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
• Fill pipe and vent pipe must have a waterproof and insect proof cap
• Tank must have a 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
• 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 flood elevation
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).
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 here. You can add a red tagged tank to the state website here. A fuel company is liable for any spill if they fill a red tagged tank. You can purchase out of service red tags here.
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.
Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations
Vermontʼs Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) rules regulate the design and installation of heating oil tanks.
They also provide spill prevention and inspection requirements for both tank owners and fuel suppliers.
A Vermont law passed in 2016 requires tanks to be removed during natural gas conversions. The Department of Environmental Conservation is also required to develop training and certification standards for oilheat tank inspections.
The new certification standards and procedures must be in place by July 1, 2017.