Vermont will soon require inspections of heating oil storage tanks

SHELBURNE, Vt. (WVNY/WFFF) – Vermont officials are implementing the ‘red-tag rule’ which will require inspectors to affix red-tags on aboveground fuel storage tanks that are at risk of a leak or spill.

“It was becoming evident that it had some signs of weeping at the seams which our dealer Patterson Fuels recognized rapidly and said it had to be red-tagged and needed to be replaced,” said Chris Williamson. He recently installed a new tank at his Shelburne home after his old tank was tagged.

“The idea behind the inspections are to get more eyeballs on tanks to make sure tanks that are likely to fail or could fail are brought into compliance or are removed completely and replaced,” said Matt Cota, Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.

Beginning July 1st all tanks must be inspected once every three years. If your tank is tagged, fuel distributors will not deliver.

Cota said, “There are very few spill a year less than 100 a year, for 150,000 tanks it’s a pretty good ratio but those 100 spills or so a year do cost the public insurance fund.”

According to the Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont spends around $700,000 a year cleaning up spills, which experts say are avoidable.

“It’s got the gauge indicating the tank is full right here, we have got the copper line that goes to the burner as you can see it is sleeved in plastic which means it won’t corrode and there will not be a leak coming from the line, we’ve got black steel which is up to code and it’s an inch and a quarter that means when the fuel goes into the tank it won’t cause undue pressure on the tank at the seams, we are on a solid foundation here on a concrete slab… This tank will last 40, 50 maybe 60 years,” said Cota explaining an up to code tank.

On average, experts say it will cost up to $500 to get your tank up to code. Homeowners whose tanks are tagged and low-income Vermonters may be eligible for help by way of the Vermont Fuel Assistance Program.

Williamson said, “They make a lot of sense… making a regulation that improves on the quality of tanks in this area is for everyone’s long-term benefit.”

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