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What Does BUSTR Regulate

What Does BUSTR Regulate

The Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations (BUSTR) has jurisdiction over underground storage tanks (USTs) similar to what you find at gas stations.  

BUSTR regulates most, but not all, types of underground storage tank (UST) systems containing petroleum and hazardous substances.  For a system to be regulated by BUSTR, the vessel must meet the definition of being an 'UST'.  Also, the vessel must be underground.  In addition, the vessel must contain a regulated substance.  See below for a detailed description of what BUSTR regulates.

Regulated Substance

Regulated substance means any Hazardous Substance; and Petroleum.

  • Hazardous substance means any substance listed in rule 1301:7-9-03 of the Administrative Code, but not including any substance regulated as a hazardous waste under Chapters 3745-50 to 3745-69 of the Administrative Code, or any mixture of such substance and petroleum which is not contained in a petroleum UST system.
  • Petroleum includes crude oil or any fraction thereof, that is a liquid at the temperature of sixty degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute. The term includes, without limitation, motor fuels, jet fuels, distillate fuel oils, residual fuel oils, lubricants, petroleum solvents, and used oils.

2017 Technical Guidance Manual

The information below is from the 2017 Technical Guidance Manual.

Definition of an UST

An UST is defined as one or a combination of tanks, including the underground piping that is used to contain an accumulation of regulated substances, the volume of which, including the volume of the underground piping, is 10% or more below ground. As specified in OAC 1301:7-9-02 the following do not meet the definition of an UST and therefore are exempt from closure and corrective action requirements:

  • Farm or residential tanks of 1,100 gal. or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes;
  • Tanks used for storing heating fuel for consumptive use on the premises where stored;
  • Pipeline facilities, including gathering lines, regulated under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, 82 Stat. 720, 49 USCA 2001 (United States Code Annotated), as amended;
  • Surface impoundments, pits, ponds, or lagoons;
  • Storm or waste water collection systems;
  • Flow-through process tanks;
  • Storage tanks located in underground areas, including without limitation, basements, cellars, mine workings, drifts, shafts, or tunnels, when the tanks are located on or above the surface of the floor and are visible for inspection on all sides;
  • Septic tanks; and
  • Liquid traps or associated gathering lines directly related to oil or gas production and gathering operations.

Regulated UST Systems

A regulated UST is defined as a tank and the underground piping connected to the tank, which has at least 10% of its volume below ground and contains a hazardous substance (as listed in OAC 1301:7-9-03) or petroleum (as defined in OAC 1301:7-9-02).

Exempt UST Systems

The following UST systems are exempt from all BUSTR rules:

  • Any UST system holding hazardous wastes listed or identified under OAC Chapter 3745-51 or a mixture of such hazardous wastes and other regulated substances;
  • Any wastewater treatment tank system that is part of a wastewater treatment facility regulated under Section 402 or 307(B) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 USCA 1251 and following);
  • Equipment or machinery that contains regulated substances for certain operational purposes such as hydraulic lift tanks and electrical equipment tanks;
  • Any UST system whose capacity is 110 gal. or less;
  • Any UST system that contains a de minimis concentration of regulated substances; and
  • Any emergency-spill or overflow-containment UST system that is emptied expeditiously after use.

Partially Exempt UST Systems

The following regulated UST systems are exempt from the Closure Rule, OAC 1301:7-9-12, but releases from these systems are regulated under the Corrective Action Rule, OAC 1301:7-9-13:

  • Wastewater treatment systems not regulated under Section 402 or 307(B) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 USCA 1251 and following) (e.g., some oil/water separators);
  • Any UST system containing radioactive material that are regulated under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 USCA 2014 and following);
  • Any UST system that is part of an emergency generator system at nuclear power generation facilities regulated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
  • Above ground storage tanks associated with airport hydrant fuel distribution systems; and
  • Above ground storage tanks associated with UST systems with field-constructed tanks.

Hazardous Substance USTs

USTs containing hazardous substances as listed in OAC 1301:7-9-03 are regulated by BUSTR for closure but not corrective actions. Please note that waste oil USTs containing a mixture of both regulated petroleum substances and chemicals of concern (COCs) listed as hazardous substances are regulated by BUSTR for both closure and corrective actions.

Heating Fuel USTs

Tanks used for storing “heating fuel for consumptive use on the premises where stored” (heating fuel tank exclusion) are exempt from the definition of USTs under state and federal regulations. The term “heating fuel” is defined in OAC 1301:7-9-02 as petroleum that is No. 1, No. 2, No. 4-light, No. 4- heavy, No. 5-light, No. 5-heavy, and No. 6 technical grades of fuel oil; other residual fuel oils (including, without limitation, Navy Special Fuel Oil and Bunker C); and other fuels when used as substitutes for one of these fuel oils. Heating fuel is typically used in the operation of heating equipment, boilers, or furnaces, and the petroleum product must be used for heating purposes to qualify for the heating fuel tank exemption under BUSTR policy.

Single Use USTs

Single use USTs that contain heating fuel which is consumed for heating purposes on the premises where stored are exempt from BUSTR regulation. The type of petroleum stored in the single use UST may be any of the fuel oils listed in the definition of “heating fuel” or any other petroleum product used as a substitute (e.g., #2 diesel fuel, kerosene, waste oil, etc.) as long as that product is only consumed for heating purposes on the premises where stored. Single use USTs used for heating activities qualify for the heating fuel exemption.  Emergency generators are not considered to be a heating activity. Therefore, a single use UST used to store diesel fuel, heating fuel, or any other type of petroleum product used by an emergency generator is regulated by BUSTR, and the heating fuel exemption does not apply.

Dual-Use USTs

Some USTs are used to store petroleum products for dual use activities (such as being used for heating purposes in a boiler or furnace, and also used in an emergency generator). The regulation of dual-use USTs will be based on the fuel stored. If the fuel stored in the UST is heating fuel, then the UST is not regulated. If the fuel stored in the UST is diesel, the UST is regulated. BUSTR may require documentation to justify the heating fuel exemption. Some heating fuel tanks may be regulated.

Airport Hydrant Fuel Distribution Systems and Field Constructed USTs

Airport Hydrant Systems

Airport hydrant systems (a.k.a. airport hydrant fuel distribution systems) are UST systems that fuel aircraft and operate under high pressure with large diameter piping that typically terminate into one or more hydrants or fill stands. An airport hydrant system begins where fuel enters one or more tanks from an external source such as a pipeline, barge, rail car, or other motor fuel carrier. In order for an airport hydrant system to be regulated by BUSTR, it must first meet the definition of an UST. An airport hydrant system is not regulated unless 10% or more of the total capacity of the system is beneath the surface of the ground. When performing the 10% calculation, all tanks and product piping must be included. This would include above ground tanks, underground tanks, field constructed tanks, or factory constructed tanks. Field constructed tanks that are part of the airport hydrant system are treated as part of the airport hydrant system and not independent UST systems that are field constructed. Since 1988, O/Os of airport hydrant systems have been required to comply only with BUSTR’s Corrective Action rule. As of September 1, 2017, however, O/Os of airport hydrant systems must also comply with several other of BUSTR’s rules, including but not limited to the Closure Assessment rule (OAC 1301:7-9-12).

UST Systems with Field Constructed Tanks

A tank constructed of concrete that is poured in the field, or a steel or fiberglass tank primarily fabricated in the field is considered field constructed. This would exclude any tank with components primarily manufactured in a factory with minimal assembly in the field. These tanks include those that are mounded or partially buried if 10% or more of the volume of the system is beneath the ground’s surface or otherwise covered with earthen material. Since 1988, O/Os of an UST associated with field constructed tanks have been required to comply only with BUSTR’s Corrective Action rule. As of September 1, 2017, however, the O/O must also comply with several other BUSTR’s rules, including, but not limited to, the Closure Assessment rule (OAC 1301:7-9-12). 

Wastewater Treatment Tank Systems (Oil/Water Separators)

BUSTR defines a “wastewater treatment tank” as a tank that is designed to receive and treat an influent wastewater through physical, chemical, or biological methods. For example, an oil/water separator (OWS) treats wastewater by separating the oil from the water, and therefore is a wastewater treatment tank system. In order for a wastewater treatment tank system (WWTTS) to be regulated by BUSTR, it must meet all the following criteria:

  • First, it must meet the definition of an underground storage tank in OAC 1301:7-9-02.
    • At least 10% of the total capacity of the UST system must be beneath the surface of the ground.
    • The WWTTS must contain an accumulation of regulated substances.
    • The WWTTS cannot be listed as excluded from the definition of UST in OAC 1301:7-9-02.
  • Second, the WWTTS cannot be listed as exempt in OAC 1301:7-9-01(D). Under this exemption, WWTTS tank or OWS tank that is regulated under sections 402 or 307(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is exempt from BUSTR regulations. An example of this exemption is an OWS located at a gas station or truck stop which discharges pollutants into a water body protected by the Clean Water Act. In this example, the facility must have a CWA discharge permit (NPDES permit or pre-treatment permit), and therefore, the OWS would be exempt from BUSTR regulations pursuant to OAC 1301:7-9-01(D).

However, if a WWTTS or OWS tank meets the definition of an UST, and if it is not regulated under the Clean Water Act, then it is regulated by BUSTR as specified in OAC 1301:7-9-01(E). Specifically, these WWTT/OWS systems must comply with the regulations in OAC 1301:7-9-13 (Corrective Actions) but not OAC 1301:7-9-12 (Closure Assessments). Examples of WWTTS or OWS tanks that are regulated by BUSTR include the following:

  • A WWTTS or OWS tank which does not discharge wastewater. These tanks receive, treat, and store wastewater until it is pumped out and hauled off-site.
  • A WWTTS or OWS tank that discharges wastewater but is not regulated under sections 402 or 307(b) of the CWA. For example, a WWTTS or OWS tank that discharges to the environment (such as an onsite retention pond) but not to waters of the State, would be subject to the BUSTR requirements in OAC 1301:7-9-13 (Corrective Actions).