How to meet fuel containment regs
Mike Gartner, Mandan, N.D., has placed his fuel tanks in an 8-by-20-foot fiberglass cattle-watering tank that’s 3 feet deep to comply with new U.S. EPA oil spill containment regulations.
• Mike Gartner, Mandan, N.D., installed a fiberglass tank to contain fuel spills.
• The tank puts Gartner in compliance with new U.S. EPA regulations.
• The tank and certification for the project cost about $3,000.
As of November, farms and ranches established before August 2002 that have more than 1,320 gallons of fuel and/or oil in aboveground storage are required to have a containment system to prevent leaks or spills from getting into ground or surface waters.
If the farm or ranch was started after August 2002, the deadline for compliance is May 2013. Should Gartner’s fuel tanks leak or overflow, he’ll be able to pump the spilled fuel into a tank and take it to a disposal site.
The rules are pretty specific about how big a containment tank must be, says Roxanne Johnson, North Dakota State University Extension water-quality associate.
The secondary containment must be large enough to hold the capacity of the largest tank plus an amount for precipitation and displacement from the other tanks within the containment system, she says. A document online at www.ndsu.edu/waterquality can help you determine secondary tank size.
Gartner uses a submersible pump to remove the water that collects in the containment tank after a rain. He pumps the water into a spray tank. When enough water has been accumulated, he sprays the rainwater on the gravel road in front of the farm to keep down the dust.
A volunteer fireman, Gartner also mounted a fire extinguisher on a pole near the fuel tanks.
To comply with the new oil spill regulations, Gartner had an engineering firm certify that the containment system was adequate for his fuel storage. The whole project cost about $3,000.
Gartner figures it is money well-spent. He doesn’t want any fuel getting into the nearby creek. Not only would it harm the environment, but also his pocketbook. Under the new rules, he’d be responsible for paying to clean up the spill.
NO SPILL: A red fiberglass water tank will contain fuel that is spilled from or leaked out of the fuel storage tanks. The tank in the foreground holds rainwater that is collected in the tank and then pumped in a spray tank and applied to the gravel road.
This article published in the November, 2011 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.