Vermontʼs Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) rules were first adopted in 2011. These rules regulate the design and installation of heating oil and kerosene tanks. They also provide spill prevention and inspection requirements for both tank owners and fuel suppliers. An updated version of these regulations went into effect on August 15, 2017.  The revised rule clarifies when a fuel dealer must red-tag a tank and when tanks need to be inspected.

Vermont law requires aboveground heating oil and kerosene storage tanks to be inspected at least once every three years. These inspection requirements are designed to ensure tanks are safe to fill.

Here are the five keys to tank compliance:

1) A fuel oil tank can not be filled if it has leaks, drips, pitting, rust, dents, cracks or corrosion.

2) The tank must be on a stable foundation.

3) If the fuel line between the tank and the burner is below grade, it must be either plastic coated copper or sleeved.  

4) All tanks need to have a working vent alarm.

5) The fill pipe and vent pipe must have a minimum diameter of 1-1/4 inch.


More Information About Vermont’s Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations

Inspection of Tanks

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.

Stable Foundation

All indoor and outdoor aboveground fuel oil tanks must be on 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.

Transferring Fuel

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.

Removing Tanks

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.

Red Tagged Tanks

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.

Help for Tank Repair or Replacement

The Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF) offers financial assistance to residential tank owners toward the removal, replacement, or upgrade of both above-ground 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 under-ground tank. Any work that is completed prior to application approval is not eligible for financial assistance from the Petroleum Cleanup Fund.