Laws and Regulations for Installing Above Ground Tanks

If you have onsite fuel storage, it’s important to understand Australia’s laws and regulations regarding above ground storage tanks. Failing to comply with the applicable regulations could have disastrous consequences, including environmental damage, property damage, and injury to personnel.

Here are some of the most important regulations to know. Keep in mind that the law varies depending on the region in which you are located.

All above ground storage tanks should be constructed from a material that will not react dangerously with the contents and in a manner that will reliably contain them. Tanks containing LPG must be constructed from steel.

Tanks must also be compliant with Australian Standard AS1692 to manage the risk of a fire or explosion. Only dispenser hoses approved for use with the type of fuel stored in the tank and equipped with an internal bonding wire to dissipate static electricity should be used.

Storage tanks must be clearly labeled with their contents, and “no smoking” signs must be prominently displayed. All tanks should be protected against unauthorized access and impacts such as collision from a moving vehicle.

Petrol tanks must be located at least 15 meters from a source of ignition and diesel tanks should be located at least 8 meters from a source of ignition. All tanks must be clear of debris or obstacles in a 3 meter radius around the bottom of the tank to allow for safe fuel delivery.

LPG Tank Spacing Regulations
Above ground storage tanks containing LPG must adhere to some additional regulations:

  • Must be at least 15 meters from property boundary
  • Must be at least 3 meters from combustible vegetation
  • Must be at least 5 meters from overhead wires
  • Must be at least 6 meters from other above ground storage tanks
  • Must be a distance from other propane storage tanks equal to at least the diameter of the largest tank

Tanks that exceed the following thresholds must have a method of leakage containment such as bunding:

  • Petrol (not on a farm): 1000 litres
  • Petrol (on a farm): 2000 litres
  • Diesel (not on a farm): 1000 litres
  • Diesel (on a farm): 2000 litres

The volume of the containment area must be equal to the capacity of the tank plus the amount of water that would be discharged for fire-control purposes in 20 minutes. Bund walls should be structurally sound and as tall as possible to minimize the area of burnable fuel in the event of a spill. The distance between the tank and the inside edge of the bund should be at least half the height of the tank.

Above ground LPG tanks must not be installed in or above a ground depression where a leak could pool.

Basic commercial spill kits should also be available near where fuel could potentially leak into a water source.

If the tank is mounted on supports, the supports must be sturdy enough and the tank must be mounted to them soundly enough to reliably secure the tank’s full weight. The supports must also be constructed in a way that evenly distributes the weight of the tank to prevent excessive ground settlement.

Tank Access
The need for employees to access the top of the tank should be minimised by utilising a bottom-loading system and a sight gauge. For instances when access to the top of the tank is unavoidable, a fixed ladder should be installed that meets the following requirements according to Australian Standard AS 1657:

  • Must be attached to the tank
  • Must be at least 300 mm wide
  • Must have adequate handrails
  • Must have a platform at the top
  • Must start no higher than 300 mm from the ground
  • Must be positioned at an angle of 70-75 degrees.

ServoPro Makes Compliance Easy

Need help with installing an above ground tank at your petrol station? Contact us to discuss your specific needs and we will help you through the process of planning and installation. We can take away the confusion and make sure you are fully compliant with the rules and regulations in your area. We have a number of prefered suppliers and installers who can provide you with the best possible product and pricing.