Fuel dealers are required to inspect a tank prior to the initial delivery of fuel to a new customer. Any problems identified during the inspection which indicate a significant risk of a spill must be corrected before the fuel is delivered. The owner of the tank is required to have their tank inspected at least once every three years by a certified tank inspector.
All indoor and outdoor aboveground fuel oil tanks must be on a stable foundation to prevent the tank from tipping over or they can not be filled. The tank must be free-standing, not tilting, with no contact with the ground. On July 1, 2030, all tanks in Vermont — even those installed before 2017— are required to be on a solid concrete pad. Skid tanks can not be located within 25 feet of a drinking water supply or within 25 feet of surface water.
Fuel from an 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. 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 Vermont’s Hazardous Waste Management Regulations.
Vermont law requires the removal of a fuel oil tank, fill pipe and vent if the heating system is converted to natural gas. A property owner that fails to comply may be liable for any spill. In all other instances, the tank and piping must be removed if it is out-of-service for more than one year. Under no circumstance may a disconnected fill pipe be left in place.
If a tank is unsafe to fill, it may be red-tagged and placed out of service. Red tagging a tank will indicate that the tank is not in compliance and poses a risk of leaking or spilling. A fuel dealer is prohibited from filling a red-tagged tank. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources maintains an online database of red-tagged tanks.
The Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF) offers financial assistance to residential tank owners toward the removal, replacement, or upgrade of both aboveground and underground fuel oil storage tanks. Qualified applicants may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 to replace an indoor tank, up to $3,000 for an outdoor tank, and up to $4,000 for an underground tank. Any work that is completed prior to application approval is not eligible for financial assistance from the Petroleum Cleanup Fund.
If you don't qualify for financial assistance from the state of Vermont, you may be eligible for a $250 rebate when replacing a non-compliant tank. Click here for more information.
Heating oil dealers are prohibited from filling a tank
if it fails to meet the following five minimum standards:
1) The tank must be on a stable foundation.
2) It must have a working vent alarm (whistle).
3) Both the fill pipe and the vent pipe must have a minimum diameter of 1-1/4 inch.
4) If below grade or buried in concrete, the fuel line between the tank and the burner must be either plastic coated copper or sleeved.
5) A fuel oil tank can not have leaks, drips, pitting, rust, dents, cracks or corrosion.
Make sure your tank is OK to fill. Contact your heating fuel provider to schedule a tank inspection. Click here to find a service provider in your area.
If you live in Vermont and need to replace your fuel oil tank, there may be help available.