Fuel-storage regulations are in place to protect you and the environment. Here’s what you need to know.
Provincially, Manitoba is the only province that regulates farm-fuel storage and requires a tank permit, unless the capacity of the tank is less than 5,000 litres. At this time, Alberta and Saskatchewan do not regulate farm-fuel storage practices, and permits are not required for on-farm fuel storage.
Old single-wall gravity tanks and tanks on stands are not only at high risk for corrosion- related failures, but they are also dangerous to fill and generally don’t have a mechanism for shut-off at the outlet in case of an accident. The unknown condition and integrity of the storage tank stand add to the risk for the farmer as well as the fuel supplier. While these tanks are legal, farmers should consider upgrading this type of storage to create a safer fuel-storage system.
Selecting an appropriate fuel-tank site is essential. Poor site management can result in soil and water contamination, large cleanup costs, decreased property value and potential evacuation. After choosing a fuel-tank site that meets regulatory compliance standards, you should regularly inspect and maintain the tank.
Tank site plans should include a strategy to slope the foundation or tank itself to the fill end to allow for inspection and water removal. For applications involving emergency generators, fuel polishing (cleaning or replacing fuel regularly) has become prevalent. A dual-wall fuel tank is the best option for protection from internal corrosion and potentially costly fuel spills. If corrosion results in a breach to the internal wall, the outer wall will prevent a fuel release.
Safe, regulated fuel storage starts with purchasing tanks approved by either Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) for stationary storage systems or Transport Canada for mobile (slip) storage systems.
Storage systems under 450 litres transporting diesel don’t require this approval.
Through ULC and Transport Canada standards, storage systems have adapted to handle the tough weather conditions of Western Canada, seen in features such as dual-wall tank systems, industrial-grade external protective coatings and innovative ventilation and filtration systems.