Frequently Asked Questions

Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations

What types of tanks are regulated?

The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations apply to outdoor aboveground and underground storage tanks and containers that:

  • have a capacity of more than 230 litres;
  • operate at atmospheric pressure; and,
  • are designed to be installed in a fixed location.

The regulations also apply to all the piping and other equipment associated with the tanks.

What types of tanks do not fall under the new regulations?

The following tank systems do not fall under the new regulations:

  • containers smaller than 230 litres;
  • indoor storage tanks where the building provides secondary containment;
  • outdoor, aboveground storage tank systems that have a total combined capacity of 2,500 litres or less and are connected to a heating appliance or an emergency generator; and,
  • mobile tanks that bear a Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) certification mark.
Where do the regulations apply?

The regulations apply to storage tank systems located in Canada on federal and Aboriginal lands.

What is meant by "Aboriginal land"?

According to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Aboriginal land is defined as "reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and that are subject to the Indian Act; [and] land, including any water, that is subject to comprehensive or specific claim agreement, or a self-government agreement, between the Government of Canada and aboriginal people where title remains with Her Majesty in the right of Canada."

Who is responsible for complying with the regulations?

Owners and operators of storage tank systems are responsible for complying with the regulations. On Aboriginal lands, this may include band councils or private parties, such as owners or operators of retail gas stations and mining companies. The regulations also cover systems owned or operated by federal departments, boards, agencies or Crown corporations.

What are the new requirements as of June 13, 2010?

As of June 13, 2010, owners and operators of storage tanks on federal and Aboriginal land must:

  • Identify their storage tank systems with Environment Canada;
  • Ensure that their tank system identification number is displayed in a readily visible location on or near the storage tank system;
  • Complete a leak detection test for tanks installed before June 12, 2008, unless the storage tank system has existing leak detection; and,
  • Prepare an emergency plan.
What is an Emergency Plan and where should it be kept?

Under the new Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations, owners/operators are required to have an Emergency Response Plan in place for their fuel storage tank. This plan should include details of the fuel contained in the tank, a list of contact names and phone numbers in the event of an emergency, and the type and location of emergency response equipment for the tank. This plan should be kept with or near the fuel tank and should be updated to reflect any changes in information. For storage tanks installed prior to the new regulations coming into force, the owner/operator has 2 years to have their emergency plans in place. For new tanks installed after the coming into force of the new regulations, the owner/operator must have their emergency plans in place before the first transfer of fuel into the tank. For details on Emergency Plan requirements please refer to the Environment Canada Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations available on Environment Canada's website.

What other requirements exist under the regulations and when will they come into effect?

As of June 13, 2012:

  • High-risk systems, as defined by the regulations, must be permanently withdrawn from service.
  • All fuel storage tank systems must have product transfer areas designed to contain spills that may occur during the transfer process.
How do I identify my tank with Environment Canada and get an identification number?

A tank owner/operator can obtain an Environment Canada identification number by visiting Environment Canada's website and applying for an account.

Once the owner/operator has an account; identification can be completed on line. The issued identification number must be visible on or near the tank.

If an owner/operator does not have access to the Internet, they can contact Environment Canada at 1-800-668-6767 to obtain an identification form. The form must be filled out in full and mailed back to Environment Canada. In turn, Environment Canada will mail an identification number back to the owner/operator. Environment Canada does not supply a physical tag or placard indicating the identification number. Displaying the identification number associated with the tank is the responsibility of the owner/operator.

What happens if my tank is not identified by June 13, 2010?

Fuel suppliers will be prohibited from delivering fuel to fuel storage tank systems that do not have an Environment Canada identification number.

Can a leaking storage tank system remain in service?

Any storage tank system that is leaking must come out of service immediately. This obligation came into force on June 12, 2008. Prevention of pollution due to leaking tanks and fuel spills is the primary purpose of the regulations. The tank system must remain out of service until the leak is repaired.

Does the entire leaking storage tank system have to come out of service?

If the leaking part of the system can be isolated, then the non-leaking part may continue to be used while you repair the leaking tank. For example, if you have a storage tank system that consists of two tanks commonly connected by piping and one of these tanks starts to leak, you can continue to use the non-leaking tank in this system once all the connections to the leaking tank have been shut off, thereby stopping product leaking from the system.

What programs are available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to help with the costs of bringing tanks into compliance with the regulations?

The cost of upgrading your identified storage tank system(s) in order to bring them into compliance with the regulations is an eligible expenditure under the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program (CFMP) of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. First Nations may apply for funds through the usual regional infrastructure investment planning process. For more information on the CFMP, including eligibility, how available funding is prioritized and how you can apply, please contact your local Indian and Northern Affairs Canada office.

Budget 2011, provided $22 million over two years to help First Nations to ensure that fuel tanks on reserves meet new environmental safety standards for fuel storage tanks.

Where can I get more information about the regulations?

For more information regarding the regulations, please contact Environment Canada at 1-800-668-6767, or visit Environment Canada's website.

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