufacturer’s installation instructions will likely show that this gauge must be removed when the tank is installed.

Leak DetectionHow often do interstitial sensors installed in double-walled USTs need to be tested.

Currently, these sensors are not required to be tested at any regular interval. The Department recommends following the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations and/or requirements for periodic testing. (Subject to change upon final rulemaking in 2018)

Leak DetectionHow should an operator respond If their facility is using two methods for tank release detection, and the primary method shows inconclusive of failed test results, but the secondary method shows passing test results?

If a facility is performing multiple methods of tank release detection on their tank system, the operator must evaluate the results of all methods. If an ATG would indicate anything other than a “pass”, the facility must conduct a suspected release investigation. Having too little product or dispensing fuel during testing are common reasons for a failing or invalid ATG test result. If the interstice contains no liquid, this could be documented as the result of a suspected release investigation. Results of all suspected release investigations must be documented and maintained by the facility.

Performing interstitial monitoring that indicates no liquid is present is acceptable. In the example above, the Department would recommend using Interstitial Monitoring as the primary method for tank release detection to avoid the need for frequent suspected release investigations when fuel levels are low.

Leak DetectionIf liquid sensors installed in containment sumps are used for piping release detection, how often do they need to be tested?

For tank systems installed prior to November 10, 2007, if the sump sensors are used only to meet sump check requirements or monthly piping release detection (0.2 gph), the sensors do not need to be tested.  For tank systems installed after November 10, 2007, monthly monitoring of the pipe interstice is required.  If the sump sensors are used to meet monthly piping interstitial monitoring (0.2 gph) only, the sensors do not need to be tested.  In all systems, regardless of the installation date, if the sump sensors are used to meet the continuous large release detection requirement (3 gph), they must be tested annually.  The Facility must keep documentation of the most recent test readily available for inspection. (Subject to change upon final rulemaking in 2018)

Leak DetectionScenario: Consider a double-walled, split-compartment tank with a shared interstice.  One tank compartment contains kerosene, and the other compartment contains heating oil.  Kerosene is found in the interstice. What must be done?

The owner/operator must conduct a suspected release investigation to determine how the regulated substance entered the interstice. If a leak in the regulated compartment is discovered, it must be emptied immediately, and a release must be reported to the Department. The owner/operator then has two options.

  1. Remove the entire tank. While the exempt portion of the tank system is not regulated by the Department, it is not possible to close only one compartment of a compartmented tank, so the entire tank would need to be removed by a DEP certified “UMR”.
  2. If the investigation of the cause of the leak from the regulated compartment determines, to the Department’s satisfaction that continued use of the exempt compartment, with the existing problem with the regulated compartment, will not cause any issues, the regulated compartment may be placed into TOS status for up to one year. After a year has elapsed, the entire tank will need to be removed by a DEP certified “UMR”, as it is a TOS tank that does not meet the performance standards for USTs.
Modification/ MaintenanceDoes taking soil cores in an emergency containment structure to verify containment permeability require the use of a DEP-certified individual?

Yes. The repair of the voids created where the core samples were taken in the emergency containment structure constitutes a Minor Modification. An individual holding “ACVL” certification would be required to provide direct onsite supervision and control of the repairs.

Modification/ MaintenanceDoes the replacement of sump sensors or an Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) probe require a DEP certified Tank Handler?

If no excavation is required, replacing sensors or an ATG probe is a maintenance activity. Even though it is considered a maintenance activity, it is important to ensure that the new sensors or ATG probe are properly installed and that the ATG is properly programmed. Installation of new sensors where they didn't exist before would be a Minor Modification and require the use of a DEP certified individual.

Modification/ MaintenanceHow can weeping rivets, in a riveted AST be repaired?

One method that the Department is aware of to repair weeping rivets is to apply a compatible caulking or epoxy coating over the rivet heads or seams. This repair technique is a recognized method per API 575.

Because this repair affects the tank portion of the system, and may affect the integrity of the tank, it is considered a major modification to the tank system.

The acceptable certification categories to complete the caulking and/or epoxy coating of the rivet heads or seams would be AFMX or TL, with the required modification inspection conducted by an IAF.

The IAF must inspect the areas to be sealed prior to application to ensure the abrasive-blasted areas meet the manufacturers specifications for application. The inspector must also ensure that the rivet coating is mixed, applied, and cured to the manufacturer’s specifications. Verification of the compatibility with the substance stored is the responsibility of the DEP-certified installer (AFMX or TL), as well as the DEP-certified aboveground field-constructed tank inspector (IAF).

The Department does not consider this repair an internal lining system, since it does not coat the entire tank bottom and at least 18” up the shell of the tank so a lining inspection is not required at a 10-year interval, subsequent to the initial modification inspection.

These repairs will need to be inspected at the next scheduled OS integrity inspection, or sooner if rivets begin to show signs of weeping during an IS integrity inspection or monthly maintenance check. API 575 also recommends inspection of these repairs.

Modification/ MaintenanceIs a certified individual required for replacement of a gasket on a bulkhead fitting for an AST?

Yes. The installation of a new gasket on a bulkhead fitting meets the definition of a minor modification. These components are found at the tank shell, and a replacement of the gasket would require disconnecting piping upstream of the first tank control valve. Typically, bulkhead fittings are installed on nonmetallic tanks, so the appropriate certification category to replace the gasket on a bulkhead fitting would be “AMNX”.

Modification/ MaintenanceIs placement of a dispenser a certified activity if the product piping is not connected to it at that time?

While changes in dispenser components are considered a maintenance activity, and do not require a certified individual, complete installations or replacements of an entire dispensing unit is considered a tank handling activity as defined in 245.1, and must be completed by a “UMX” whether or not product piping is connected as part of the activity.

Installation of dispensing units is more involved than simply placing the unit on the island and bolting it down. Failure to properly install a dispenser could cause a release of fuel or an explosion at a facility. Typically, the Department does not regulate components above the shear valve, but the Department is required to interpret the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act liberally in order to fully protect human health and the environment.

Modification/ MaintenanceIs the replacement of a drop tube a Modification or Maintenance activity?

If a drop tube used for vapor recovery (co-axial) or overfill prevention (flapper) is replaced or installed, the activity constitutes a Minor Modification, and must be completed by a DEP certified individual. If a straight drop tube is replaced, and no flapper was present on the existing drop tube or will be present on the replacement, it may constitute a Maintenance activity. Be aware of the risk of perforating the tank bottom when installing the drop tube.

Modification/ MaintenanceIs the replacement of vacuum motors within a dispenser, used for Stage II vapor recovery, a Modification or Maintenance activity?

Replacing dispenser components above the shear valve is considered a maintenance activity and would not require the use of a DEP Certified Installer. If the dispenser needs to be removed and disconnected at the shear valve, the activity would be considered a Minor Modification, and a Certified Individual would be required to conduct or oversee the activity.

Modification/ MaintenanceWhat does the Department mean by “involved prior to the initiation of the project and present at critical times” as it relates to Modification Inspections?

Certified AST inspectors conducting Modification Inspections are required to be involved in the major modification activity prior to initiation of the activity, and present at critical times during the activity so that the inspector can reliably determine that:

  • Industry standards and project specifications were followed throughout the tank handling activity,
  • Appropriate testing and nondestructive examinations were properly conducted, and
  • The tank is suitable for operational service.
Prior to the initiation of the project, Certified AST inspectors should discuss the project specifications, planned testing and nondestructive examinations, and crucial hold points with the owner/operator and the Certified Installer. As stated above, the inspector must be present during critical times to reliably determine that the entire activity was properly completed.

 

Modification/ MaintenanceWhat is the difference between a Major Modification, a Minor Modification and a Maintenance Activity?

A Major Modification is considered any activity to "upgrade, repair, refurbish or restore" any part of or all of an existing tank system that "Alters the design of that storage tank system or storage tank facility", and "May affect the integrity of that storage tank system or storage tank facility." Major modifications include any work directly affecting a storage tank or underground component of the tank system. A Minor Modification is any activity, as above, which does not change the design of the tank system or tank facility, but could affect the integrity of that tank system or tank facility. Maintenance activities are any activity considered normal operational upkeep of a storage tank system and is not a Major or Minor modification. Major and Minor Modifications are considered "Tank Handling Activities" and must be completed by or under the direct onsite supervision of a DEP certified tank installer holding the certification appropriate to the tank system and type of activity.

Modification/ MaintenanceWhat types of tank handling activities or modifications require a Modification Inspection?

​A Major Modification is considered any activity to "upgrade, repair, refurbish or restore" any part of or all of an existing tank system that "Alters the design of that storage tank system or storage tank facility", and "May affect the integrity of that storage tank system or storage tank facility."  Major modifications include any work directly affecting a storage tank or underground component of the tank system. 

A Minor Modification is any activity, as above, which does not change the design of the tank system or tank facility, but could affect the integrity of that tank system or tank facility.

A Maintenance activity is any activity considered normal operational upkeep of a storage tank system and is not a Major or Minor modification. 
Major and Minor Modifications are considered "Tank Handling Activities" and must be completed by or under the direct onsite supervision of a DEP certified Tank installer holding the certification appropriate to the tank system and type of activity.

Operation and MaintenanceIs a droptube required in the fill port of storage tanks, and does it need to be maintained in a good state of repair?

Yes. A droptube is required at the fill port of all petroleum storage tanks, and it must be maintained in a good state of repair.

NFPA 30, API 1615, PEI RP 100, 25 Pa. Code 129.61 (PA DEP Air Quality), and 34 Pa. Code, Chapter 14a (PA L&I) require that the fill pipes of petroleum storage tanks extend to between 4 and 6 inches of the tank bottom. Local Fire Marshall codes may require that the droptube extend closer to the tank bottom.

245.421(4)(i) states, in part, that "tanks and piping shall be properly installed...in accordance with a code of practice developed by a Nationally-recognized association, and in accordance with manufacturer's instructions". This section mentions API 1615 and PEI RP 100.

The Storage Tank regulations under 245.432(c) state, "Required equipment, including line leak detectors, product sensors and probes, dispenser pans, containment sumps, measuring devices (including gauge sticks), gauges, corrosion protection, spill prevention, overfill prevention and other appurtenances whose failure could contribute to a release of product, shall be maintained in a good state of repair to ensure they function as designed." A deteriorating drop tube could "contribute to a release" by allowing the generation of static electricity and causing a fire or explosion, or by breaking off and piercing the bottom of the tank.

Operation and MaintenanceIs it possible for condensation to form in the interstice of a double-walled storage tank?  How should water in the interstice be addressed?

​​The regulations require equipment to function as designed and be maintained in a good state of repair. If the tank was designed to have a dry interstitial space, then the tank interstice should be dry at all times. If a measurable amount of liquid is present, it is considered a suspected release. The suspected release must be investigated within 7 days, and the interstice should be emptied. Suspected release investigations must be documented, and the documentation must be retained in accordance with recordkeeping requirements in 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 245.

Operation and MaintenanceWhat are the requirements for spill bucket/sump testing?

Spill buckets, dispenser pans and sumps on UST systems are to be tested for liquid tightness after their installation, replacement or repair, and prior to use. Periodic testing is not currently required beyond the post-installation/replacement/repair testing. The most recent test record for each Spill bucket, dispenser pan and sump must be maintained and be readily available for review upon request. Testing is also utilized when conducting suspected release investigations. Containment testing is not specifically required for all suspected release investigations, but it is sometimes a necessary procedure to ensure a sufficient investigation is completed, for instance, as a method to verify whether product that leaked from a weeping flex connector into a containment sump was completely contained within the sump and not released to the environment. (Subject to change upon final rulemaking in 2018)

OperatorsIf an employee of a lessee at a UST facility is designated as a Class A, B, or C operator, does the lessee’s company assume responsibility and/or liability for compliance at the facility?

Most citations in the Storage Tank Regulations use the phrase “owners and operators” when describing regulatory requirements. The phrase “owners and operators” means that owners and Class A, B, and C operators share the responsibility for compliance with the Storage Tank Regulations at a UST facility. Many leased facilities have contractual agreements that define the responsibilities of the owner and the operators. The Department does not get involved in these written contractual agreements and may pursue either the owner, the operator or both in enforcement action.

OverfillCan my fuel delivery driver place fuel in my tank without making a tight-fill connection?
No. PA Labor and Industry Regulations state that “Connections for all tank opening shall be liquid tight. Additionally, loose fills are problematic for several reasons, including the following:
  • Depending on the overfill prevention method, a loose fill may bypass the overfill device.
  • A loose fill in a tank with a droptube shutoff device could cause fuel to be sprayed onto the delivery driver and the ground when the flapper valve closes.
OverfillIf a certified Tank Inspector observes an extractor fitting, which suggests the presence of a ball-float overfill prevention device, how does the inspector verify that the ball-float device was actually installed?

The FOI guidance document states that the certified inspector should, “Verify the type of overfill device(s) used in each tank system and verify (to the extent practicable) that they will work properly with the delivery method(s) to the tank.” “The certified inspector must have verifiable proof, not just the owner’s word or self-generated documentation, for the tank attribute information that is supplied on the inspection report form. The inspector must verify information reported on the inspection form through personal observation, or from other sources such as construction documents, certified installer information or other tangible evidence.” The Department does not ask third party inspectors to physically remove overfill prevention devices or any other equipment; however, the Department does require inspectors to verify that the proper equipment is installed either visually or through acceptable documentation, and that the installed equipment is compatible with the delivery method (Ball floats are not compatible with coaxial Stage I Vapor Recovery) (subject to change upon final rulemaking in 2018)

OverfillWhat are some situations in which ball-float vent restrictor valves are not appropriate for use as overfill prevention?
Several setups exist that are not compatible with ball-float vent valves being used for overfill prevention. Some of these are below.
  • Ball Floats should not be used in USTs that receive pressurized product deliveries. Use of a ball float could result in over-pressurization of the UST.
  • Ball Floats should not be used in USTs that are filled from a remote fill point. Overfilling could result in the ball float seating and releasing product from the direct fill point.
  • Ball floats should not be used in systems utilizing a suction pump with an air eliminator. Overfilling of this type of system can result in product being released from the air eliminator.
  • Ball floats should not be used in systems utilizing coaxial stage I vapor recovery. Overfilling of this type of system can result in product being forced into the vapor return line of the delivery truck, and has the potential to cause product to be released.
In 2005, PEI began recommending no longer installing ball floats for overfill prevention (RP100). (Subject to change upon final rulemaking in 2018)

25 Pa. Code 245.421(b)(2), PEI RP 100 

OverfillWhich methods of overfill prevention are compatible with pressurized deliveries?

High-level alarms are commonly used in USTs that receive pressurized deliveries. High-level alarms are compatible with both pressurized fills and gravity fills, allowing the Facility to be flexible with the fill method they utilize.

Certain drop tube shutoff valves are typically designed for use in pressurized fill applications. These drop tube shutoff valves that are designed for use in pressurized applications are designed for ASTs, but certification from the manufacturer stating that they may be used in underground applications may be obtained. Those drop tube shutoff valves that are certified for pressurized fills are not compatible with gravity fills.

Ball floats are never an acceptable form of overfill prevention for tanks receiving pressurized deliveries.

25 Pa. Code 245.421(b)(3), PEI RP 100 

Phase I and Phase IIWhat are Environmental Site Assessments? What are the advantages of having them completed prior to purchasing a storage tank facility?

Prior to purchasing a storage tank Facility, it may be wise to have an environmental site assessment completed by a qualified environmental company. A Phase I site assessment is a determination of the presence of any potential environmental hazards. In the case of Storage Tank Facilities, the purchaser already knows that storage tanks exist on the site. A Phase II site assessment involves a deeper look at the site, which may require sampling, to determine if contamination exists at the site.

Having environmental site assessments conducted prior to the purchase of a property allows the purchaser to be informed about potential environmental threats and existing contamination. It may help in settlement, and could help to protect the purchaser from liability.

ASTM E1527-13

RepairsIf a responsible party acquired ownership of a UST facility fewer than 12 months before a Facility Operations Inspection, how many months of release detection records are required for compliance?

If the tank(s) stored product for the preceding 12 months, then 12 months of release detection records are required for the facility to be compliant with the release detection requirements of the Storage Tank Regulations. The inspector should review any history information available, and provide this information in the comments. The facility, however, would still be considered noncompliant due to a lack of 12 months of release detection records.

RepairsIn the event of a breach of the outer wall of a double-walled Underground Storage Tank, what can be done to correct the breach?

In 2014, the Steel Tank Institute developed SP131, “Standard for Inspection, Repair and Modification of Shop-Fabricated Underground Tanks for Storage of Flammable and Combustible Liquids,” which includes repairs to double-walled USTs. DEP Regulations state that all repairs to USTS, "shall be performed in accordance with a code of practice developed by a Nationally-recognized association or independent testing laboratory." Repairs to regulated USTs must be conducted by or under the direct onsite supervision and control of a Department-certified “UMX”.

25 Pa. Code 245.434, STI SP131

RepairsIn the event of a failure in a jacketed (Act100 or equivalent) UST, what repair options are available?

In 2014, the Steel Tank Institute developed SP131, “Standard for Inspection, Repair and Modification of Shop-Fabricated Underground Tanks for Storage of Flammable and Combustible Liquids,” which includes repairs to double-walled USTs. DEP Regulations state that all repairs to USTS, "shall be performed in accordance with a code of practice developed by a Nationally-recognized association or independent testing laboratory." Repairs to regulated USTs must be conducted by or under the direct onsite supervision and control of a Department-certified “UMX”.

25 Pa. Code 245.434, STI SP131

Reporting and RecordkeepingIf a responsible party acquired ownership of a UST facility fewer than 12 months before a Facility Operations Inspection, how many months of release detection records are required for compliance?

If the tank(s) stored product for the preceding 12 months, then 12 months of release detection records are required for the facility to be compliant with the release detection requirements of the Storage Tank Regulations. The inspector should review any history information available, and provide this information in the comments. The facility, however, would still be considered noncompliant due to a lack of 12 months of release detection records.

Reporting and RecordkeepingWhat are the record-keeping requirements for cathodic protection testing at a UST Facility?

The owner/operator of a regulated UST Facility must have the results of the last two cathodic protection tests readily available to be compliant with the Storage Tank Regulations. The tests shall be performed within 6 months of installation, repair, or upgrade of the cathodic protection system; and at least every 3 years thereafter. If the cathodic protection system was just installed in January, for example, the facility would only need to have one test performed within 6 months of installation, no later than June of the same year, to be compliant. UST Facilities utilizing impressed current Cathodic Protection Systems are required to keep documentation of the most recent three 60-day impressed current cathodic protection system inspection checks, which document, at minimum, the date the system was checked, the system’s functioning status and the current output indicated on the rectifier meter. Additionally, Facilities utilizing impressed current systems or field-installed cathodic protection systems must maintain documentation of the corrosion expert’s original design of the system.

Temporary Out-of-ServiceL&I regulations require owners of a UST that is temporarily out of service (TOS), for more than 3 months to be filled with water.  DEP's regulations prohibit USTs from containing water.  What should a Facility do to be in compliance?

34 Pa. Code 14a.221 (L&I Regulations) is still an enforceable regulation until it is either amended or rescinded. However, L&I agrees with DEP's regulations for TOS tanks and understands DEP's concerns with filling USTs with water (tank and equipment corrosion, possible contamination, contaminated water disposal, ethanol/water issues, etc.). L&I has suggested that a facility owner who is cited under 14a.221 should submit a variance request to the agency enforcing that regulation and refer to the appropriate requirements in 25 Pa. Code 245.451 which require tank owners to keep their TOS tanks empty.

Temporary Out-of-ServiceWhat are some acceptable ways for a Storage Tank Inspector to verify storage tank system components, attributes and construction?

34 Pa. Code 14a.221 (L&I Regulations) is still an enforceable regulation until it is either amended or rescinded.  However, L&I agrees with DEP's regulations for TOS tanks and understands DEP's concerns with filling USTs with water (tank and equipment corrosion, possible contamination, contaminated water disposal, ethanol/water issues, etc.).  L&I has suggested that a facility owner who is cited under 14a.221 should submit a variance request to the agency enforcing that regulation and refer to the appropriate requirements in 25 Pa. Code 245.451 which require tank owners to keep their TOS tanks empty.

TestingIs DEP certification required to conduct leak testing on ASTs?

No. Conducting a leak test on an AST is not considered a "Tank Handling Activity" or an "Inspection Activity" as defined in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 245, and therefore does not require the individual conducting the leak test to hold DEP certification.

Current, valid DEP certification in the “UTT” category is required for tightness testing of UST systems.