New Underground Storage Tank Regulations in Massachusetts

New regulations for underground storage tanks went into effect on January 2, 2015. The new regulations come after the MassDEP took over responsibility of underground storage tanks from the Department of Fire Services in 2009 and developed a new set of regulations. They also come after a massive chemical spill in West Virginia prompted that state to undergo an extensive overhaul of its storage tank regulations.

The new rules apply to tanks containing petroleum or hazardous substances. Tanks that hold less than 110 gallons are exempt from the new regulations. One regulation still covered by the Dept of Fire Services is permit issuance for the storage of flammable or combustible liquids, as well as permits for underground storage tank removal.

Mass DEP Storage Tank Regulations


Underground storage tanks need to be registered within 30 days of being filled. Tank owners must notify MassDEP if they change the substance in the tank or take the tank out of service.


Tanks must be installed by a certified individual in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Tanks must pass a tightness test before they’re filled.


Underground storage tanks must undergo an initial inspection as well as ongoing inspections. Inspections must be conducted by a certified third-party once every three years. The owner must certify with MassDEP that the tank is in compliance with regulations by providing a certificate of this inspection.

Financial Responsibility

Owners/operators of underground storage tanks must show that they have the financial means to take corrective actions and compensate third parties if there is a leak.

Prohibitions on Delivery

If MassDEP determines that the tank is not being operated properly, that the owner has not provided proof of financial responsibility, or other obligations are not being met, it may prohibit deliveries to the tank.


The owner/operator of the underground storage tank is required to keep records of the tank including as-built plans provided by the installer or a professional engineer. The owner must transfer these documents to the new owner if the property on with the tank is located is sold or transferred.

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