New Federal Environmental Regulations
Over the last number of years, Environment Canada has consulted with industry groups, First Nations, federal government departments, and product suppliers in order to develop new regulations regarding petroleum storage tanks.
Environment Canada estimates that there are approximately 10,000 storage tank systems within federal jurisdiction, and that approximately 3000 of them are over 20 years old and do not have any leak detection systems, secondary containment systems, nor any corrosion protection. There is an environmental threat due to possible corrosion of these storage tanks. Therefore, in order to help protect the health and safety of the general public and the environment, on June 12, 2008, Environment Canada adopted the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations to govern storage tank systems that are under federal jurisdiction. These new regulations apply to storage tank systems that are owned or operated by federal departments, agencies, boards or properties that are owned by the Crown including railways, port authorities, and airports. They also include all Aboriginal lands, including those operated by band councils, or owned by private companies or individuals on the Aboriginal lands.
The new regulations will affect both aboveground and underground petroleum storage tanks, their piping and associated equipment which has a capacity of more than 230 litres on federal and Aboriginal lands. The new regulation does NOT apply to the following:
• indoor storage tanks
• pressurized tanks, like those storing propane
• mobile tanks such as those on the back of a pickup or other trucks
• aboveground tanks with a total capacity of 2500 litres, or less, and are connected to a heating appliance or an emergency generator
• tanks governed by the National Energy Board
Tank owners have 2-4 years to meet requirements of the regulations, however some will take effect immediately.
An essential new requirement that existing storage tank owners, as outlined above, are required to register their tank systems with Environment Canada by June 12, 2009. New installations of storage tank systems must be registered prior to the first product fill. Also, as of June 12, 2010, a person delivering petroleum products will not be able to fill tanks which do not have an Environment Canada Identification number visible on or near the system. A delivery person is also required to inform the owner/department of any spill, or evidence of leaks or spills.
Any existing system that has a single-walled underground tank must have a third-party precision leak test done by June 12, 2010. Upon completion of the original precision leak test, the owner/operator shall set up ongoing leak detection or monitoring program, see the regulation for three acceptable monitoring options. Single-walled underground tanks that do not meet requirements in the new regulations must be removed no later than June 12, 2012 (see the regulation for details on the two exemptions).
Any person doing work on petroleum storage tanks, such as installation and removal of tanks, must be licensed through the authority having jurisdiction within the province where the work is being done, licenses through the Canadian Petroleum Contractor’s Association are also recognized. Now that the federal government is referring to the CPCA regarding accredited licenses, this should help provincial bodies to adopt/accept CPCA certification for its members.
These new regulations for federal properties and Aboriginal lands are in place to ensure that the environment, and the general public, is as safe as possible from contamination due to corrosion of petroleum storage tanks. For more information on these new regulations, please refer to Environment Canada’s website (see link below).