Aboveground Storage Tank Federal Requirements

Whether you are considering purchasing a property that will come with an aboveground storage tank or you are thinking about buying an AST for your facility, you will need to be aware of the federal regulations that govern its use. There are many responsibilities that come with being the owner of an aboveground storage tank and in today’s blog, we’ll highlight the most important federal regulations you need to be aware of in order to operate within the law.

aboveground storage tank

If you have an aboveground storage tank, these are the regulations you need to be aware of.


An AST can only be used to house oil if it has been specifically constructed to do so. In addition, the design of an AST must include a secondary containment space that is large enough to handle the total volume contained within your tank as well as adequate freeboard to handle precipitation. Mobile and portable ASTs also require secondary containment areas and they should be positioned to prevent discharge.

Testing and monitoring

All aboveground storage tanks need to be inspected at regular intervals. In addition, your AST will need to be inspected anytime any materials repairs have been made to your tank. The frequency with which your tank will need to be inspected will depend on the capacity and design of your aboveground storage tank. This fact sheet from the Environmental Protection Agency can help you identify how often your tank will need to be inspected and provides useful guidance on other federal regulations as well. Visual inspections must be combined with another system of non-destructive shell testing, whether that be hydrostatic, ultrasonic, radiographic, or acoustic emissions testing. Always keep comparison records for your AST and be sure to frequently conduct a visual inspection of the outside of your container to monitor damage and potential sources of leakage.

State requirements

Bear in mind that the majority of the regulations regarding aboveground storage tanks exist at the state level, so be sure to research the specific requirements in your area by contacting your local state agency that governs the regulation of storage tanks.

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