|ABOVEGROUND PETROLEUM STORAGE TANKS|
CALIFORNIA ABOVEGROUND PETROLEUM STORAGE ACT (APSA)
PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION & COMPLIANCE
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document provides guidance to UPA staff and inspectors, as well as to owners and operators of facilities that may be subject to the requirements of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA). The statutory provisions described in this document contain legally binding requirements. This document does not substitute for those provisions or regulations, nor is it a regulation itself. In the event of a conflict between the discussion in this document and any statute or regulation, this document would not be controlling. Thus, it does not impose legally binding requirements on the State, UPAs or the regulated community, and might not apply to a particular situation based upon certain circumstances. The word “should” as used in this document is intended solely to recommend or suggest, in contrast to “must” or “shall” which are used when restating regulatory requirements. While this guidance document indicates the State’s strongly preferred approach to assure effective implementation of legal requirements, the State retains the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that differ from this guidance where appropriate. Any decisions regarding a particular facility will be made based on the statute. This is a living document and may be revised periodically without public notice. This document will be revised, as necessary, to reflect any relevant future statutory amendments.
This document does not intend to give guidance on the U.S. EPA Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements. Any questions or clarifications on the SPCC program should be directed to the U. S. EPA. website.
An “aboveground storage tank” or “storage tank” means a tank that has the capacity to store 55 gallons or more of petroleum and that is substantially or totally above the surface of the ground.
The minimum tank size used to calculate the storage capacity for a tank facility is 55 gallons.
Storage capacity is the shell or design capacity of the aboveground tank. Shell or design capacity may be greater than the actual amount of petroleum a facility routinely stores in that tank. However, it is the rated design or shell capacity of a tank that must be counted, not the amount of petroleum actually contained.
The aggregate design/shell capacities of all non-transportation related aboveground tanks containing petroleum at the tank facility (owned or operated by the same business or person) with a design/shell capacity equal to or greater than 55 gallons should be added together. If the total aggregate capacity is equal to or greater than 1,320 gallons, the tank facility is likely captured under APSA.
We believe that it is the intent of the legislature that petroleum tanks be regulated as either a UST or an AST. If the tank is permitted or otherwise regulated as a UST, it is considered a UST and is not covered under APSA. If the tank is not permitted or regulated as a UST, then it is covered under APSA.
US EPA excludes from the federal SPCC rule only ‘completely buried’ underground storage tanks (that are compliant with all federal and state UST regulations). If not completely buried, the tank is regulated under the federal SPCC regulations.
6. Is the following description of a tank considered an underground storage tank or is it an aboveground storage tank? The tank’s bottom rests on a single-pour concrete pedestal covered with a stainless steel sheet in such a manner that the tank bottom cannot be visually inspected. The tank is located in an open-vaulted area where no portion of the tank is buried but more than 10 percent of the volume of the tank is located below the common surrounding soil level.
The tank is considered to be an underground storage tank. Pursuant to HSC section 25281, a UST is defined as any one or combination of tanks, including pipes connected thereto, that is used for the storage of hazardous substances and that is substantially or totally beneath the surface of the ground. Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations further defines a UST as being "substantially beneath the surface of the ground" and at least 10 percent of the underground tank system volume (including the volume of any connected piping) is below the ground surface or enclosed below earthen materials. Since more than 10 percent of the total volume stored is below "common surrounding soil level" (grade-level), then the system is considered to be a UST system. Under APSA a tank regulated as a UST cannot be defined as an aboveground storage tank (HSC section 25270.2(a)(5)). Consequently, the tank system would be regulated under chapter 6.7 of the HSC and title 23 of the California Code of Regulations.
Below grade tanks which are considered an ‘underground storage tank’ under 23 CCR and regulated by the UPA as an underground storage tank are exempt from regulation under APSA.
If the hydraulic tank is not an UPA-regulated underground storage tank, and if the hydraulic tanks or containers have a capacity 55 gallons or greater, and the hydraulic oil is a petroleum product, the containers are considered an AST and are regulated under APSA.
Yes, for purposes of the act, a “storage tank” is defined as any aboveground tank or container that has the capacity to store 55 gallons or more of petroleum, except as specified. Therefore, containers of 55-gallons capacity or greater are regulated by APSA.
Under APSA, oil-filled electrical equipment, including, but not limited to, transformers, circuit breakers, and capacitors, are not regulated as ASTs, and therefore not APSA regulated if the oil-filled electrical equipment meets either of the following conditions:
As oil-filled electrical equipment is the only type of oil-filled equipment excluded from APSA regulation, other oil-filled equipment, such as oil-filled manufacturing and operational equipment is regulated as an AST under APSA, provided that each piece of equipment has 55 gallons or greater of petroleum storage capacity. Also note that oil-filled electrical equipment is regulated as “oil-filled operational equipment” under the federal SPCC regulations.
As detailed in relevant EPA SPCC regulations, “oil-filled operational equipment” is equipment that includes an oil storage container (or multiple containers and associated piping intrinsic to the operation of the equipment) in which the oil is present solely to support the function of the apparatus or the device. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
As detailed in relevant EPA SPCC regulations, “oil-filled manufacturing equipment” stores oil only as an ancillary element of performing a mechanical or chemical operation to create or modify an intermediate or finished product. Examples of oil-filled manufacturing equipment may include:
For the purpose of the “oil-filled electrical equipment” defined in HSC section 25270.2(a)(4)(A) and (B), equipment is considered to be in the singular tense and refers to a tank.
Yes, unless it is closed in a specific manner. If an aboveground storage tank is “empty” but will still or can readily be used to store a petroleum product (usually the same product that it previously contained), then this “empty” AST is still considered an AST, and is regulated under APSA. However, if the “empty” AST container meets the federal SPCC rule definition of “permanently closed,” it is not captured under APSA.
“Permanently closed,” as defined in 40 CFR 112.2, refers to containers “for which (1) All liquid and sludge has been removed from each container and connecting line; and (2) All connecting lines and piping have been disconnected from the container and blanked off, all valves (except for ventilation valves) have been closed and locked, and conspicuous signs have been posted on each container stating that it is a permanently closed container and noting the date of closure.”If the AST can and will no longer be used to store a petroleum product, that AST is no longer subject to APSA, but the AST must be completely emptied, cleaned of all petroleum residuals, completely physically disconnected from all petroleum-containing piping, and the tank remarked/labeled appropriately. However, should this tank be used in the future for petroleum, it would become fully regulated again as a petroleum storage tank immediately upon any amount of petroleum being placed into the tank, and all SPCC-related requirements apply at that time.
The SPCC plan should be maintained and updated as necessary to reflect the status of all regulated tanks.
Yes. APSA contains the requirement for SPCC Plans to be prepared and implemented in accordance with part 112 of title 40 of the federal Code of Regulations. The federal SPCC regulations contain requirements for buried piping at an SPCC regulated facility (corrosion protection, inspection whenever uncovered and certain other requirements). However, if the below grade percentage of the portion of the entire AST/underground piping system exceeds 10 percent, the AST/piping system may potentially be regulated as an underground tank system under chapter 6.7 of the HSC, and would therefore be excluded from APSA (but not necessarily federal SPCC rules). Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations further defines a UST as being "substantially beneath the surface of the ground" and at least 10 percent of the underground tank system volume (including the volume of any connected piping) is below the ground surface or enclosed below earthen materials.
Pursuant to the definition of "tank facility," (HSC section 25270.2 (m)), for purposes of the Act, a pipe is integrally related to an aboveground storage tank if the pipe is connected to the tank and meets any of the following:
(1) The pipe is within the dike or containment area.
However, under federal SPCC rules, all petroleum piping within a captured facility is regulated, must be addressed in the SPCC Plan and falls under the requirements for ‘general containment’ per 40 CFR 112.7(c).
Yes. If the piping is related to an aboveground storage tank, as described in section 25270.2 (m), it is captured under APSA. Accordingly, the facility’s SPCC Plan must address the frequent inspection, periodic integrity and leak testing of the piping system as required in 40 CFR 112.7 and 112.8 (and as determined appropriate by the certifying Professional Engineer in consideration of relevant industry standards). While there may be leak detection thresholds or other criteria in the relevant industry standards, there is no regulatory threshold in APSA or federal SPCC rules.
Not as was specified in that former section of APSA. However, APSA contains the requirement for SPCC Plans to be prepared and implemented in accordance with 40 CFR 112. The federal SPCC regulations at 40 CFR 112.7 and 112.8 contain requirements for (and the facility’s SPCC Plan must address) the frequent inspection and periodic integrity testing of aboveground tanks (and containers and oil-filled equipment), and overfill protection/monitoring as determined appropriate by the certifying Professional Engineer in consideration of relevant industry standards.
No, below grade clarifiers are not above ground storage tanks or containers. Clarifiers do not meet the definition of a UST or an AST and therefore are not regulated as a UST or an AST.