Question about fuel tanks on the property

Michael Moore is looking for information regarding fuel tanks on his property. This comment came in response to a June 2004 story.

“I have three tanks in my back yard. When I purchased the new home in 2002, I was told that the tanks in the yard were for my personal use. I found out last winter that the tanks help supply the neighborhood. There are three tanks in my back yard that or a 1,000 gallons each. They are about 25 feet away from my house and about 10 feet from the property line. Where should I go to get the regulations and answers to this problem? Even though the state has their own set of regulations, can they operate outside federal regulation?”

Feedback is certainly welcome.

6 replies on “Question about fuel tanks on the property”

I have 30 years experience in fuel tanks. There is no uniform answer. Local Governments often make rules which superceed State regs. The best way to start is to visit the local Fire Department. Gasoline comes under their jurisdiction and often a City will ask the fire department to be the point of contact. The local building department will most likely be where you get your permit. I suggest you get a contractor who does tank installation work. The “Closure” of an underground storage tank installation is tricky and if not done correctly may adversely effect your property value. Research this and know before you allow anyone to dig. Good luck.

While having the tanks legal is important, be careful when asking about what needs to be done. It is possible that the tanks were to code when initially installed, but new requirements may put you out of compliance. Bringing them into compliance might cost BIG $$$$. So…. be careful you don’t say something, to the wrong person, that you may put you into a awkward position.

You don’t say what is in these tanks. Every thing depends on knowing what they contain and what they are used for. For example are they Propane?, hydropneumatic?, gasoline?, Diesel?

It matters if they are underground or aboveground. And it matters if they are for dispensing (like at a gas station) or for storage only. In Illinois if aboveground or underground the configuration, distances from structures, water wells, etc. are regulated by the Office of the State Fire Marshall. If they are strictly for your own use that is one thing. If ANYONE else withdraws fuel for their use it is something else. There also are regulations (new ones) that require the owner/operator to be trained and certified if they are dispensing tanks. Before you talk to anyone I suggest you do a little internet research at the website of your state Fire Marshall and also your state EPA (DNR, DEQ, whatever they call themselves) to see where you stand under regulation. If you want to spend money getting an opinion I suggest you contact any of the tank contractors that serve gas stations for their needs. Good luck.

These tanks might eventually become a problem with current regulations when your property eventually is for sale. A better way to go would be to buy a surplus aviation fuel truck, and, keep it in a shed on your property. In the meantime, don’t make waves, because the “government” has more money than you do. They also don’t ever have to earn any money either.

I know this is an old post, but it is still worth discussing. One issue you have now is you must disclose that there are or were fuel tanks on your property. As said before, there are big costs if the tanks are underground – in many cases more than the property is worth. Be very careful who you discuss this with. If it were me, I would find a good land development attorney and figure out your options. Many times having an underground tank will limit or disqualify the site for financing. Above ground tanks are better, but not much. Best of luck to anyone dealing with this issue.

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