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 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.
Why are we dealing with this now? In May of 2016, Act 76 was signed into law by former Governor Shumlin. The law kick-started a process to revise the existing heating oil tank storage rules. These rules (first enacted in 2011) set standards for new tank installations and allowed dealers to red tag a tank that was unsafe to fill. The 2016 law required that the revised regulations cover existing tanks and go into effect no later than July 1, 2017.
What is in the draft rules? The rules set criteria that tanks should be inspected at least once every three years and bans dealers from filling tanks that show signs of dripping, pitting, cracks or corrosion. The draft rules also ban filling a tank with a fuel line buried in concrete that is not in either plastic coating or a protective sleeve. The no-fill rule also is in place for tanks without a working vent alarm or whistle and/or an undersized vent or fill. Still under consideration: whether or not a solid foundation is required on pre-existing tanks. While required on all new tanks, the recent news report raised concerns that requiring a concrete slab would have the effect of making thousands of tanks non-compliant.
Who can inspect tanks? Anyone that is NORA Silver Certified, or has Vermont Oilheat Certificate— or has completed a NORA 2-hour Tank Seminar. This seminar will allow non-oilheat technicians to conduct tank inspections and provides an overview of the regulation.
When do the rules go into effect? The rules are not law yet! The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed changes to Vermont’s tank laws, but they have NOT been enacted. That only occurs when the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) signs off on the changes. Once VFDA has a new draft of the regulations, we will distribute to all member companies and let you know when and if the rules become final.
How will oilheat consumers learn about all of this? VFDA, in cooperation with the Agency of Natural Resources and the National Oilheat Research Alliance, has created consumer education materials that heating fuel dealers can use to distribute to their customers.