Above Ground Petroleum Storage

LAFD CUPA 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.

Effectve January 1, 2008, Assembly Bill (AB) 1130 (Laird) transferred the responsibility for the implementation, enforcement and administration of APSA with the UPAs. Assemblymember John Laird's letter, dated September 7, 2011, 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 the 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) 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 local 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 facilities, specified state-occupied facilities, and state institutions throughout California, contact the CAL FIRE-OSFM Fire & Life Safety Division.

For information on specific APSA tank facilities or a list of APSA tank facilities, visit the California Regulated Site Portal.