Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act
CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) program element of the Unified Program.
The original aboveground storage of petroleum statute was adopted in 1989 (Statutes of 1989, chapter 1383, section 1). Under the 1989 law, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards) were responsible for the administration of the law and the Regional Water Boards were responsible for inspection of the regulated facilities and enforcement of the law. The Unified Program Agencies’ (UPA) role under the original law and during the course of conducting Unified Program inspections was to determine whether a tank facility had prepared a Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan and to refer noncompliance to the Regional Water Boards. As a result of the fiscal year 2002-2003 fiscal crisis, the State Water Board’s resources for this program were eliminated as a cost saving measure and all inspection and enforcement activities were halted.
Effective January 1, 2008, Assembly Bill (AB) 1130 (Laird) transferred the responsibility for the implementation, enforcement and administration of APSA with the UPAs. Assembly member John Laird's letter, dated September 11, 2007, provided clarification on the nature of the program being transferred from the state to the UPAs. On September 25, 2012, AB 1566 (Wieckowski) authorized the CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal the oversight responsibility of APSA effective January 1, 2013.
APSA regulates tank facilities that are subject to the federal SPCC rule or tank facilities with an aggregate storage capacity of 1,320 gallons or more of petroleum in aboveground storage containers or tanks with a shell capacity equal to or greater than 55 gallons. APSA also regulates tank facilities with less than 1,320 gallons of petroleum if they have one or more stationary tanks in an underground area (TIUGA) with a shell capacity of 55 gallons or more of petroleum, and, in this case, only the TIUGAs are subject to APSA, although there are exceptions.
Under APSA, petroleum means crude oil, or a fraction thereof, that is liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute pressure. Examples of petroleum under APSA include crude oil, gasoline, diesel, biofuel blends, motor oil, and used oil. Liquefied petroleum gas or propane, liquefied natural gas, hot mix asphalt, and asphalt cement do not meet the definition of petroleum under APSA. APSA does not regulate non-petroleum products.
Tank facilities with 10,000 gallons or more of total aboveground petroleum storage capacity are inspected at least once every three years by an UPA and have reporting and fee requirements, while tank facilities with an aboveground petroleum storage capacity of less than 10,000 gallons have reporting and fee requirements. With the exception to conditionally-exempt tank facilities, all tank facilities must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan that meets current federal SPCC rule requirements. Conditionally-exempt tank facilities are not required to prepare an SPCC Plan under APSA if they meet certain conditions, but conditionally-exempt tank facilities still have reporting and fee requirements. Contact the local UPA for any additional or more stringent requirements.
In the event of a petroleum release or spill from an APSA tank facility, contact the California Office of Emergency Services (State Warning Center 1-800-852-7550) and the UPA or 911. Cleanup or abatement may be required.
For fire code requirements on aboveground petroleum storage tank installation, alteration, abandonment or removal, contact the authority having jurisdiction, which is typically a fire code official at a city or county fire or building department. For aboveground petroleum storage tank installation, alteration, abandonment or removal at state-owned or leased facilities, specified state-occupied facilities, and state institutions throughout California, contact the CAL FIRE-OSFM Fire & Life Safety Division.
Laws and Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Information Bulletin on Underground Storage Tanks Prohibited for Use as Aboveground Storage Tanks and Addendum (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Information)
Steel Tank Institute SP001 Monthly and Annual Inspection Checklists (Refer to Question 5)
USEPA SPCC Resources
A Unified Program Agency inspector is required to complete and pass the initial aboveground storage tank inspector training program prior to inspecting a tank facility for compliance with the SPCC Plan requirements of APSA (Health and Safety Code, Section 25270.5).
The APSA Basic Inspector Training is limited to Unified Program Agency staff.
If you work for a Unified Program Agency and are interested in the training, send an email to email@example.com. Be sure to copy your supervisor or manager and include the following information in your email:
- First and Last Name
- Name of your Unified Program Agency
- Email address
- Phone number
The California CUPA Forum provides various training through their annual conference and maintains a library of training videos (enter APSA or SPCC in search field). There are also APSA and SPCC training videos posted by the California CUPA Forum on YouTube.
For the agriculture community, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an SPCC Train-the-Trainer for agriculture.
Steel Tank Institute-Steel Plate Fabricators Association (STI/SPFA) also offers various training. Visit the STI/SPFA education and training website for more information.
Information on hazardous materials spills or releases from facilities or locations/areas that have been reported to the State Warning Center may be found on the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) HazMat Spill Release Reporting Database