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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.

Much information below is available in a full color brochure, bill stuffer and a door hanger.

Click here for VFDA's consumer education and compliance materials.

Vermont Regulations on Heating Oil and Kerosene Storage Tanks

Vermont law requires aboveground heating oil and kerosene storage tanks to be inspected  at least every three years.

These inspection requirements are 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.  

Funds are limited and subject to availability. More information about the Vermont Tank Financial Assistance Program can be found here.

Vermont Regulations for NEW Tank Installations

— All newly installed tanks must have a gauging device.

— The vent pipe must terminate outside the building and the vent alarm or “whistle” must terminate near the fill pipe.

— The fill pipe and vent pipe must have a minimum diameter of 1-1/4 inch with a waterproof and insect proof cap. The pipe must be minimum schedule 40 steel or brass pipe that complies with NFPA 31.

— Plastic coated copper and protective sleeves are required on new fuel lines installed below grade.

— New multiple tank systems are required to have separate fill pipes, vents, and alarms.

— A solid concrete pad is required for all new tank installations. The foundation must be at least 4 inches in depth and sized to have a footprint that exceeds the length and width dimensions of the tank by a factor of 10 percent.

— The shutoff valve must be within 12 inches from fuel outlet.

— All new installations of single walled steel tanks can not be less than 12 gauge in thickness. New fiberglass tanks must be double walled if they are placed outdoors. Single walled fiberglass tanks can be installed indoors.

— Indoor tanks located in a floodplain must be securely anchored or attached to a foundation of steel or concrete. This is recommended but not required for outdoor tanks. Find out if a property is located in a floodplain by entering the address on the FEMA Map Service Center website:

— An outdoor tank can not be installed below the eaves of a building unless a shelter is built to protect the tank from falling snow and ice. A shelter is recommended, but not required, for an outdoor tank installed at the gable end of the building.

This is a partial list of requirements for NEW tank installations.

Click here to download the entire regulation.