Petroleum Equipment Institute Seeking Comments on Underground Storage Tank Inspection

The Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) is asking for comments on "Recommended Practices for the Inspection and Maintenance of Underground Storage Tank Systems." This latest recommended practices draft was produced by PEI's Underground Storage Tank (UST) System Inspection and Maintenance Committee and is intended to provide a basic reference that consolidates information concerning the proper inspection and maintenance of UST equipment.

The recommended practices apply to USTs and associated equipment intended to store and dispense gasoline, diesel and related petroleum products at vehicle-fueling facilities. The equipment covered includes all below-grade, liquid- and vapor-handling components accessible from grade over or near the top of the storage tank.

The information contained in the Inspection and Maintenance of Underground Storage Tank Systems draft has been assembled from published and unpublished sources provided by equipment manufacturers, installers and end-users. The intent is to provide guidance to facility owners on how to properly inspect and maintain UST systems by describing recommended practices that promote proper inspection, operation and maintenance of underground storage systems; enhance the longevity and trouble-free performance of underground storage tank equipment; promote fire prevention and storage system safety; promote protection of human health and the environment; promote regulatory compliance and reduce liability associated with the operation of underground storage systems; and promote early identification of potential problems with equipment.

Over the years, USTs have evolved from simple steel cylinders with a few piping connections to carefully engineered tanks with a number of electronically controlled, electrically operated and mechanically sophisticated components. For a modern UST system to operate successfully and safely, numerous components from a variety of manufacturers must be properly installed, inspected and maintained.

The increased sophistication of underground storage systems largely has resulted from the increasing awareness of the environmental contamination often associated with these systems, and the increasingly large throughputs common at today’s retail fuel outlets. Due to these factors, it is no longer acceptable to simply bury a storage tank and forget it. Constant vigilance with regard to detecting leaks and anticipating operational problems are hallmarks of today’s successful storage system operators.

The recommended practices described in the draft represent a synthesis of industry procedures, manufacturers’ recommendations and regulatory standards relating to underground storage system equipment. The practices are the consensus recommendations of the PEI UST System Inspection and Maintenance Committee. The committee is made up of representatives from petroleum marketing, equipment manufacturing, service and installation contracting companies, as well as regulatory agencies.

A printed copy of the draft will be mailed to all PEI members in the United States and Canada, along with a comment form. However, anyone interested in reviewing the draft can download a copy and submit comments directly from PEI’s Web site at http://www.pei.org/rp900. Comments are due to PEI by Wednesday, Sept. 26.

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