Providing educational and financial assistance for homeowners to maintain, upgrade or replace heating oil storage tanks.
The purpose of the NHDES Safetank Program is to assist homeowners and business owners with becoming aware of the condition of their fuel oil storage tank systems to help reduce the number of leaks that result in environmental contamination and potentially significant cleanup costs. On-premise-use fuel oil tanks, also known as OPUFs, are indoor, outdoor or underground tank systems that are not subject to NHDES regulations, i.e., neither Administrative Rules Env-Or 301 "Control of Aboveground Petroleum Storage Facilities" nor Env-Or 401 "Underground Storage Facilities.
The state provides contamination cleanup cost funding for OPUF owners who do not have full private insurance coverage, and provides funding for low-income homeowners, through the Safetank program, to upgrade or replace substandard tank systems to help prevent leaks. Currently, to be eligible for state cleanup funds if a leak occurs, a tank owner must achieve compliance with fuel oil tank installation requirements found in state statute, the state Fire Code and NHDES "Best Management Practices for the Installation and Upgrading of On-Premise-Use Heating Oil Tanks," 2008 edition. Therefore, NHDES strongly encourages owners to evaluate their systems now and correct any problems as soon as possible. This can help to avoid the significant lifestyle disruption and high costs associated with leaks and cleanup.
The Safetank Program is available to income-qualified homeowners in New Hampshire to upgrade or replace their fuel oil storage tank system. The program can cover up to $2,250 to upgrade, or remove and replace an aboveground tank (sometimes referred to as an oil barrel) and up to $2,500 to remove an underground tank. In the majority of cases, installation professionals are paid directly for upgrade or replacement work approved by NHDES. Therefore, the homeowner need not spend their own funds and wait for state re-payment.
NHDES is currently accepting Safetank qualified applications and will approve system replacements or upgrades based on leak risk factors. Income-qualified homeowners should be aware that variations in both available funding and demand may result in significant delays in the completion of Safetank work.