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New Program Regulating the Safety of Aboveground Storage Vessels

New program regulating the safety of aboveground storage vessels with a capacity of 21,000 gallons (500 barrels) or more at petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, and bulk storage terminals. Process for providing input on new rules that create the Aboveground Storage Vessel Safety Program.

HOT The rule proposal for Senate Bill 900/Performance Standards for Safety at Storage Vessels Program is now available.

Types of Aboveground Storage Vessels Affected by the New Rules

Senate Bill 900 amended the Texas Water Code by establishing the ASVS Program and new rules that apply to aboveground storage vessels (storage tanks) that meet the following criteria:

  • are located at a petrochemical plant, a petroleum refinery, or a bulk storage terminal,
  • have a capacity of 21,000 gallons (500 barrels) or more,
  • store a regulated substance as defined by TWC Section 26.343 , and
  • are constructed with non-earthen materials.

Your aboveground storage tank may already be regulated by other state or federal air, water, and waste regulations and you must continue to comply with those regulations. This new ASVS Program specifically concerns safety performance standards and compliance, in addition to any other applicable state or federal regulations. To review the requirements for aboveground storage tanks containing petroleum products, see the Petroleum Storage Tanks page.

Exemptions from the ASVS Program

The following aboveground tanks are not considered storage vessels:

  • Used for or associated with producing or gathering crude oil or natural gas.
  • Part of a stormwater or wastewater collection system.
  • Flow-through process tanks, including pressure or process vessels and oil and water separators.
  • Operated above 0.5 PSI.
  • Heated tanks.
  • Intermediate bulk containers that may be moved within a facility.
  • Regulated under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
  • Used to store products regulated under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
  • Used for managing leachate, methane gas, or methane gas condensate, unless used for storing a regulated substance.
  • Used to store liquefied petroleum.
  • Regulated under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Goals of the Rule Change

TCEQ must establish the ASVS Program by Sept. 1, 2023. The new rules will be in Title 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 338. The ASVS Program goals include:

  • Protect groundwater and surface water in the event of an accident or natural disaster.
  • Identify new safety elements that TCEQ must include in the ASVS Program.
  • Define which entities are regulated.

Rule Proposal

The proposed regulations for the ASVS program in new Chapter 338 are now available. You can comment on the proposal at one of our six public hearings or in writing.

Your Input is Needed on the New Rules

TCEQ anticipates opening the rule proposal for public comment on Friday, March 10, 2023. During the public comment period, we will hold six public hearings at the following locations: Dallas-Fort Worth, Beaumont, Houston, Corpus Christi, Midland, and Austin.

Public Hearings

The commission will offer six public hearings on this proposed rulemaking:

The hearings will allow for the receipt of oral or written comments by interested persons. Individuals may present oral statements when called upon in order of registration. Individuals who wish to provide oral or written statements in person will need to register at the hearing. Open discussion will not be permitted
during the hearings. However, commission staff members will be available to discuss the proposal 30 minutes prior to the hearings.

Individuals who plan to attend the Austin public hearing virtually and want to provide oral comments and/or want their attendance on record must register by Friday, March 31, 2023. To register for the hearing, please email and provide the following information: your name, your affiliation, your email address, your phone number, and whether or not you plan to provide oral comments during the hearing. Instructions for participating in the hearing will be sent on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, to those who register for the hearing. Members of the public who do not wish to provide oral comments can view the hearing virtually .

Persons who have special communication or other accommodation needs who are planning to attend any of the hearings should contact Sandy Wong, Office of Legal
Services at (512) 239-1802 or 1-800-RELAY-TX (TDD). Requests should be made as far in advance as possible.

Written Comments

All written comments should reference Rule Project Number 2022-015-338-CE. TCEQ plans to open the written comment period on Friday, March 10, 2023 and close the comment period on Monday, April 10, 2023. Submit written comments:

  • Electronically. File size restrictions may apply to comments submitted via the eComments system.
  • Via postal mail:
    Gwen Ricco, MC 205, Office of Legal Services
    Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    P.O. Box 13087
    Austin, Texas 78711-3087
  • Via fax:

Informal Stakeholder Meetings

TCEQ held three virtual stakeholder meetings on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.; Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.; and Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Anticipated Timeline for the ASVS Program

  • July 2022: Hold stakeholder meetings.
  • June through November 2022: Draft the proposed rules based on the stakeholder meetings and guidance in statute.
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023: Present the proposed rulemaking package at the commissioners’ agenda meeting.
  • Friday, March 10, 2023: Begin accepting public comments on the proposal.
  • March 23-April 10, 2023: Public hearings. See the Public Hearings section above for dates, times, and locations.
  • August 2023: Present the rule package at the commissioners’ agenda meeting for final adoption.
  • Sept. 1, 2027: Registration deadline. TCEQ will provide details about the registration requirements after the rule adoption.
  • Sept. 1, 2037: Self-certification deadline for existing vessels. New vessels constructed after Sept. 1, 2027 must certify compliance within 30 days of the start date.