Aftermath of the disaster; photo by Globe Newspaper Co.
(Boston Public Library)

Following the Great Molasses Flood in Boston’s North End on January 15, 1919, Massachusetts began regulating aboveground storage tanks (AST’s) greater than 10,000 gallons storing any fluid other than water. The molasses flood killed 21 people and injured 150 more. Many claim you can still smell the molasses in the North End on hot summer days. 

The AST regulations are currently enforced by the State Fire Marshal, and require anyone constructing or installing new aboveground storage tanks to obtain a permit from the Office of the State Marshal. The regulations also require that all such tanks have an annual Use Permit issued by marshal upon construction and every five years thereafter and to be inspected no less than annually. The tank owner or operator must retain a qualified inspector for the required annual inspection.

New Tanks

Existing Tanks

For more information contact the Code Compliance Office at (978) 567-3375 and in western Massachusetts (413) 587-3181.