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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Environmental Assistance and Customer Service - Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs)

Environmental Assistance and Customer Service

Aboveground Storage Tanks

This website on aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) is designed to address the issues of small tanks, defined as having a capacity of less than 550 gallons, that are used to hold oil products for farms, small businesses and residential heating and cooking.

Click here to read our AST fact sheet!

Aboveground storage tanks are most commonly mounted on a stand or a ground pad either outside or in a basement. They may also be partially buried or in a subterranean vault. This website is intended to provide information to help prevent costly spills that impact the environment. A complete fact sheet can be found if you click here.

Leaking tanks can contaminate soil and groundwater, eventually impacting drinking water supplies, and can create fire hazards. Many petroleum-based fuels contain compounds that over time can affect nervous, reproductive and immune systems in humans, pets and wildlife. Currently, no North Carolina environmental regulations exist for the installation, construction, permitting or monitoring of small ASTs. However, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) regulates the handling, release (spillage) and cleanup of oil and other chemicals from ASTs.

For common causes of spill and leaks and associated prevention tips click here.

When a Spill Occurs

In North Carolina, an AST owner is required to immediately clean up and oil or petroleum product spills.* Cleaning up a spill means that the release must be collected and removed from the area, and the area must be restored to the condition existing prior to the release within a period of 24 hours.

Spills of less than 25 gallons that do not cause an oil sheen on nearby surface water AND that also occur more than 100 feet from any surface water body require the owner to immediately collect and remove the spill. If the spill cannot be cleaned up with 24 hours OR if it causes an oil sheen on nearby surface waters, it must be reported to DENR at 1-800-858-0368.  If cleaned up within 24 hours, it is not required to be reported to NCDENR.

Spills equal to or greater than 25 gallons, OR causing an oil sheen on nearby surface water, OR occurring less than 100 feet from any surface water body require the owner to immediately take measures to collect and remove the spill AND must be reported within 24 hours of discovery to NCDENR at 1-800-858-0368.

Guidance on spills and reporting forms can be found on the DENR website Non-UST Petroleum Releases page (http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wm/ust/nustmain) or by contacting the NCDENR Division of Waste Management's UST Section at: (919) 707-8171.

For common causes of spill and leaks and associated prevention tips click here.

  1. *in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143-215. 83, 84 and 85 

 

Any farm or small business with >1,320 gallons combined capacity in all tanks onsite must have a fully prepared and implemented Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure, or SPCC Plan. More information on EPA’s Oil Pollution Prevention regulations and SPCC plans can be found here: www.epa.gov/oilspill/ or through EPA Region IV in Atlanta, Georgia at (404) 562-8752.

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