Underground Storage Tank Program

The storage of hazardous materials in underground tanks benefits businesses and the community by:

  • reducing the risk of fires and explosions
  • providing more efficient property use
  • cutting costs through bulk purchase of raw products

There are also risks in storing hazardous materials below ground. Underground tanks can leak and contaminate soil and groundwater. This can increase health risks and decrease property values. For these reasons, regulations exist to control the operation of underground tanks to protect public health and the environment.

Staff of the Underground Storage Tank Program make sure these regulations are followed by inspecting storage tank facilities and educating businesses on how to properly handle their tanks.

Construction Requirements

New tank systems must be made of approved materials that provide strength and protect against corrosion. Systems must have the ability to detect and intercept leaks. Proposals for new underground systems must be submitted to the Program and reviewed in detail by staff. Tank sites must be inspected during several key phases of construction to make sure that all installation standards are met.

Operating Requirements

Whether an underground tank system is old or new, it must comply with leak-detection, testing and recordkeeping requirements. All tank owners must:

  • possess a valid operating permit
  • conduct routine testing
  • maintain equipment
  • prepare an approved leak-response plan
  • upgrade tank systems, as required

Staff conduct annual inspections to be sure that tank owners meet these requirements.

Tank Removal Requirements

Inspection staff also supervise removals of underground tanks to make sure that strict site safety standards are met. They supervise soil and groundwater sampling to assess the possibility of environmental contamination.

In addition to inspection and enforcement, staff provide workshops to business and community groups. The Program also serves as a clearinghouse for information about State financial assistance programs.

To report leaks, to learn more about new  installation requirements or learn more about the Underground Storage Tank Program, call (650) 372-6200