Diesel Fuel Tank Requirements

Written by erika becklin
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Diesel Fuel Tank Requirements
Above ground diesel storage tanks are regulated by the EPA. (diesel storage tank image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com)

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a million gallons of water can become contaminated from just one gallon of oil. To avoid such contamination, the EPA has several regulations in place for above ground and underground oil storage tanks, including those that hold diesel fuel. For vehicular diesel fuel tanks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have authority over original and auxiliary tanks for commercial and non-commercial vehicles. Other federal and state regulations may apply for other types of diesel fuel tanks. Also, additional state regulations may vary for each type of tank.

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SPCC and Storage Tanks

The EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulation mandates that facilities which use storage tanks for oil, including diesel fuel, follow certain guidelines and develop a plan to avoid oil spills and leakage into nearby water supplies. The regulation applies to above ground tanks with capacities above 1,320 gallons and underground tanks above 42,000 gallons that pose a threat of leakage into the water supply. The SPCC regulation requires these facilities use: fuel tanks made for that specific purpose, overfill protection, secondary containment for the tanks, and secondary containment for transfer areas. Also, inspection of all tank and system components must be performed periodically. The facility must also develop and have certified an SPCC plan that outlines its procedures for spill prevention, containment and control.

Underground Storage Tanks

Underground storage tanks are subject to further EPA regulations under 40 CFR Parts 280, 282,50-282.105 and 302.4. Part 280 specifies the extensive requirements for underground tanks from construction, to operations, to reporting and more. Part 302.4 outlines further reporting procedures, other than those required in the SPCC act, regarding fuel leaks and spills. Finally, parts 282.50 through 282.105 list the approved state EPA programs and its authority over underground storage tank regulation.

Commercial Vehicles

Part 393.67 of the FMCSA regulations requires diesel fuel tanks for commercial vehicles, including auxiliary tanks, meet certain construction standards, bear proper labelling and certification and pass tests for leakage and combustion. These requirements specify construction standards for joints, fittings, threads, drains, fill pipes, venting, overfill prevention, and pressure resistance. This part also requires that tanks be marked with month, year and location of manufacture, as well as the name of the manufacturer. Tanks must also pass the safety venting system test---the tank is covered in an open flame to test the operation of the system---and a leakage test where the tank is rotated to check for leaks. Side-mounted tanks must pass the drop test and fill-pipe test to check for leaks resulting from impact. During the drop test the tanks is dropped on its corner---for the fill-pipe test, it is dropped on the fill-pipe---and must not leak more than one ounce per minute. In addition to the requirements in this part, the tank must meet the requirements from part 393.65 for all fuel systems.

Diesel Fuel Tank Requirements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates diesel fuel tanks on commercial vehicles. (Truck image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com)

All Vehicles

FMSCA part 393.65 sets the requirements for all vehicle fuel tanks, including diesel tanks and auxiliary tanks on commercial and non-commercial vehicles. These regulations specify permissible locations for tanks, installation requirements, and specifications for fuel supply, fuel lines, the selection control valve and the excess flow valve. Additionally, vehicles weighing less than 4536 Kilogram must meet NHTSA's requirements in standard 571.301 for fuel systems integrity, which requires tanks meet standards for leakage and combustibility under different impacts.

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