|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.
The owner or operator of a tank facility that is required to prepare and implement an SPCC Plan pursuant to the Act is required by HSC 25270.4.5(a) to perform periodic inspections of storage tanks containing petroleum to determine compliance with 40 CFR 112. There is no specific requirement in the Act for a subject tank facility to conduct a specific, separate 40 CFR 112 compliance inspection. There are several requirements within the 40 CFR 112 SPCC rules for conducting inspections of storage tanks, containers, containment areas, piping, accumulated water discharge, etc. Provided that a tank facility’s SPCC Plan is complete, the facility is properly implementing their SPCC Plan and conducting all of the inspections required by 40 CFR 112 and as described in their SPCC Plan, the tank facility would meet the HSC 25270.4.5(a) requirement to perform periodic inspections of storage tanks containing petroleum to determine compliance with 40 CFR 112.
The frequency of these various inspections is not specified in the SPCC rule – just that they be frequent (or periodic or routine, etc.). The facility (and/or the reviewing/certifying Professional Engineer) must determine the appropriate frequency (in consideration of relevant industry standards).
The owner or operator of a tank facility that is exempt, pursuant to the Act (HSC 25270.4.5(b)), from the preparation and implementation of an SPCC Plan are required to conduct a daily visual inspection of any storage tank storing petroleum.
No, not unless the certifying PE and/or the relevant industry standards or best management practices recommend a daily frequency. The requirement to conduct daily visual inspections of petroleum tanks is a condition of an APSA exemption, which is only required at a tank facility that is a farm, nursery, logging site, or construction site and if that facility meets specific criteria to be exempted. If the unattended facility is a farm, nursery, logging or construction site, the fact that the facility is unattended does not eliminate the obligation of the owner or operator to ensure these visual inspections are conducted daily, which is required in order for the facility to be exempted. Therefore, in this case, the exemption would not apply if the daily visual inspections cannot be feasibly conducted, in which case the tank facility is subject to the ASPA requirements to prepare and implement an SPCC plan.
Tank facilities with 10,000 gallons or more of petroleum will be inspected by the UPA at least once every three years. Tank facilities that have less than 10,000 gallons of petroleum may be inspected periodically. A tank facility should confirm with its UPA to determine the exact inspection frequency.
A tank facility inspection may include visual inspection of the tanks, piping, and secondary containment; review of inspection and integrity testing records of the tanks, valves, piping, and instrumentation; inspection of petroleum handling and transfer areas; inspection of petroleum loading/unloading areas; interviews of personnel, and verification of any other requirements listed in 40 CFR 112 for the preparation and implementation of the SPCC plan.
The California statute governing aboveground petroleum storage is codified in HSC, division 20, chapter 6.67, section 27270.4.5(a), which requires owners or operators of tank facilities to prepare an SPCC Plan and conduct inspections in accordance with part 112 of subchapter D of chapter I of title 40, of the Code of Federal Regulations. The UPA inspector should cite the appropriate section from chapter 6.67 of HSC and the subsection of part 112 of CFR by reference when necessary to capture appropriate detail.
The UPAs are not required to inspect the tank facilities that meet the criteria for exemption. However, the UPA may conduct an inspection and the owner or operator of the exempted facility shall allow the UPA to conduct a periodic inspection of the tank facility as a condition of the exemption.
According to the SWRCB, APSA-related facility records and inspection records no longer exist. However, Cal/EPA encourages the UPAs to contact their respective Regional Boards and request that they forward any and all APSA related facility information, including inspection records. The SWRCB has contacted the Regional Boards to obtain files (facility records, inspection reports, etc.) related to aboveground storage tanks. Many of the Regional Boards indicated that they do not have records that would be useful.
Yes, the UPAs are required to inspect each storage tank or a representative sampling of the storage tanks at each tank facility with an aggregate storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or more of petroleum.
Bulk storage containers (such as storage tanks and portable containers such as drums and totes) are required by 40 CFR 112.8(c)(6) to be routinely integrity tested of a type/method and at a frequency in consideration of relevant industry standards – considering the size and type of tank or container, installation, etc. Depending upon the industry standard and the type of testing stated in the standard, integrity testing could range from a monthly and annual visual inspection by trained facility personnel (which essentially are the same as the frequent inspections required by the rule) to a very detailed series of physical tests (such as acoustic, ultrasonic, radiographic, etc.) of tank exterior and interiors by an industry standard-certified outside inspector every two years to every 20 years (depending upon the tank, conditions, etc.). The federal SPCC rule leaves the type and frequency of these integrity tests to the facility and/or the Professional Engineer reviewing/certifying the SPCC Plan. The type and frequency of the tests, and the qualifications of the personnel conducting the tests, must be described in the SPCC Plan. Records of integrity testing must be kept for at least three years, with a copy of the last test kept on file for comparison purposes regardless of when the previous test was performed.