Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs)

The Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA)


The Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act became effective January 1, 1990. In general, the Act requires aboveground petroleum storage tank owners and operators to implement measures to prevent spills. On January 1, 2008, APSA implementation responsibility was transferred from the State to the local CUPAs. CUPAs now have the responsibility and authority to:

  • Implement the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) program.

  • Conduct inspections at least once every three years of all regulated facilities that have aboveground petroleum storage tanks containing 10,000 gallons or more.

  • Require facilities to have a current business plan under the Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventories Program.

  • Beginning in January 2010, a fee may be established to cover the cost to the CUPA.

Who is Subject to the Act? 

Facilities having a "petroleum" storage capacity equal to or greater than 1320 gallons in an aboveground storage tank or tanks are subject to the Act. An “aboveground storage tank” or “storage tank” for the purposes of this Act means a container with capacity of 55 gallons or more of petroleum and is substantially or totally above the surface of the ground.

What is the Definition of Petroleum? 

"Petroleum" means crude oil or any fraction thereof that is liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.7 pounds per square inch (atmospheric pressure). This includes petroleum-based substances such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, lubricants, some petroleum solvents, and used oils.

How is “Tank Facility” Defined?

“Tank facility” means one or more aboveground storage tanks, including piping integral to the tanks, that contain petroleum and are used by a single business entity at a single location or site. A tank facility is subject to the aboveground petroleum storage act if the tank facility is subject to the oil pollution prevention regulations specified in Part 112 (commencing with Section 112.1) of Subchapter D of Chapter I of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations or the tank facility has an aboveground storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or more of petroleum.

What Does the Act Require?

The Act requires owners or operators of aboveground tank facilities to prepare and implement a Federal Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan.  An SPCC plan is a carefully thought out plan, prepared in accordance with guidelines contained in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on oil pollution prevention (40 CFR 112). The plan should discuss procedures, methods, and equipment in place at the facility to prevent discharges of petroleum. At a minimum, the plan must include a plot plan, secondary containment; overfill protection, spill protection, and corrosion protection for piping. A complete copy must be maintained on site. A licensed Professional Engineer must review and certify a Plan, unless the facility meets the requirements of a “qualified facility”. Qualified facility operators may self certify a Plan.

What is a Qualified facility?

A qualified facility may self certify their Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan in lieu of certification by a professional engineer (PE). A qualified facility may choose to obtain a PE Certified SPCC Plan rather than self certify. To be a qualified facility, the following requirements must be met:

  • Have total facility capacity of 10,000 gallons or less.

  • Within the past three years have had:

    • No single discharge of oil to navigable waters exceeding 1,000 gallons; and

    • No two discharges of oil to navigable waters each exceeding 42 U.S. gallons within any 12 -month period, In California storm drains are generally considered navigable waters. 


  What are the Qualified Facilities Tiers?

Tier I  

 A Tier 1 template  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
More information regarding Tier 1 templates can be found
on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website

Tier II

A Tier 2 template (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

10,000 gallons or less of aggregate (total) aboveground storage capacity

Within any 12 month period, three years prior to Plan certification date, has been:

• No single discharge of oil to navigable water or adjoining shoreline exceeding1,000 gallons; and

• No two discharges of oil to navigable water each exceeding 42 gallons

No individual/single aboveground storage tank
greater than 5,000 gallon capacity    

Has individual/single aboveground storage tank
greater than 5,000 gallon capacity

Then…SPCC Plan Requirements:

Complete, self-certify and implement the SPCC
Plan template (Appendix G to 40 CFR 112)
in lieu of a full PE-certified Plan.

Prepare and implement a self-certified SPCC
Plan in accordance with all applicable requirements of 40
CFR 112.6 and 112.7 and subpart B or complete and
implement a Tier 2 template.

When are the Compliance Dates?

Facilities must amend, implement, or prepare a SPCC Plan by the compliance date set forth in the SPCC rule promulgated since 2002. Farms must also amend or prepare a SPCC Plan and implement changes by the same date.

Could a Facility Use the Same SPCC Plan that was Developed Many Years Ago?

Amendments to the federal regulations went into effect January 10, 2010. If a facility’s SPCC Plan meets all current requirements, it can still be used. Otherwise, the SPCC Plan must have been revised to include all current requirements by November 10, 2010. 

Where Can I Find More Information? 

SPCC Companies ( This list is provided as a convenience and is not an endorsement or certification of their services.)

NOTE: There are no local operating permit requirements at this time. New installations must be permitted through the County Building Department and local Fire Department. Requirements are subject to change.