Petroleum Bulk Storage: Understanding and Preparing for an Inspection
In August 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Division of Environmental Remediation (DER) released a Draft version of its Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) Inspection Handbook (DER-25). Knowing that many local Highway Departments operate and maintain their own fuel storage and dispensing facilities, we felt it important to provide an update on the DEC’s efforts in determining a Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) facility’s compliance with New York State statutes, PBS regulations and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Federal Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations.
The intent of the Handbook is to provide the DER inspection staff a guidance manual to achieve consistency in its procedures for inspecting PBS facilities and its interpretation and application of the PBS regulations. Making this handbook available also provides owners and operators of PBS facilities a resource for a better understanding of the information the DER staff will be looking for during a PBS facility inspection. The preparation of the document is part of the NYSDEC’s effort to remain current with State and Federal statutory and regulatory changes. It is the NYSDEC’s contention that it is each owner and operator’s responsibility to ensure that they are in compliance with all local, State and Federal requirements. This handbook addresses the current PBS regulations only and states that the NYSDEC is currently revising the PBS regulations, at which time the manual will be updated.
What to Expect
What dictates who is required to follow these regulations and what can be expected during a PBS inspection? As per the DER-25 document, the statutes and regulations of the NYSDEC and EPA have several differences in definitions, interpretation and application. These are provided in the DER-25 Draft PBS Inspection Handbook document available at the NYSDEC website.
Some of the definitions to be aware of in evaluating your facility are:
- New tank
- Underground tank
- Aboveground tank
In general, if a site or facility has a petroleum fuel storage volume of 1,100 gallons or greater in single or multiple tanks, and/or contains a petroleum tank greater than 110 gallons with 10% or more beneath the ground, the facility is required to be registered and comply with all necessary local, State and Federal regulations.
To better understand what is specifically required, with the release of the Draft DER-25, PBS Inspection Handbook, the NYSDEC also released a Draft Inspection Form to be utilized with the DER-25 document. A copy of this Inspection Form is available at the NYSDEC website. This inspection form allows the owner/ operator to understand what an inspector will look for during an inspection.
The inspection form is separated into several sections that cover information about the Facility, Tank Registration, Underground Storage Tanks (UST), Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST), Release Prevention, Release Detection, Monitoring and Tank Closure.
If there are areas which cannot be answered “yes” or are questionable on the checklist, we recommend that the owner/operator of the facility refer to the DER-25 Draft PBS Inspection Handbook for a better understanding of how to address them. We also recommend that when reviewing the Handbook that the Draft Inspection Form is utilized to clearly understand what will be looked at during an inspection. For simplicity of use, the Draft DER- 25 PBS Inspection Handbook also provides a PBS Inspection Form Cross Reference, which provides a correlation to the Inspection Form question numbers to the Handbook page number(s). This allows the owner/operator the ability to quickly locate the information related to each question and help facilitate a site’s ability to be in and maintain compliance.
The DER-25 and the PBS Inspection Form are available for download in PDF format from the links provided below; review of these documents should be done with your facility in mind. It may be beneficial to conduct an in-house inspection based on these documents to determine what and where any corrections are needed to protect your facility from the potential of costly fines, inconveniences and to better prepare yourself for the inevitable inspection.
 DER-25 Draft Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) Inspection Handbook, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Remediation, Albany, NY, August 4, 2010
 New York State DEC Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) Inspection Form, v.4, July 7, 2009.