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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.

Types of Aboveground Storage Vessels Affected by the New Rules

Senate Bill 900Exit the TCEQ 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 26.343Exit the TCEQ, 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 388. 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.

Your Input is Needed on the New Rules

We’re seeking input through a series of informal stakeholder meetings and a public comment period. The public comment period will begin after the rule proposal at the commissioners’ agenda meeting.

Attend an Informal Stakeholder Meeting

TCEQ will hold at least three virtual meetings in July of 2022 to gather input from stakeholders. So that all affected parties will have the opportunity to attend, we will hold the meetings on at least two different days, and scheduled in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Provide Public Comment

TCEQ will have a 30-day public comment period after we publish the proposed rulemaking package. We anticipate opening the proposal for public comment in early March 2023. During the public comment period, we will hold at least one public hearing in Austin and may hold additional ones in the Gulf Coast area.

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.
  • Early February 2023: Present the proposed rulemaking package at the commissioners’ agenda meeting.
  • Early March 2023: Begin accepting public comments on the proposal.
  • 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.