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Petroleum storage

Petroleum storage tank being installed

UVA Facilities Management is responsible for ensuring that petroleum products stored on Grounds are done so in a manner that is in conformance with current regulations, protective of the environment, and above all, accomplished safely. Facilities Management is ultimately responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of most tanks on Grounds.

All tank modifications, installations, removals, and in place closures require a building permit issued by UVA’s Building Code Official. Facilities Management is responsible for filing Virginia Department of Environmental Quality required tank registrations for regulated tanks.

Regulatory summary

Petroleum storage systems are regulated both by the federal government via the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state government via the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The university has various aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), underground storage tanks (USTs), emergency generators, transformers, and drums that are subject to these regulations.

SPCC plans

The Federal Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures regulations, 40 CFR 112, specifies the requirements for facilities needing to prepare a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plans. SPCC Plans are required for facilities storing a total of more than 1,320 gallons of oil or oil products above grounds of or 42,000 gallons underground. Oil or oil products, include but are not limited to gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, animal fats, and vegetable oils. SPCC regulations include any container storing 55 gallons or more of these products. All of these petroleum storage containers are inspected monthly to make sure that all components are working properly and that the equipment is in excellent condition.

The University of Virginia (UVA) main campus and proximate locations in Charlottesville, Virginia are subject to these requirements. UVA’s College at Wise is also required to maintain a SPCC Plan.

View a copy of the UVA SPCC Plan
View a copy of the UVA College at Wise SPCC Plan
(for security reasons, the locations of the individual tanks are not included)

How to respond to a spill

As soon as a spill or release is discovered, the initial action should be to protect personal safety. If safe to do so, observers should take action to prevent the pollutant from entering nearby storm drains, stormwater drop inlets, or local waterways. Ideally the person observing the spill should take action to prevent further spillage and to confine the spilled material.

Please follow the procedures outlined in the Spill Response SOP in order to provide further spill control on site. General spill response training is provided to key UVA Staff located in the areas where petroleum products are stored and used.

Emergency response contacts

UVA/local protection agencies

  • Environmental Health and Safety – (434) 982-4911
  • UVA SPCC program manager – Kristin Carter – (434) 982-5034
  • UVA Facilities Management Service Desk – (434) 924-1777

If a danger to the public health or safety exists, immediately notify the following:

  • University of Virginia Police Department – 911
  • City of Charlottesville Fire Department – 911

Other Petroleum Storage Tank Requirements

Regulated USTs

Under the federal regulations, 40 CFR 280, all UST systems used to store motor fuels must meet specific requirements designed to reduce the likelihood of a release to the environment. At UVA, the tanks covered under this regulation include the motor fuel USTs operated by Parking and Transportation and USTs serving emergency generators across Grounds. Virginia DEQ implements and enforces this regulation under 9VAC25-580. Additional information on regulated UST requirements can be found in the Regulated UST Requirements document. The DEQ conducts routine inspections to insure compliance. Because these requirements generally exceed the requirements of the SPCC Plan, the EPA does not require regulated USTs to be covered under the facility SPCC Plan. However, for continuity UVA does include regulated USTs in the SPCC Plan. Because these requirements generally exceed the requirements of the SPCC Plan, the EPA states that these regulated USTs do not have to be covered under the facility SPCC Plan, however, for continuity and management purposes, UVA does include these tanks in the implementation of the SPCC Plan.

USTs that are not regulated are used to store heating oil for use at the building where the tank is located. Further information can be found in the Unregulated UST Maintenance document.

State regulated ASTs

Under 9VAC25-91-10 et seq. the DEQ regulates individual petroleum ASTs with capacities of 660 gallons or more at facilities with an aggregate storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons. The level to which a facility is regulated depends on the total volume capacity available at that facility. Facilities with an aggregate regulated AST capacity below 25,000 gallons are only required to meet the provisions of Part II of the regulations including registration, notification, and closure requirements. UVA falls into this category. Emergency generator tanks that are part of the structure of the emergency generator, otherwise known as belly tanks or base tanks, are currently excluded from the aggregate AST capacity calculation according to 9VAC25-91-30.A.14. The few regulated aboveground storage tanks at UVA are those that are stand-alone tanks that serve an emergency generator, but are not integral to an emergency generator. Any tank that is integral to an emergency generator is not regulated by DEQ.

Tank Removal or Abandonment in Place

An underground storage tank being dug out by a backhoe operator

A building permit issued by the UVA Building Official is required for all tank closures. Removal of a tank from the ground is the preferred means of closure. Soil samples and notifications to DEQ are required for the removal or abandonment of all regulated tanks. Unregulated tanks only require soil sampling and DEQ notification in the event there is evidence of a release. Where it is deemed impractical by the UVA Code Official and Facilities Management to remove a tank, a tank can be abandoned in place. For information on reasons why a tank can be abandoned in place and steps that are required to be taken to abandon a tank in place are provided in the Abandonment In Place guidance document. All contents must be removed from the tanks and the lines prior to removal or abandonment.