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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 View the adopted regulations for Title 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 338, Aboveground Storage Vessel Safety Program.

Types of Aboveground Storage Vessels Affected by the New Rules

30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 338 adopts the requirements of Senate Bill 900 that amended the Texas Water Code. 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 Rules

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 Adoption

TCEQ adopted the regulations for the ASVS Program on Aug. 2, 2023. View the new rules in 30 TAC Chapter 338 . TCEQ provided the option to comment on the initial proposal at six public hearings or in writing.

The effective date of the regulations is Aug. 24, 2023, but the deadline for registration is Sept. 1, 2027. The registration program is not yet available. TCEQ will provide details about the registration requirements via the GovDelivery updates and on this page as the information becomes available.

Timeline for the ASVS Program

  • Aug. 24, 2023: Effective date. 
  • Sept. 1, 2027: Registration deadline. 
  • 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.

Input on the New Rules

TCEQ opened the rule proposal for public comment on March 10, 2023 and closed comments on April 10, 2023. During the public comment period, we held six public hearings at the following locations: Dallas-Fort Worth, Beaumont, Houston, Corpus Christi, Midland, and Austin.

  • Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the TCEQ’s Dallas/Fort Worth regional office.
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission, Beaumont.
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the Magnolia Multi-Service Center, Houston.
  • Monday, April 3, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the TCEQ’s Corpus Christi’s regional office.
  • Thursday, April 6, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the TCEQ’s Midland regional office in Conference Room A
  • Monday, April 10, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at TCEQ's Central Office. TCEQ held this hearing in-person in Building E, Room 201S and virtually.

The hearings allowed for the receipt of oral or written comments by interested persons.

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.