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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

good storage tankA primary goal of the NHDES On-Premise-Use Fuel Oil Tank Program is to work with homeowners and business owners on being aware of the condition of their fuel oil storage tank systems. This outreach effort is an important tool in reducing the number of fuel oil leaks that result in environmental contamination, and potentially significant cleanup costs. On-premise-use fuel oil tanks, known also 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." However, these systems are otherwise subject to installation and upgrading compliance standards to prevent future leaks, as a condition for receiving state funding assistance. The state provides contamination cleanup cost funding for OPUF owners who do not have private insurance coverage, and provides funding for low-income homeowners to upgrade or replace substandard tank systems to 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. By July 1, 2015, all tank owners must have achieved compliance, or state cleanup funding for a leak after July 1, 2015 will be lower - $500 less for a homeowner (unless low-income qualified) and $1,000 less for a business. That is, an owner's out-of-pocket cleanup costs will be greater, and achieving compliance will still be necessary to receive state cleanup funding. Therefore, NHDES strongly encourages owners to evaluate their systems now and correct any problems as soon as possible. This avoids the significant lifestyle disruption and cost associated with leaks and cleanup, and compliance costs are only likely to increase in the future.

The Safetank Program is available to income-qualified homeowners in New Hampshireto upgrade or replace their fuel oil storage tank system. 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 qualification applications and will approve system replacements or upgrades based on leak risk factors, working with installation professionals, community action programs, fuel oil dealers, manufactured housing communities, and other groups accordingly. 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.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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