To:Head of Fire Departments
From:Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date:April 1, 2004
Re:M.G.L. c. 148, §13 Annual Filing - Certificate of Registration and Underground Storage Tanks

We have received questions regarding underground storage tank (UST) inspections and permit requirements pursuant to 527 CMR 9.00 pdf format of 527009.pdf
. With the April 30 deadline approaching for filing Certificates of Registration (FP-5) pdf format of FP5.pdf
under c.148 §13, it is an opportune time to review the requirements for underground storage tanks under the State Fire Code. Below is a list of items that we recommend as a minimum to be verified prior to issuing Registrations ( FP-5 pdf format of FP5.pdf
) or Permits ( FP-290 pdf format of FP290Permit.pdf
). If there are outstanding violations you can request that the city or town clerk not issue the Registration, which may assist the fire department in achieving compliance.

Underground Storage Tank Requirements:

  1. Verify all leak detection equipment has been operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, including routine maintenance and service checks for operability, and is currently operational and running. [9.05(D)(3)]

  2. On pressurized piping, if a product line leak detector is used which includes an automatic flow restrictor, automatic shutoff device or a continuous alarm system, an annual test of the operation of the leak detector must be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements.
    In addition, one of the following must be performed:

    a. an annual test on the piping,
    b. monthly monitoring for vapors in the soil; or
    c. monthly statistical inventory reconciliation (SIR) analysis. [9.05(G)(8)(b)]

  3. On steel USTs, sacrificial or galvanic anode cathodic protection systems shall be tested in accordance with the following:
    If test results indicate a negative voltage of at least -0.90 volts, the system shall be tested at three-year intervals.
    If test results indicate a negative voltage between -0.85 to -0.90, the system shall be tested annually thereafter.
    If test results indicate a negative voltage of less than -0.85, the system is inadequate and should be evaluated by a corrosion expert. [9.05(H)(4)]

  4. On steel USTs protected by an impressed current cathodic protection system, the system should have been tested upon installation and annually thereafter. In addition to annual testing, impressed current systems shall be inspected every 60 days to ensure the equipment is operating as designed.

    Acceptable system operating voltage and amperage ranges shall be affixed to the rectifier. System voltage and amperage readings shall be recorded every 60 days. If system voltage or amperage readings are outside the range determined to be acceptable, a corrosion expert should evaluate the system. [9.05(H)(5)]

  5. Owners and operators of USTs must demonstrate financial responsibility for taking corrective action arising from an accidental release of petroleum product. [9.07(N)].
    Note: minimum coverage of $1,000,000 per occurrence is required. A valid Certificate of Compliance from the Department of Revenue will be considered as meeting this requirement.

This office recommends Permits issued under 527 CMR 9.00 pdf format of 527009.pdf
expire to coincide with any testing due as outlined above.

Also, as a reminder: for self-service motor fuel stations, fire suppression systems must be in compliance and inspected semi-annually in accordance with 527 CMR 23.00. If the fire suppression has not been serviced, the station should only be operating with an attendant pumping fuel.

If you have any questions please call the Code Compliance & Enforcement Unit at (978) 567-3375 or in western Massachusetts at (413) 587-3181.