Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 20: Property

Fuel Storage Tanks

BPPM 20.55

For more information contact:
   Business Services
   Environmental Health and Safety


Washington State University owns and maintains storage tanks to store and dispense fuel used to provide vehicle fueling, heating, and emergency generator support at University facilities. The tanks are located both above ground and underground.

Control of Fuel Use

Fuel stored in University storage tanks must be used only for official University business. Departments responsible for fuel storage in fuel tanks are to establish appropriate control measures. See Control Procedures for Fuel Tanks.


The Washington Department of Ecology regulates underground storage tanks. The Department of Ecology also regulates above-ground storage tanks for prevention of spills and provides regulatory oversight at times when a release or spill is associated with a tank. Environmental Health and Safety serves as the WSU liaison with the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Fire Codes

Departments are to observe applicable fire codes when storing flammable materials in storage tanks. Contact the University Fire Marshal at WSU Pullman for assistance; telephone 509-335-8548. Personnel at other statewide locations should contact the responsible local fire marshal.

Responsible Units

The following units at WSU coordinate resources to manage storage tanks:

  • Departments that purchase and maintain tanks
  • Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
  • Responsible fire marshal
  • Facilities Services, Operations
  • Purchasing Services
  • Surplus Stores


This policy establishes the following roles and responsibilities regarding storage tanks:

Purchasing and Installation

A department is to contact and coordinate with Purchasing Services when purchasing a storage tank. Before submitting a requisition to Purchasing Services, a department is to consult with EH&S, the responsible fire marshal, and Facilities Services, Operations regarding regulations and installation requirements. Environmental Health and Safety, the responsible fire marshal, and Facilities Services, Operations work with the department to insure that new tanks are constructed and installed in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.


Departments must apply for required permits; renew existing permits as required; and are responsible for all fees associated with tank permits. Departments are to provide copies of permits to EH&S at the time of receipt.

Control Procedures for Fuel Tanks

Each department responsible for a fuel storage tank must establish appropriate control procedures. To safeguard assets and inventory, the department chair or director is to appoint a fuel use custodian who implements the procedures. The control procedures are to include the following requirements:

  • Fuel is to be safeguarded and used only for official University business and only in University equipment.
  • The tanks are to be locked at all times when not in use and access to keys/combinations/card locks is to be controlled.

    A log of all persons with access to the tanks is to be maintained.

    Additions and deletions of access for individuals are to be recorded.

    The purchase and delivery of fuel must be tracked and costs charged to appropriate accounts.

    The use of the fuel is to be reconciled against fuel purchases. Methods of tracking the use of fuel should be appropriate to the circumstances.

    A log that records the condition and maintenance of the tanks must be maintained.

The fuel tank custodian should monitor fuel use for unusual patterns of activity, which could reveal possible theft or leakage. Any unusual usage should be investigated and reported to the responsible department chair or director as necessary.

Usage Records

The fuel tank custodian maintains fuel tank usage records in accordance with the All-University Records Retention schedule. See the Property Management Records table.

Posting of Signs

The responsible department is to post signs as follows:

  • Signs indicating that fuel is only for official University business.
  • Signs indicating locations of emergency shutoff switches for fueling stations.
  • Signs indicating emergency contacts in the event of fire or spill.
  • No smoking signs as required, depending on fuel type.
  • Signs indicating that cellular telephone use is prohibited during fueling activities, as applicable.


Official Inventory

EH&S maintains the official inventory for reported University fuel storage tanks.

Notification of EH&S

The department provides tank inventory information to EH&S before performing any of the following actions:

  • Purchasing a new tank.
  • Moving an existing tank.
  • Removing an existing tank from service.

Tank inventory information provided to EH&S includes tank location, kind of tank, type of stored fuel, whether above-ground or underground tank, tank capacity in gallons, tank permit number (if applicable), name of responsible fire department, and tank inspection dates.

Above-Ground Storage Tanks

The inventory notification to EH&S is to occur at least 15 business days prior to any of the above events for an above-ground tank.

Underground Storage Tanks

The inventory notification to EH&S is to occur at least forty-five business days prior to any of the above events for an underground tank.

Safety Records

The department responsible for the tank maintains safety records. Such records include inspection, maintenance, testing, and monitoring records regarding the tank.

Inspections / Testing

Department Responsibility

University departments are to provide inspection and testing documents, as well as inspection reports from inspecting agencies to EH&S. This includes documentation for correction of discrepancies found. Departments are responsible for coordinating and paying for corrective measures to resolve discrepancies found in testing and inspections. The department is responsible for conducting required monitoring of tanks for leaks.

Above-Ground Storage Tanks

The Washington State Department of Ecology does not require inspection and testing of above-ground storage tanks.

Underground Storage Tanks

Annual Inspections

Underground storage tanks must be inspected and tested annually by a tank tester certified by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). University departments contact, work with, and pay for a contractor to do annual inspection, maintenance, and testing of underground storage tanks. Contact EH&S for contact information of Ecology-certified tank testers. Environmental Health and Safety tracks annual inspection and testing schedules for WSU underground storage tanks and notifies the responsible departments when inspections are due.

Compliance Inspections

The Washington State Department of Ecology conducts underground storage tank compliance inspections. The responsible department must notify EH&S immediately if an Ecology inspector schedules or arrives at a departmental facility for an inspection. Ecology sends the inspection results, and any citations and fine notifications for noncompliance to the department. The department sends a copy of the inspection results and all correspondence to and from Ecology to EH&S. If there are deficiencies, citations or fines as a result of the inspection, the department works to correct the problems. EH&S assists the department with documenting the correction of deficiencies.


When a storage tank is no longer needed, the responsible department notifies and works with EH&S, Facilities Services, Operations, and Surplus Stores, to develop a disposal plan that is in compliance with applicable regulations.

Revisions:  April 2011 – new policy (Rev. 378)