Are you in compliance?
As the July 1 deadline approaches, there are new
developments in the ongoing revision of Vermont's aboveground storage tank regulations. A report last week on WCAX-TV resulted in a flood of phone calls across Vermont inquiring about the status of Vermont’s regulations— which have still not been finalized.
After listening to the concerns of a variety of stakeholders, it appears likely the next and final draft will feature several changes. First, dealer liability will be clarified to ensure tanks get filled even if they aren't 100% in compliance. Second, the term "substantially altered" will be revised to specify the requirements for tanks installed after July 1. Third, the lack of a concrete pad will not require a dealer to refuse to fill a tank. Instead, a pre-existing tank will have to meet the requirement of having a "stable" foundation rather than a "solid" foundation.
Oil customers recently received a letter from us concerning above ground fuel tank regulations. The letter stated that customers have until July 1, 2017 to ensure that their above ground tank is compliant. While that is the compliance date we were given, the specifics are still being worked out. We've been told that certain regulations may be phased in or have a grace period attached. The state is working on the draft and will let us know when it is officially available. Regardless of the timeline, it is our job to ensure all of our customers have a compliant tank. If you have concerns regarding the condition of your tank please contact our office. We can schedule an inspection of your tank and let you know if you need to make upgrades. If your tank appears in good working order you can wait to have it inspected at your next annual cleaning. If you are concerned about the cost of upgrades please let us know. We can help you figure out a plan that will work for you and your budget. We ask that you do not contact the state for financial assistance until you have met with us and we have determined that your tank does indeed need work. Below you can find specific regulations. Most have been in place for some time. We will update this list when new rules are added or changes are made. We are providing the information to ensure customers are informed of the requirements and have time to make necessary upgrades if needed. We will update this information and set out a clear timeline once one is available. In the meantime please do a check of your tank and contact us if you have concerns.
Requirements for Tank Installations
• Shutoff valve must be within 12 inches of the fuel outlet
• Vent line must terminate outside the building
• Vent alarm or “whistle” must terminate near the fill pipe
• Fill pipe and vent must be same size and have a minimum
diameter size of 1-1/4 inches (No Copper or PVC pipes)
• Fill pipe and vent pipe must have a waterproof and insect proof cap
• Tank must have a working gauging device
• Protective sleeves are required for oil lines installed below grade
• Multiple tanks must have separate fill pipes, vent and alarms
• Solid pad is required to prevent settling, tipping, sliding, floating,
or lifting. (Blocks or stone are no longer acceptable)
• Tanks in flood plain must be securely anchored or attached to a
foundation of steel or concrete
• Liquid tight vent piping that extends above the one-hundred year
Conversions to Natural Gas
Vermont law requires a heating fuel tank, fill pipe and vent be removed at the time of conversion to natural gas. Any property owner that fails to follow this law will be liable for any spill.
Types of Tanks
Single wall tanks are allowed but must not be less than 12 gauge in thickness. Fiberglass tanks must be double walled if they are outdoor tanks. Single walled fiberglass are acceptable for indoor tanks. Skid tanks can not be located within 25 feet of a drinking water supply or with 25 of surface water.
Funds for Tank Replacement
The Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF) offers financial assistance to residential tank owners toward the removal, replacement, or upgrade of both underground storage tanks (USTs) and aboveground storage tanks (ASTs). The fund provides grants of up to $2,000 for an indoor tank, up to $3000 for an outdoor tank, and up to $4000 for an underground tank. More information on the tank financial assistance program can be found here. Additionally, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a grant and loan program for seniors that can provide up to $7500 for the purchase of a new tank (or make other HVAC repairs), and for most others, it can provide up to a $20,000 loan (1 percent for up to 20 years).
Concrete Pad- Altered or new tanks only as of 5/25/2017
All tanks, indoor and outdoor, are required to be on a stable foundation such as a concrete pad to prevent the tank from tipping over. All four legs need to be on the same solid foundation, concrete blocks are not allowed. While there is no requirement for thickness, 6 inches of reinforced concrete is recommended. Even flat bottom tanks with no legs are required to be on a solid foundation. A tank located in a flood plain must be securely anchored to the concrete pad. You can determine if a home is in a floodplain by entering the address into the FEMA Map Service Center located here.
If the tank is located at the gable end of the building, a shelter is recommended but not required. If the outdoor tank is not at the gable end, a shelter is required to protect it from falling snow and ice.There is no requirement that the shelter have walls. No shelter is required for Roth tanks which have secondary containment.
Inspection of Tanks
The tank installer must complete an AST Inspection Checklist and review the guidelines with the tank owner. The AST Inspection Checklist can be found on page 17 and 18 of the AST Rules. With prior approval from the Agency of Natural Resources, a checklist designed by a company or a third party can be used. According to the regulations, fuel dealers should inspect a tank prior to the initial delivery using the AST Inspection Checklist. Any problems identified in the inspection which indicate a potential for a fuel release must be corrected before the fuel delivery. The state of Vermont does not collect or review these checklists, unless there is a reported spill. If a fuel dealer completes an AST Inspection Checklist and the consumer refuses to bring their tank into compliance, the fuel dealer is not responsible. However, the regulations say that the fuel dealer must not deliver if there is a potential for a fuel release during the delivery, such as a non working vent alarm.
Reg Tagged Tanks
If you determine that a tank is unsafe and non-compliant, a fuel company should red-tag the tank in the same way a heating service technician can “red tag” a furnace. Red tagging a tank will indicate that the tank is out of compliance and that the fuel dealer declined to fill the tank due to the environmental risk. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources maintains an online database of red tagged tanks. A fuel company is liable for any spill if they fill a red tagged tank.
Fuel from the old tank can not be transferred to the new tank, UNLESS the old tank is in poor condition, leaking, or likely to be leaking. If pumped into a replacement tank, it must be treated with a fuel conditioner. The fuel conditioner must contain the following components; stabilizer (to keep fuel fresh during summer storage), dispersant (to arrest moisture and pre-existing sedimentation), corrosion inhibitor (to protect storage tank and remainder of the fuel system) and metal deactivator (to protect against fuel blackening from contact with yellow metals). Unused fuel in old tanks that is not burned prior to new tank installation or is not treated by a fuel conditioner must be disposed of in accordance with the Vermont Hazardous Waste Management Regulations.
Vermont law requires tanks to be removed during natural gas conversions. In all other instances the tank must be removed if it is out-of-service for more than one year. All piping must be removed as well. Under no circumstance may a disconnected fill pipe be left in place. The person that removes the tank is responsible for removing the fill and vent pipes as well.
Jackman Fuels, Inc
205 Main Street
Vergennes, VT 05491
Phone: 802 877 2661
We are here to help you plan for the future! Let us know if you are thinking of replacing an existing unit or need help budgeting for heating costs.
Aboveground fuel storage tanks:
If you have concerns regarding the condition of your Oil tank please contact our office. We can schedule an inspection of your tank and let you know if you need to make upgrades. If your tank appears in good working order you can wait to have it inspected at your next annual cleaning. You may not apply for financial assistance for tank upgrades until we have inspected your tank. For more information give us a call.
To ensure continued deliveries and service you must keep your account current. Customers with an over 60 day balance should contact our office to discuss a plan to get back on track.