Closing an Underground Storage Tank Site

If you’re considering closing your underground storage tank (UST) either temporarily or permanently, you must do so in accordance with federal regulations. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss the regulations concerning a temporary closure, post-temporary closure, and permanent closure. Note that these are EPA regulations and that your local jurisdiction may provide additional instructions.


Temporary Closure – Up to 12 Months

  • Monitor the tank for leaks unless it is empty. Empty is defined as “no more than one inch of residue is present or not more than 0.3 percent by weight of the total capacity of the UST system remains in the system.”
  • Monitor corrosion protection systems.
  • If there is a leak, stop it, report it to local regulatory authorities, and clean up.
  • “If the UST remains temporarily closed for more than 3 months, leave vent lines open, but cap and secure all other lines, pumps, manways, and ancillary equipment.”


Post-Temporary Closure – After 12 Months

Once the 12 month period is up, the three courses of action you can take are:

  • Permanent closure – if the tank doesn’t mean regulations for new or upgraded tanks, with the exception of spill and overfill.
  • Extension – Local regulatory authorities will consider an extension of the temporary closure if you provide them with an assessment of whether or not there is contamination at the site.
  • Continued temporary closure with no extension – If the tank meets regulations for new or upgraded tanks (again with the exception of spill and overfill), you do not need to request an extension.


Permanent Closure

  • Inform the regulatory authority of the closure at least one month in advance.
  • Do a contamination assessment of the site and take action if necessary. Keep records of your actions.
  • The tank may either be removed or left in the ground. Regardless, it needs to be emptied and cleaned by trained storage tank professionals. If left in the ground, the tank must be filled with sand or another inactive solid.

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