To: Head of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: August 1, 2003
Re: Aboveground Storage Tanks Over 10,000 Gallons

Reminder, under Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 148, Section 37 all aboveground storage tanks of more than 10,000 gallons capacity must be permitted by the Marshal before the tank is constructed, maintained or used. Regulation 502 CMR 5.00, officially adopted on 12/24/99, deals with the permit requirements and annual inspection of aboveground storage tanks of more than 10,000 gallons capacity.

Since the promulgation of 502 CMR 5.00, there has been an increase in the number of 10,000 gallon aboveground storage tanks being installed in the Commonwealth. This office is not aware of any tank with an exact 10,000 gallon capacity. The 10,000 gallon measurement is the nominal capacity of the tank, therefore, it either has a capacity of less than or more typically, more than 10,000 gallons. The actual capacity of the tank can ultimately affect licensing (M.G.L. 148, §13) and permitting (527 CMR 4.00 and 14.00).

The actual capacity of the tank is the gross total capacity of the tank. The gross total capacity of the tank can be found by consulting the design engineer and should be listed on the tank plans or on the tank cut sheets.

If a 10,000 gallon nominal capacity aboveground storage tank is to be constructed, maintained or used in your community, the gross total capacity should be determined first. If the tank has a gross total capacity over 10,000 gallons, it should be reviewed by the fire department, then in accordance with M.G.L. 148, §37, it should be forwarded to the Office of the State Fire Marshal to be reviewed and permitted.

If there is any questions, please contact H. Jacob Nunnemacher, Fire Protection Engineer, Office of the State Fire Marshal at (978) 567-3377.

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