Management of Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Systems

July 1999 - TI#20290
Introduction
Important Terms
Regulatory Drivers
AST System Standards
Spill Plan Requirements
Storing Non-petroleum Products in ASTs
State Programs
For More Information
Document References


Introduction
Aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) are a common sight on most Air Force installations, and may store a variety of fluids and gases, including motor and aviation fuels, lubricating oils, and hazardous products and wastes. Although not regulated under a comprehensive federal program in the same manner as underground storage tanks, ASTs are subject to a number of regulatory provisions at the federal, state, and local levels. All ASTs are potentially subject to regulation under the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) program of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In addition, they may also be subject to regulation under portions of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and other programs. Most ASTs are regulated in a manner that addresses risks associated with sudden and catastrophic discharges of their contents to navigable waters, and with fire and safety issues. In contrast, underground storage tanks (USTs) are regulated, generally at the state level, under federally approved programs that focus on risks associated with chronic releases of products that threaten subsurface water resources.

This fact sheet provides an overview of federal and Air Force AST requirements and guidance. Generally, most ASTs on Air Force installations contain liquid petroleum-derived products, fuels, and waste oils; thus, most of the information presented will pertain to these types of storage tanks. A brief discussion at the end of the fact sheet addresses the requirements for other, less common types of above ground storage tank systems, and the types of products they may contain.


Important Terms
Discharges/Spills - This term includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 112.2).

Navigable Waters of the United States - The waters of the U.S., including the territorial seas (Title 40 CFR 110.1 and 112.2). The term includes:

  • All waters that are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
  • Interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;
  • All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, and wetlands, the use, degradation, or destruction of which would affect or could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:
    • That are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes;
    • From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or
    • That are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;
  • All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as navigable waters under this section;
  • Tributaries of waters identified above, including adjacent wetlands; and
  • Wetlands adjacent to waters identified above.
Oil - Oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with other than dredged spoil (Title 40 CFR 112.2).

On-Shore Facility - Any facility (including but not limited to, motor vehicles and rolling stock) of any kind located in, on, or under any land within the United States, other than submerged land, which is not a transportation related facility (Title 40 CFR 112.2).

Owner/Operator - Any person owning or operating an on-shore facility (Title 40 CFR 112.2).

Sheen - An iridescent appearance on the surface of the water (Title 40 CFR 110.1).

Spill Event - A discharge of oil into or upon the navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining shorelines in harmful quantities as defined in Title 40 CFR Part 110 (Title 40 CFR 112.2).

Sufficiently Impervious - Diked areas must be able to contain spilled oil for at least 72 hours (proposed change to Title 40 CFR 112.8).

Tank - A stationary device designed to contain an accumulation of regulated substances and constructed of non-earthen materials (concrete, steel, plastic) that provide structural support (Title 40 CFR 279.1).

Used Oil - Any oil that has been refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil that has been used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities (Title 40 CFR 279.1).

Used Oil Generator - Any person, by site, whose act or process produces used oil or whose act first causes used oil to become subject to regulation (Title 40 CFR 279.1).


Regulatory Drivers
As mentioned above, there is no comprehensive federal program that regulates ASTs, rather, they are governed by a patchwork of federal environmental laws. The principal law that governs ASTs is the Clean Water Act, however, there are provisions in other laws, such as the hazardous waste storage/treatment tank requirements in RCRA. In addition, states will often administer their own AST requirements promulgated by the state environmental regulatory agency or state fire safety agency.

Federal Requirements
Executive Order (EO) 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Standards, 13 October 1978. This EO requires all federally owned and operated facilities to comply with applicable federal, state, and local pollution control standards.

Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 112, Oil Pollution Prevention. This portion of the CFRs codifies requirements set forth under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1992, as amended by the Clean Water Act (CWA), (33 United States Code [U.S.C.] . 1251, et seq.), and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), (33 U.S.C. . 2701, et seq.). It applies to any on-shore non-transportation (i.e., fixed vs. mobile) AST system that has a capacity of greater than 660 gallons in any single tank, an aggregate aboveground storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons, and the potential to discharge harmful quantities of oil to U.S. navigable waters. Title 40 CFR 112.3 requires an owner or operator of a regulated facility to prepare a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan, which identifies how spills will be prevented, and includes a discussion explaining how the facility complies with guidelines for secondary containment, storm water control, corrosion protection, inspection, testing, warning systems/alarms, security, and worker training contained in other sections of Title 40 CFR Part 112. In certain instances, oil storage facilities may also need to prepare a Facility Response Plan (FRP). FRP requirements are contained in Title 40 CFR 112.20, and provide guidance on the development of detailed response actions should a spill occur. Both SPCCs and FRPs are discussed in further detail below.

Title 40 CFR Part 264 Subpart J, Tank Systems. These requirements cover tanks used to store or treat hazardous wastes and are promulgated under authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Contained within Subpart J are provisions for designing and installing new tank systems or components, assessing the integrity of existing tanks, conducting inspections, responding to leaks or spills, and closing tank systems that are no longer needed.

Title 40 CFR Part 279, Standards for the Management of Used Oil. Specific requirements for the storage of used oil are contained in Title 40 CFR 279.22, Used Oil Storage. ASTs must meet the tank requirements contained in Subpart J, and must also be in "good condition" with no severe rusting, apparent structural defects, or deterioration. In addition, they must be labeled with the words "Used Oil."

Title 29 CFR 1910.106, Flammable and Combustible Liquids. Published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this citation provides design and construction standards for tanks that will hold flammable and combustible liquids. It details materials that must be used in the construction of these tanks; minimum spacing distances between the tanks; criteria for constructing tank supports and foundations; and tank testing requirements that must be met before the tanks can be filled.

Air Force and DoD Requirements
Like the federal AST requirements, Air Force and Department of Defense (DoD) requirements are found in a collection of documents including Air Force Instructions (AFIs), Air Force Manuals (AFMANs), Military Standards (MIL-STDs), Engineering Technical Letters (ETLs), Policy Letters issued by Headquarters agencies, as well as DoD standards and handbooks.

AFI 32-1054, Corrosion Control, 11 May 1994. This Instruction, currently under revision, defines the corrosion control program including cathodic protection of steel fuel storage tanks (above and underground).

AFI 32-7044, Storage Tank Compliance, 25 April 1994. Chapter 3, "Compliance Requirements for Aboveground Storage Tanks," requires installations or facilities with ASTs to comply with all applicable state and local regulations, and obtain all necessary permits (construction, annual renewals, stormwater discharge, etc.). This Air Force Instruction also requires tank managers to maintain a list of all AST locations and characteristics, and to ensure all ASTs are addressed in installation/facility hazardous materials response plans. In addition, storage tank managers must ensure all releases/spills are reported to applicable federal, state, and local regulators and agencies.

AFI 23-201, Fuels Management, 1 October 1996. This manual calls for the appointment of a Fuels Environmental Coordinator to ensure that federal, state, or local regulatory requirements and Air Force policy directives and instructions are followed. In addition, Attachment 10, "Environmental Guidelines," provides specific requirements for the Fuels Management Flight Commander (FMFC) relating to spill prevention and containment, waste fuel management, and leak detection for fuel storage tanks.

AFI 23-204, Organizational Fuel Tanks, 27 April 1994. This AFI provides guidelines and procedures for establishing and operating organizational fuel tanks. It requires that aboveground tanks meet the engineering criteria contained in AFI 32-7044, and establishes the need to protect the fuel in ASTs from misappropriation, contamination, pilferage, and sabotage.

AFMAN 85-5, Maintenance and Operation of Cathodic Protection Systems, February 1982. This manual provides guidance for the maintenance and operation of cathodic protection systems. This Manual will be replaced by MIL-HDBK-1136, scheduled for release by the end of calendar year (CY) 99.

AFMAN 85-16, Maintenance of Petroleum System, August 1981. This manual, currently under revision, governs the maintenance of permanently installed storage and dispensing systems for petroleum and unconventional fuels. Headquarters Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency (HQ AFCESA), the office of primary responsibility (OPR) for AFMAN 85-16, anticipates a mid-2000 release of the document, which will be known as AFMAN 32-1275.

MIL-STD 161, Identification Methods for Bulk Petroleum Products Systems, 1 August 1985. Chapter 4, "General Requirements or Statements," requires all Department of Defense (DoD) petroleum product-containing bulk tanks to be identified with standard colors. This Military Standard assigns a yellow band or series of bands in a distinctive and conspicuous manner for easy recognition purposes. Red is to be used exclusively for fire protection equipment/materials.

Military Handbook (MIL-HDBK) 1022, Petroleum Fuel Facilities, 30 June 1997. This handbook establishes construction standards for all DoD fueling systems, from a simple gas station to an aircraft hydrant fueling system. It also covers systems designed to hold propane, compressed natural gas, and hydrazine.

MIL-HDBK-1004/10, Electrical Engineering Cathodic Protection, 31 January 1990. This handbook establishes design criteria for cathodic protection systems.

ETL 91-6, Cathodic Protection, 3 July 1991. Paragraph 4.b.(4) states that aboveground tanks in contact with the earth and built to present criteria (on an oil-filled sand pad with plastic liner underneath), do not require cathodic protection. All other ferrous tanks in contact with the earth will be cathodically protected. This Engineering Technical Letter also requires that all steel water distribution storage tanks be cathodically protected on the interior. By the end of CY99, this ETL will be superseded by the new MIL-HDBK-1136 and the revised AFI 32-1054.

HQ USAF/CEV, Air Force Guidance for Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting, 10 April 1995. This Memorandum explains Air Force policy regarding Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA) Section 313 TRI reporting. The "Motor Vehicle Maintenance Exemption Applied for Fuels" states that releases associated with the transfer of fuel, and releases from stationary and non-stationary sources of fuel, are exempt for EPCRA 313 reporting. The Air Force interprets this as meaning that releases from bulk storage fuel tanks are exempt from reporting. NOTE: Be careful NOT to confuse EPCRA Section 313 exemptions as also being applicable to Sections 301-304 or 311 and 312 reporting requirements.


AST System Standards
Design and construction standards for AST systems are contained in Title 29 CFR 1910.106, Flammable and Combustible Liquids. This regulation, promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), explains material and fabrication requirements for aboveground storage tanks. Tanks not designed for underground service and not exceeding 2,500-gallon capacity may be used aboveground. Aboveground tank spacing requirements are also provided, along with opening, venting, and emergency relief requirements. This regulation also discusses containment and drainage requirements.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has written several industry consensus standards related to the design, construction, and maintenance of ASTs and their associated piping systems. Some of these standards, which are included by reference in Title 29 CFR 1910.106, include:

  • API Standard 620, Design and Construction of Large, Welded Low-pressure Storage Tanks;
  • API Standard 650, Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage;
  • API Standard 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration and Reconstruction;
  • API Standard 2000, Venting Atmospheric and Low-pressure Storage Tanks;
  • API Recommended Practice (RP) 570, Piping Inspection;
  • API RP 651, Cathodic Protection for Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks;
  • API RP 652, Lining of Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks;
  • API RP 2003, Protection against Ignitions Arising out of Static, Lightning, and Strong Currents; and
  • API Publication 2015, Safe Entry and Cleaning of Petroleum Storage Tanks.
Copies of these standards are available for a fee by contacting API at (202) 682-8000, or by visiting their World Wide Web (WWW) site at http://www.api.org.
Spill Plan Requirements
As mentioned above, installations with AST systems having a capacity of greater than 660 gallons in any single tank, an aggregate aboveground storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons, and the potential to discharge harmful quantities of oil to U.S. navigable waters, are required to prepare a SPCC Plan and may also be required to prepare a FRP. A summary of these plans is presented below, while additional information can be obtained by reviewing the PRO-ACT Fact Sheet Summary of HAZMAT Contingency Plans, Spill Plans, and Emergency Response Plans, available from the PRO-ACT WWW site at http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/pro-act, or by calling PRO-ACT at DSN 240-4214.

SPCC Plan
Installations or facilities that store, transport, or dispose of petroleum products are required to prepare a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan. The Plan shall be a carefully thought-out document prepared with the full approval of management at a level with authority to commit the necessary resources. Each Plan and any amendments must be prepared according to sound engineering practices and must be reviewed and certified by a registered professional engineer. Each SPCC must be reviewed at least once every three years, unless it is for an exempted installation or facility as described in Title 40 CFR 112.1(d). The Plan must also be reviewed and/or amended when there is a material change in the installation or facility design, construction, operation, or maintenance that alters the potential for an oil spill. A copy of the SPCC Plan is required to be available at sites that are normally attended at least eight hours per day where there is a potential for a discharge. In addition, all facility personnel involved in the management of oil must receive training as specified in Title 40 CFR 112.3, 112.5, and 112.7(e)(10).

Title 40 CFR Part 112 requires bulk storage tanks to be provided with a secondary means of containment for the entire contents of the largest single tank, plus sufficient freeboard, usually about 6 inches (document reference 22) to allow for precipitation. Secondary containment usually consists of some combination of dikes, berms, curbs, liners, diversion to retention ponds, impoundments, outer tanks, walls, or other equipment capable of containing the stored liquids (see note below). Drainage of spilled petroleum and rainwater from diked areas must be controlled by a valve that is closed when not in active use. Drainage water that is determined to contain petroleum products in harmful quantities must be treated before discharge. In addition, AST owners are required to perform periodic integrity tank testing and keep a written log of these test results.

Note: A proposed change to Title 40 CFR Part 112, published in Federal Register (FR) 56 FR 204, "Oil Pollution Prevention; Non-Transportation-Related Onshore and Offshore Facilities; Proposed Rules," 22 October 1991, proposes that Section 112.8: Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan Requirements for Onshore Facilities (Excluding Production Facilities), be changed regarding the current Rule's requirement that diked areas be sufficiently impervious to contain spilled oil. The proposed change to Title 40 CFR 112.8(c)(2) clarifies that, in order to be "sufficiently impervious," these diked areas must be able to contain spilled oil for at least 72 hours. A representative of the SPCC Hotline stated that 56 FR 204 has not yet been finalized; however, the EPA is anticipating it will be finalized in September 1999.

Facility Response Plan (FRP)
Non-transportation related on-shore facilities that, because of their location, could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging to navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shoreline are required to develop a FRP. A facility could be expected to cause substantial harm if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • The facility transfers oil over water to or from vessels (ships, boats, etc.) and has a total oil storage capacity greater than or equal to 42,000 gallons; or
  • The facility's total oil storage capacity is greater than or equal to one million gallons and one of the following is true:
    • The facility does not have secondary containment for each AST area large enough to contain the capacity of the largest AST within each storage area plus sufficient freeboard to allow for precipitation;
    • The facility is located at a distance such that discharge from the facility could cause injury to fish and wildlife and sensitive environmental areas;
    • The facility is located at a distance such that a discharge from the facility would shut down a public drinking water intake; or
    • The facility has had a reportable oil spill in an amount greater than or equal to 10,000 gallons within the last five years.
A flow chart provided in Attachment C-I to Title 40 CFR Part 112 contains a decision tree with the above criteria to aid in identifying whether a facility could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment through its discharges.

The EPA Regional Administrator (Regional EPA Office) is the authority who makes substantial harm determinations. He/she may notify an installation or facility that they are exempt from the requirement to prepare and maintain a FRP when documentation confirms that none of the criteria listed above have or will occur. The facility will then complete and maintain the certification form contained in Attachment C-II to Title 40 CFR Part 112.

If a FRP is required, it must follow the format of the model facility-specific response plan included in Appendix F to Title 40 CFR Part 112. The FRP must contain a calculated "worst case" discharge planning volume, as explained in Appendix D to Title 40 CFR Part 112, for emergency planning purposes. The completed FRP must be submitted to the EPA Regional Administrator (Regional EPA Office).


Storing Non-petroleum Products in ASTs
ASTs can be used to store a variety of materials besides petroleum products, including CERCLA hazardous substances as listed in Title 40 CFR 280.12, and used oils governed by Title 40 CFR 279. Many installations use ASTs to store anti-icing/deicing agents and liquid oxygen (LOX), while others may use them for storing hazardous materials (e.g. acids, anhydrous sulfur dioxide, and ammonia) and/or hazardous wastes. General regulatory requirements governing these ASTs are outlined below.

Hazardous Waste Storage
Hazardous wastes are defined in Title 40 CFR Part 261, Identification and Listing of Hazardous Wastes. Installations using ASTs to store hazardous wastes must meet the regulatory requirements of Title 40 CFR Part 265 Subpart J if the installation is classified as a Small or Large Quantity Generator, or Title 40 CFR Part 264 Subpart J if the installation maintains a Treatment, Storage or Disposal (TSD) facility. Contained within Subpart J of both Parts 264 and 265 are provisions for designing and installing new tank systems or components, assessing the integrity of existing tanks, conducting inspections, responding to leaks or spills, and closing tank systems that are no longer needed.

In 1994, the EPA established new air emission regulations for hazardous waste storage tanks subject to the requirements of Subpart J, Title 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265. These new regulations, contained in Subpart CC, Title 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265, specifically govern tanks that hold wastes containing a volatile organic concentration (measured at the point of waste generation) of greater than or equal to 500 parts per million by weight (ppmw). Installations subject to these new provisions must comply with the tank standards contained in Title 40 CFR 264.1084/265.1088, which provide specific air emission control guidance depending on whether the tank has a fixed or floating roof. Other portions of the Subpart CC regulations contain requirements for closed-vent systems and control devices, inspections and monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting.

Flammable and Combustible Liquids Storage
Title 29 CFR 1910.106 governs the storage of flammable and combustible liquids in ASTs.

Flammable liquids are generally defined as those materials with a flashpoint below 100 Fahrenheit (F), and are further categorized as follows:

Class IA - those having a flashpoint below 73 F and a boiling point below 100 F

Class IB - those having a flashpoint below 73 F and a boiling point at or above 100 F

Class IC - those having a flashpoint at or above 73 F and a boiling point below 100 F

Combustible liquids are those with a flashpoint at or above 100 F. Combustible liquids are categorized as Class II or Class III as follows:

Class II - those having a flashpoint at or above 100 F and below 140 F, except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 200 F or higher, the volume of which makes up 99% or more of the total volume of the mixture.

Class IIIA - those having flashpoints at or above 140 F and below 200 F, except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 200 F or higher, the volume of which makes up 99% or more of the total volume of the mixture.

Class IIIB - those having a flashpoint at or above 200 F.

ASTs used for the storage of flammable and combustible liquids must be constructed of steel and are required to have been strength tested in accordance with Title 29 CFR 1910.106(b) before being placed into service.

Flammable and combustible liquids stored in ASTs may also be subject to the Risk Management Program (RMP) provisions of the Clean Air Act. These requirements are found in Title 40 CFR Part 68, Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions, and are triggered when regulated chemicals are stored in excess of certain threshold quantity levels as identified in Title 40 CFR 68.130. Additional information about the RMP can be found in PRO-ACT's Clean Air Act Risk Management Program Fact Sheet.


State Programs
State programs may require registration of all petroleum and hazardous material-containing ASTs. Some states require payment of initial registration fees, and annual fees thereafter. States often differ in their record keeping and release (spill) reporting requirements. Most state inspectors use one of the following national fire codes when checking ASTs:
  • Uniform Fire Code (UFC), Appendix II-F, published by the International Fire Code Institute (IFCI);
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code;
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30A, Automotive and Marine Service Station Code;
  • Building Officials Code Administrators (BOCA) National Fire Prevention Code; and
  • Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Standard Fire Prevention Code.

For More Information...
Headquarters Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency (HQ AFCESA) offers services related to fueling systems. Visit AFCESA's Petroleum, Oils, and Lubricants (POL) WWW site at http://www.afcesa.af.mil/Directorate/ces/Mechanical/POL/POL.htm.

Headquarters Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (HQ AFCEE) provides comprehensive storage tank compliance services, as well as SPCC Plan and FRP development assistance to field units. Visit the AFCEE WWW site at http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil.

The Air Force Institute of ESOH Risk Analysis (AFIERA), offers health and safety-related support services, environmental sampling/analysis protocols, and confined space entry guidance. Access the IERA-ESOH Service Center WWW site at http://sg-www.satx.disa.mil/iera/index.htm.


Document References
  1. Title 29 CFR 1910.106, Flammable and Combustible Liquids
  2. Title 40 CFR 110.1, Discharge of Oil
  3. Title 40 CFR Part 112, Oil Pollution Prevention
  4. Title 40 CFR Part 260, Hazardous Waste Management
  5. Title 40 CFR Part 261, Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste
  6. Title 40 CFR Part 279, Standards for the Management of Used Oil
  7. Title 40 CFR 280.12, Solid Wastes
  8. Title 40 CFR Part 300, National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan
  9. Title 40 CFR Part 311, Worker Protection
  10. 56 Federal Register (FR) 204, Oil Pollution Prevention; Non-Transportation-Related Onshore and Offshore Facilities; Proposed Rules, 22 October 1991
  11. MIL-STD 161F, Notice 2, Identification Methods for Bulk Petroleum Products Systems, 1 August 1985
  12. HQ USAF/CEV, Air Force Guidance for Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting, April 1995
  13. Air Force Instruction (AFI) 23-204, Organizational Fuel Tanks, 27 April 1994
  14. AFI 23-502, Recoverable and Unusable Liquid Petroleum Products, 6 April 1994
  15. AFI 32-4002, Hazardous Material Emergency Planning and Response Program, 1 December 1997
  16. AFI 32-7044, Storage Tank Compliance, 25 April 1994
  17. Engineering Technical Letter (ETL) 91-6, Cathodic Protection, 3 July 1991
  18. Integrated HAZMAT Emergency Response Plans, PRO-ACT Fact Sheet, December 1998
  19. Clean Air Act Risk Management Program, PRO-ACT Fact Sheet, June 1998
  20. Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Information Guide, October 1998, prepared by Region 4, EPA (This Guide contains all the information necessary to develop a compliant SPCC, plus a helpful Question & Answer section.)
  21. FRP and SPCC Inspection Checklist, 8 September 1997, prepared by Region 6, EPA
  22. Aboveground Storage Tanks, P.E. Myers, Chevron Research and Technology, 1997