Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) Laws and Regulations


A complete version of the law that governs underground storage tanks (USTs) is available in the U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 82, Subchapter IX. This law incorporates amendments to Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as well as the UST provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and gives EPA the authority to regulate USTs.

The UST provisions of the Energy Policy Act focus on preventing releases. Among other things, it expands eligible uses of the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund and includes provisions regarding inspections, operator training, delivery prohibition, secondary containment and financial responsibility, and cleanup of releases that contain oxygenated fuel additives.

The LUST provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $200 million to assess and clean up leaks from underground storage tanks. The vast majority of the money is allocated to states and territories in the form of assistance agreements to address shovel-ready sites within their jurisdictions.


  • EPA provides basic information regarding the regulatory process.
  • The Office of the Law Revision Counsel  prepares and publishes the United States Code, which is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States.
  • Legislative information from the Library of Congress is available in the searchable database, Thomas.


EPA issued UST regulations, which are divided into three sections: technical requirements, financial responsibility, and state program approval objectives.

Industry Codes and Standards for UST Systems

Federal UST regulations often require that industry codes and standards be followed (where applicable) to ensure that the UST system is properly designed, constructed, installed, and maintained. For example, all UST systems must be designed, constructed, and protected from corrosion in accordance with a code of practice developed by a nationally recognized association or independent testing laboratory. EPA has also included the use of industry codes for other sections of the rule, such as upgrading, repairing, and closing USTs. Industry codes and standards provide a means for improving methods or developing alternative methods of UST system management in a timely manner. The UST regulations provide a flexible approach to code-making by relying on nationally recognized organizations to develop new and improved codes and practices. EPA realizes that industry codes and standards may be updated periodically. EPA regulations do not require the use of a particular issue of any code. EPA encourages owners/operators to use the version of the code or standard that is current at the time the activity occurs.

Note that industry codes and standards are copyrighted and are available only from the developing organization. These codes and standards must be purchased directly from the developing organization.

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Codes and Standards Subject Areas

Listed below are some industry codes and standards. Please be aware that there may be other codes or standards not listed here that may be used to meet regulatory requirements. Also be aware that inclusion on the list below does not necessarily imply EPA endorsement of either the code or the developing organization. You should refer to the current UST regulations to determine if a code of practice is required to be followed in order to meet regulatory requirements. 

  • Assessing Tank Integrity, Repairing Tanks, and Interior Lining Of Tanks

    API Recommended Practice 1631, "Interior Lining of Underground Storage Tanks"
    ASTM G 158, "Standard Guide for Three Methods of Assessing Buried Steel Tanks"
    ASTM E 1990, "Standard Guide for Performing Evaluations of Underground Storage Tank Systems for Operational Conformance with 40 CFR, Part 280 Regulations"
    KWA, "Recommended Practice for Inspecting Buried Lined Steel Tanks Using a Video Camera"
    NFPA 326, "Standard for the Safeguarding of Tanks and Containers for Entry, Cleaning, or Repair"
    NLPA Standard 631, "Entry, Cleaning, Interior Inspection, Repair, and Lining of Underground Storage Tanks"

  • Closure

    API Recommended Practice 1604, "Closure of Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks"
    Corrective Action
    API Publication 1628, "A Guide to the Assessment and Remediation of Underground Petroleum Releases"
    API Publication 1629, "Guide for Assessing and Remediating Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Soils"
    ASTM E 1599, "Standard Guide for Corrective Action for Petroleum Releases"
    ASTM E 1739, "Standard Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action Applied at Petroleum Release Sites"
    ASTM E 1912, "Standard Guide for Accelerated Site Characterization for Confirmed or Suspected Petroleum Releases"
    ASTM E 1943, "Standard Guide for Remediation of Ground Water by Natural Attenuation at Petroleum Release Sites"
    NFPA 329, "Recommended Practice for Handling Releases of Flammable and Combustible Liquids and Gases"

  • Corrosion Protection

    API Recommended Practice 1632, "Cathodic Protection of Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks and Piping Systems"
    NACE RP 0169, "Standard Recommended Practice: Control of External Corrosion on Underground or Submerged Metallic Piping Systems"
    NACE RP 0285, "Standard Recommended Practice: Corrosion Control of Underground Storage Tank Systems by Cathodic Protection"
    NACE Test Method TM 0101, "Measurement Techniques Related to Criteria for Cathodic Protection on Underground or Submerged Metallic Tank Systems"
    NACE Test Method TM 0497, "Measurement Techniques Related to Criteria for Cathodic Protection on Underground or Submerged Metallic Piping Systems"
    STI R051, "Cathodic Protection Testing Procedures for sti-P3 USTs"
    STI R892, "Recommended Practice for Corrosion Protection of Underground Piping Networks Associated with Liquid Storage and Dispensing Systems"
    STI-R-972, "Recommended Practice for the Installation of Supplemental Anodes for STI-P3 USTs"
    UL 1746, Standard for Safety, "External Corrosion Protection Systems for Steel Underground Storage Tanks"

  • Filling Practices

    API Recommended Practice 1007, "Loading and Unloading of MC306/DOT 406 Cargo Tank Motor Vehicles"
    NFPA 385, "Standard for Tank Vehicles for Flammable and Combustible Liquids"

  • General UST Topics

    API Recommended Practice 1637, "Using the API Color-Symbol System to Mark Equipment and Vehicles for Product Identification at Service Stations and Distribution Terminals"
    API Publication 2005, "Service Station Safety"
    API Recommended Practice 1621, "Bulk Liquid Stock Control at Retail Outlets"
    API Recommended Practice 1626, "Storing and Handling Ethanol and Gasoline-Ethanol Blends at Distribution Terminals and Filling Stations"
    API Recommended Practice 1627, "Storage and Handling of Gasoline-Methanol/Cosolvent Blends at Distribution Terminals and Service Stations"
    ASTM E 2733, "Standard Guide for Investigation of Equipment Problems and Releases for Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Systems"
    NFPA 30A, "Automotive and Marine Service Station Code"
    PEI RP900, "Recommended Practices for the Inspection and Maintenance of UST Systems"
    STI Publication, "Keeping Water out of Your Storage System"

  • Installation

    API Recommended Practice 1615, "Installation of Underground Petroleum Storage Systems"
    NFPA 30, "Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code"
    PEI RP100, "Recommended Practices for Installation of Underground Liquid Storage Systems"

  • Release Detection

    ASTM E 1430, "Standard Guide for Using Release Detection Devices with Underground Storage Tanks"
    ASTM E 1526, "Standard Practice for Evaluating the Performance of Release Detection Systems for Underground Storage Tank Systems"

  • Tanks and Piping

    STI-R922, "Specification for Permatank"
    STI-P3, "STI-P3 Specification and Manual for External Corrosion Protection of Underground Steel Storage Tanks"
    STI-F894, "ACT-100 Specification for External Corrosion Protection of FRP Composite Steel Underground Storage Tanks"
    STI-F961, "ACT-100-U Specification for External Corrosion Protection of Composite Steel Underground Storage Tanks"
    UL 58, Standard for Safety: "Steel Underground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids"
    UL 971, Standard for Safety: "Non-Metallic Underground Piping for Flammable Liquids"
    UL 1316, Standard for Safety: "Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Underground Storage Tanks for Petroleum Products"

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Codes and Standards Developing Organizations

The following links exit the site Exit
API -- American Petroleum Institute 
ASTM International -- formerly American Society for Testing and Materials 
KWA -- Ken Wilcox Associates, Inc. 
NACE International (formerly the National Association of Corrosion Engineers) 
NFPA -- National Fire Protection Association 
NLPA -- National Leak Prevention Association  
PEI -- Petroleum Equipment Institute 
STI -- Steel Tank Institute 
UL -- Underwriters Laboratories Inc.