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ASTM E2681-21

Standard Guide for Environmental Management of Underground Storage Tank Systems Storing Regulated Substances

Standard Guide for Environmental Management of Underground Storage Tank Systems Storing Regulated Substances E2681-21 ASTM|E2681-21|en-US Standard Guide for Environmental Management of Underground Storage Tank Systems Storing Regulated Substances Standard new BOS Vol. 11.05 Committee E50
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Significance and Use

4.1 Environmentally sound management of underground storage tank systems involves a broad range of preventative maintenance activities directed toward preventing accidental releases of regulated substances, and effectively detecting and responding to such releases when, and if, they do occur. Numerous technical guidelines are presently available addressing specific procedures for release prevention and response for underground tank systems, including guidelines for tank system design, installation, operation and maintenance, leak detection, spill control, periodic equipment inspections, corrective action for affected environmental media, tank system closure, and operator training. This guide presents an overview, identifying key management considerations and referring the user to other related ASTM standards and industry guidelines for more detailed information.

4.2 Tank System Design and Installation—The first step in environmentally sound management of tank systems is to design and install the tank system so as to minimize the potential for release of regulated substances to the environment. This guide addresses key considerations related to the types of tank systems to be used, compatibility of regulated substances to construction materials, types of spill containment and overfill prevention devices, corrosion protection, leak detection proper installation practices, and system operation.

4.3 Preventative Maintenance—Even for properly designed and installed tank systems, practical measures are needed to detect and terminate leaks and respond to releases in a timely manner so as to minimize regulated substance losses and associated environmental effects. This guide reviews general considerations including release detection measures, possible indicators of a release, appropriate record-keeping procedures, tank system inspection, equipment testing, response planning and release control measures. Some preventative maintenance activities are recommended while others are mandated by state or federal regulations. This guide addresses federally mandated activities

4.4 Inspections—Inspections are a critical component of a sound UST management plan. Both third-party professional and operator inspections can identify potential risks associated with component compromise and operational issues that may increase the risk of an uncontained release. Some inspections are required by regulatory requirements. The scope, frequency and necessary qualifications to perform required inspections vary by jurisdiction. This guide outlines the scope and schedule of federally required walkthrough inspections.

4.5 Equipment Testing—Testing can confirm the functional status of various UST components. Some UST equipment and components must be tested in accordance with federal regulations. Spill prevention equipment and containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping must be tested at least once every three years. Electronic and mechanical release detection components must be tested annually. Cathodic protection systems must be tested within six months of installation, then at least every three years and within six months of any repair activity. This guide outlines the scope and schedule of federally required equipment testing.

4.6 Fueling Procedure—Careful loading, unloading, and dispensing of liquids to and from underground storage tanks is the most important day-to-day activity to ensure proper handling of liquids and prevention of releases. This guide is developed to addresses UST system management. Dispensers and dispensing activities may be sources of releases but are not considered a component of the UST system and are not include in the regulatory requirements addressed by this guide.

4.7 Corrective Action for Affected Environmental Media—Following discovery and control of a release regulated substance from an underground tank system, corrective actions may be required for affected soil and groundwater as needed to protect human health, safety, and environmental resources. This guide reviews a risk-based process for investigation, evaluation, and remediation of affected environmental media consistent with the guidelines provided in Guide E2081.

4.8 Tank System Closure—If it is determined that an underground tank system will no longer be used to store regulated substances, the system must be taken out of service, either temporarily or permanently, and, when appropriate, decommissioned and removed in a manner that minimizes the potential for future releases or safety hazards. This guide reviews the general procedures for properly removing tank systems from service, as well as the options for tank system closure by means of tank excavation and backfill placement or in-place closure methods.

4.9 Tank Management Practice Education, and Operator Training—Personnel training is a key element of successful environmental management of UST systems. It is important that persons involved in the installation, operation, or maintenance of tank systems understand the release prevention, appropriate leak detection, and response procedures. This guide outlines the scope and schedule of several key training areas that may be appropriate depending on individual job assignments, including: tank system installation and maintenance; general measures for release prevention; leak detection equipment operation and maintenance; release control and emergency response measures; and regulated substance and waste handling measures. This guide outlines the scope of federally mandated operator training.

4.10 Recognized Practice—Some federally mandated testing and inspection requirements can be satisfied by following a practice developed by a nationally recognized association or independent testing laboratory such as provided in 40 CFR §280.35(a)(1)(ii)(B) and 40 CFR §280.40(a)(3). Many such practices are referenced in this guide. Not all practices developed by nationally recognized associations or independent testing laboratories are accepted by the USEPA or the implementing agency. To determine if a practice satisfies the federal requirements, the owner or operator should consult with the implementing agency.


1.1 The framework discussed in this guide is limited to facilities with underground storage tanks (USTs) storing regulated substances at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure. This guide is not intended to provide detailed technical specifications for implementation of the approaches described in this document, nor to be used as an enforcement tool, but rather to identify the important information used for environmental management of underground tank systems. The term “must” is used where United States federal requirements apply. References to ASTM standards and other industry guidelines have been provided to address implementation of the approaches discussed in this guide. Many states and some local agencies have adopted rules that place additional responsibilities on the owners/operators of UST systems. Refer to state and local regulations that may contain additional requirements. It is not possible to identify all considerations or combinations of conditions pertinent to a unique underground storage tank system.

1.2 This guide addresses principal considerations related to the prevention of, and response to environmental releases from tank systems and is organized in the sections listed below:



 Section 1:


 Section 2:

Lists relevant ASTM Standards and other industry or regulatory guidance documents

 Section 3:

Defines the key terminology used in this guide

 Section 4:

Describes the significance and use of this guide

 Section 5:

Tank System Design and Installation

 Section 6:

Preventive Maintenance and Inspection Plan

 Section 7:

Fueling Procedure

 Section 8:

Dispensing Activities

 Section 9:

Release Response Plan

 Section 10:

Corrective Action for Affected Environmental Media

 Section 11:

Tank System Closure

 Section 12:

UST Management Practice and Operator Training

Appendix X1:

Recurring Release Detection and Cathodic Protection Requirements (Quick Glance) is intended to be a quick reference guide for monitoring information

 Related Material:

Documents related to environmental management of underground storage tanks

1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Some specific hazards statements are given in Section 7 on Hazards.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.05
Developed by Subcommittee: E50.01
Pages: 19
DOI: 10.1520/E2681-21
ICS Code: 23.020.10