Skip to main content

System Status: 

Storage Tank Requirements

See requirements for aboveground and underground storage tanks on university property, including fuel dispensing tanks.

Federal, state, and local laws regulate petroleum storage tanks (with a capacity of 55 gallons or more) to protect the environment and human health from damaging leaks, spills, and vapor release due to deterioration, defects in design or installation, operator error, or equipment failure.

Aboveground storage tanks (ASTs)

Aboveground storage tanks are substantially or totally above the surface of the ground.

ASTs with a capacity of 55 gallons or more must be managed in accordance with UC San Diego’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan to prevent spills and promptly respond to accidental releases.

For information on the training, inspection, operation, maintenance, and emergency preparedness required for ASTs, please review UC San Diego’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.

New AST installations

Underground storage tanks (USTs)

Construction, installation, operation, repairs, and removal of underground storage tank systems is regulated to protect groundwater and human health. Follow these requirements for USTs:

New UST installations


  • Ensure employees responsible for the operation or use of a UST system receive this training:
    • All employees: Annual system specific training, presented by a certified "Designated UST Operator"
    • New employees: System specific training within 30 days of starting work
  • Document all training, including the topic, date, names, and signatures of personnel trained.


  • Perform and document these specific inspections:
    • Daily/weekly
      • Inspect aboveground piping daily when USTs are in operation, and weekly when they are not.
      • Inspect the continuous electronic monitoring system daily if the monitoring system is in an area not routinely manned, and weekly if the control panel area is manned.
      • Inspect UST fill ports and spill containment boxes on a weekly basis and immediately following a fuel delivery or rain.
    • Monthly
      • Have UST system inspections conducted monthly by a state-certified “Designated UST Operator.”
      • Document monthly inspections on form HM-9175 (PDF), the Designated UST Operator Monthly Visual Inspection Checklist form.

Certifications and testing

  • Conduct and keep records of these tests and certifications readily available for inspectors:
    • Have USTs, electronic monitoring systems, and spill containment boxes certified every year by an authorized third party.
    • Test secondary containment every 3 years.

Monitoring system alarm procedures

If the monitoring system goes into alarm, do the following:

  1. Confirm there is a fuel leak or water infiltration.
  2. If there is a fuel leak or release, report it immediately:
    • During business hours: Environment, Health & Safety (858) 534-3660
    • After business hours: UC San Diego Police (858) 534-HELP (4357)
  3. Record in the tank monitoring log the date, suspected leaking component, actions taken to fix the problem, and the repair date.
    • Important: Document all alarms and actions in the log.
  4. Dispose of unusable product or contaminated water as hazardous waste.

Emergency Response Plan

  • Maintain a copy of the UST Emergency Response Plan at the UST location at all times. This plan identifies how an unauthorized release will be handled and must be approved by the County of San Diego Hazardous Materials Division.
  • Contact EH&S Environmental Affairs for a copy of the UST Emergency Response Plan for a particular site.

Regulations and policies

Questions? Contact EH&S Environmental Affairs.