NYMPP: Section 4 - Fueling
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New York Sea Grant's
Marina Pollution Prevention Web Site

Section 4:
- Fuel Tank Disposal

Potential Environmental Impacts

According to the EPA, the complex hydrocarbon compounds in petroleum products are toxic to marine life, upset fish reproduction and interfere with growth and reproduction of bottom dwelling organisms. Improperly disposed fuel tanks can also impact groundwater supplies and pose a serious fire safety risk.

Best Management Practices

Use, recondition or recycle all usable fuel before disposing of the tank.

Store tanks awaiting disposal away from ignition sources like heat or sparks.

Clearly label tanks "Waste Gasoline."

Regulatory Issues

If a portable or fixed tank for gasoline or an oil and gasoline mixture is empty, meaning drained of all material that can be removed from the container by normal methods like pouring or pumping, AND no more than one inch (or 3% by weight) of residue remains in the container, it can be disposed of as regular solid waste or can be recycled as scrap metal [40 CFR 261.7, click here]. If a tank is not empty, it must be disposed of as hazardous waste [40 CFR 262.11, click here].

Prior to closing underground storage tanks (UST) through removal or in place abandonment, you must notify your state environmental agency (in New York, the NYSDEC), usually within 30 days. You can either remove USTs and dispose of them as scrap metal, or you can remove the product and fill the tank with inert solid material, such as sand or concrete slurry, and leave it in place following the provisions specified in the National Fire Protection Association Code 30. Representative soil sampling of the site is also required. While specific state requirements may vary, this usually includes sampling each of the four sidewalls and the bottom of the tank excavation along the centerline of the excavated UST. Samples need to be taken from soils below the level of the bottom of the UST. Owners and/or operators must maintain records of the sample results. For more information on UST closure in New York, click here.

If there is a stormwater discharge from your facility you may have to register for a General Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activity ("Storm Water General Permit"). For more information on storm water permitting in New York, click here.