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Regulatory Information

Stop 05: Storage Tanks

Highlighted Topic:  Underground Storage Tank Regulations

Tour Stop 05

Your facility may have underground storage tanks (USTs) storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances that are subject to federal and state environmental regulations.  An UST is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground.

USTs are regulated as part of the UST Program under RCRA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This program is administered in large part by state and local agencies.

The UST program focuses on prevention of leaks (through requirements such as spill, overfill, and corrosion protection and regular leak detection monitoring and reporting), as well as on proper response should leaks occur. UST requirements are briefly presented in a plain language booklet prepared by EPA, Musts For USTs.  This booklet is available on the web at:

Federal UST requirements apply to USTs storing petroleum or certain hazardous substances defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  However, federal UST requirements do not apply to USTs storing hazardous wastes, which are instead regulated under the hazardous waste requirements of RCRA.

Other Regulatory Issues:

Storage tanks need to be considered part of the chemical inventory and included in your emergency planning and notification process.  Storage tanks are covered by a series of spill prevention and management requirements, including the Spill Prevention Control & Counter Measures Plan (SPCC) required for certain hazardous materials under the Clean Water Act and the Risk Management Plan (RMP) required for certain air toxics under the Clean Air Act.

In addition, tanks can be a source of fugitive air emissions, and need to be evaluated for Clean Air Act coverage.  Tanks that contain volatile organic compounds are particularly subject to regulation.