An above oil tank installed outdoors near concrete steps.

10 Safety Regulations You Need to Know for Aboveground Oil Tanks

Aboveground oil tanks in the State of Pennsylvania are regulated by the state, but they can also be subject to regulations on the federal and local levels. The laws impact aboveground oil tank design, installation, maintenance, and operation. These safety regulations are designed to keep you and your home safe, and adhering to them ensures that your aboveground oil tank works properly and doesn’t damage the environment. So what are some of the safety regulations for aboveground oil tanks in Pennsylvania that you should know before servicing or replacing an aboveground oil tank?

Aboveground Oil Tank Regulations

Aboveground outdoor oil tank safety regulations are primarily specified by the Pennsylvania Code, Title 265, Chapter 245. Some excerpts of the safety regulations in the code are as follows:

  1. Permits are required for aboveground oil tank installation — The state code specifies that no person shall “install a storage tank system … unless the person has first applied for and obtained a permit.”
  2. Tanks must be registered with the state — The code also requires all tanks to be registered with the state and operated within the standards and requirements set by the state. 
  3. You can’t operate a tank without a permit — Pennsylvania prohibits anyone from operating an oil tank if the state “suspends, revokes or denies the tank operating permit.”
  4. Tank owners are liable for violations of the law — Anyone who is responsible or contributes to the violation of the state safety regulations is “subject to enforcement action including suspension, modification, or revocation” of their permit.
  5. You must be Department-certified to work on an oil tank — “Tank handling and inspection activities are performed by Department-certified individuals.”
  6. Modified oil tanks must be inspected — Any oil tank that is modified needs to be inspected to ensure that it meets industry standards. This inspection must take place “before being put in service” when major modifications to the storage tank system are made.
  7. Plans for modifying a tank may need to be submitted for review — In some cases, the state may require you to provide advance documentation of “construction modification design criteria and engineering specifications for review.”
  8. Aboveground tanks in underground vaults require leak detection systems — If you have an aboveground oil tank installed in an underground vault, the state requires that the vault has a “continuous leak detection” system capable of “detecting vapors and liquids including water.”
  9. Supply lines must be suitable for the substance stored — Any piping used in your oil tank’s system is required to be “compatible with the substance stored.” Additionally, they must be designed to “resist internal and external wear, vibration, and shock.”
  10. Aboveground piping needs to be supported and protected — Piping also needs to be “adequately supported” and protected from damage that can be caused by “freezing, frost heaving, and vehicular traffic” in order to be in compliance with state safety regulations.

These ten rules are just a small sampling of the safety regulations for aboveground oil tanks specified in just the state code. It doesn’t include rules and regulations on the federal level by the Department of Environmental Protection or the local level by your municipality. And, as you can see from reading them, there are precise requirements for aboveground oil tanks that cover everything from oil tank installation to operation. 

The scope of these rules can be challenging to grasp, so it’s essential that any oil tank installation, maintenance, or removal of an oil tank be done by qualified technicians who have the experience to ensure that their work is done within compliance with the state code with a focus on the safety regulations for aboveground oil tanks. Professional Tank & Environmental has provided professional aboveground tank installation services for over 20 years. As a result, we have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to handle aboveground oil tank installation and oil tank removal quickly and efficiently while adhering to all pertinent safety regulations on the state, local, and federal levels.

Hazards of Ignoring Safety Regulations 

Homeowners should not ignore safety regulations for aboveground oil tanks. These regulations are designed to protect against a number of hazards, including:

  • Fire hazard — Neglected tanks may be more susceptible to corrosion leading to leaks in the tank or fuel lines that can release flammable vapors. These vapors can ignite and cause a fire or explosion.
  • Environmental hazard — Leaks in an oil tank can contaminate soil and groundwater with oils and other chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Spilled oil can threaten people and animals who may come into contact with it. 
  • Health hazard  — Exposure to oil leaking from a damaged tank can cause health problems, including respiratory issues, skin irritation, and neurological effects. A neglected tank can also be home to mold, bacteria, and other contaminants that pose health risks to people and animals. 
  • Financial hazard — Not adhering to oil tank safety regulations can expose homeowners to financial risks. Mistakes made by homeowners installing or servicing their own oil tank can lead to costly mistakes if the oil tank fails. In addition to exposing themselves to potential liability for cleanup and remediation efforts, they can also be liable for damage caused by the tank on top of the costs of hiring a professional to redo any work that may have been faulty or determined not to meet regulatory standards. 
  • Legal hazard  — Ignoring safety regulations for ground oil tanks can also become a legal hazard. Intentionally or unintentionally, not complying with federal, state, or local residential oil tank regulations can lead to fines and penalties. 

To avoid these hazards, you should not replace your oil tank on your own, whether it’s an aboveground or underground oil tank. Instead, always have your oil tank regularly inspected, maintained, or serviced by qualified professionals familiar with federal, state, and local safety regulations for aboveground oil tanks. 

Contact Us for Aboveground Oil Tank Service

When you need to install an oil tank, it’s essential to consider the impact of safety regulations and why they exist. Professional Tank & Environmental provides the services you need to minimize exposure to oil tank hazards. Our highly-trained technicians can install your heating oil tank and remove the old one, with safety as a primary consideration for everyone involved. We can handle any type of installation, whether it’s an indoor oil tank in your basement or an aboveground oil tank beside your house. It’s what we do, and we do it well. So don’t expose yourself to the hazards of overlooking the safety regulations for aboveground oil tank installation. Call us today to handle the job for you.