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How to Prepare for an Underground Storage Tank Investigation

Find out how and when an investigator will contact you, how often TCEQ inspects underground storage tanks (USTs), what to expect during an inspection, and other investigation information.

Investigation Schedule

The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires us to inspect facilities with underground storage tanks (USTs) at least once every three years. Typically, we will contact you to schedule these Energy Act focused investigations and send you a list of items we plan to review.

We use the phone number(s) and email address(es) you provided on your registration and self-certification form, so make sure the information we have is correct and up to date.

All underground tanks registered with us are investigated on this schedule, so expect us to contact you about your UST at least once every three years.

However, some investigations may occur any time without advance notice. These investigations are typically in response to:

  • Complaints.
  • Enforcement cases.
  • Other reasons that call for an unannounced investigation.

What to Expect

The information and equipment reviewed will depend on the type of investigation or nature of the complaint. In general, you need to show you meet all operational and recordkeeping requirements.


If any violations were discovered during the inspection, you will receive a Notice of Violation (NOV) letter that lists them. The letter includes a due date for your response and describes any documents you need to show to return to compliance.

If we find serious violations or you do not correct those listed on your NOV by the due date, we may refer you to enforcement. If that happens, you will receive a Notice of Enforcement (NOE) letter. Find more information on the phases of action on our webpage The Enforcement Process: from Violations to Actions.

Field citations

Field citations are meant to promote a quick resolution for any of the field citation-eligible violations documented during our investigations. They also offer reduced penalty fees compared to the penalties calculated through the traditional enforcement process.

Courtesy Inspections and On-site Help

Inviting an investigator to your facility for a courtesy inspection may result in them citing you for a violation.

Our confidential Small Business and Local Government Assistance (SBLGA) program does not offer courtesy inspections, but we can meet with you to discuss your requirements and questions.

More Information

See the following resources for more on PST rules and requirements: