Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) 

The APSA Program is one element within Sierra County’s CUPA Program. The Sierra County CUPA is responsible for the implementation, enforcement, and administration of APSA throughout Sierra County and the city of Loyalton. Oversight is provided by the CAL Fire-Office of the State Fire Marshall.

Storing petroleum aboveground storage tanks benefits businesses and the community. However, there are also risks in storing petroleum in aboveground storage tanks.

The purpose of the APSA Program is to protect public health, the environment, groundwater and navigable waterways from potential contamination or adverse effects associated with unintended releases from the aboveground storage of petroleum-based hazardous materials and wastes.

Petroleum means crude oil or any fraction that is liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit at normal atmospheric pressure. This includes petroleum-based substances comprised of a complex blend of hydrocarbons, such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, residual fuel oils, oil sludge, biodiesel mixtures, heating oil, lubricants, some petroleum solvents, and used waste oils. Petroleum does not include 100% biodiesel, ethanol or liquid propane gas (LPG). 

An Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tank (AST) is defined in the California Health and Safety Code as “…a tank that has the capacity to store 55 gallons or more of petroleum and that is substantially or totally above the surface of the ground.”

All facilities that have ASTs (including 55 gallon drums) with an aggregate storage capacity of ≥1,320 gallons of petroleum are subject to APSA. APSA also regulates tank facilities with less than 1,320 gallons of petroleum if they have one or more stationary tanks in an underground area (TIUGA) with a shell capacity of 55 gallons or more of petroleum, and, in this case, only the TIUGAs are subject to APSA, although there are exceptions.

Unless exempted, a facility in the APSA Program must: 

  • Prepare and implement a Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan;
  • Submit facility information in CERS (California Environmental Reporting System); and
  • Pay a fee to the CUPA

The intent of the SPCC Plan is prevention of, preparedness for, and response to petroleum discharges by describing procedures, methods, and equipment at the facility to prevent such discharges.

The owner or operator of a Qualified Facility can prepare and self-certify an SPCC Plan rather than have a Professional Engineer (P.E.) review and certify the SPCC Plan. There are two types of qualified facilities, Tier I and II. 

A Qualified Facility has a total oil storage capacity of 10,000 gallons or less and no single discharge exceeding 1,000 gallons or no two discharges each exceeding 42 gallons to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines within any twelve month period in the three years prior to the SPCC Plan self-certification date, or since becoming subject to SPCC Plan requirements if the facility has been in operation for less than three years (discharge is not the result of natural disasters, acts of war, or terrorism).

Tier I - If the Qualified Facility does not have an individual aboveground tank with capacity greater than 5,000 gallons of oil, the facility can complete and self-certify the SPCC Plan (Appendix G Title 40 of Code of Federal Regulations – 40 CFR - part 112).

Tier II - If the Qualified Facility has an individual aboveground tank with capacity greater than 5,000 gallons of oil, the facility can prepare a self-certified SPCC Plan in accordance with all applicable requirements of 40 CFR Section 112.7 and subparts B or C.

Facilities with greater than 10,000 gallons of oil in qualifying aboveground tank capacity must have a registered P.E. review and certify the SPCC Plan.


APSA facilities are subject to routine inspections to ensure compliance with California Health and Safety Code Chapter 6.67

APSA facilities must immediately notify the California Emergency Management and Sierra County Environmental Health upon discovery of a spill or release of 42 gallons or greater of petroleum. 

Farms, Nurseries, Logging and Construction Sites Exemption

Tank facilities located on farms, nurseries, logging, and construction sites are conditionally exempt from completing and implementing an SPCC Plan. However, these facilities are still subject to the other APSA provisions. In addition, these facilities remain fully subject to federal SPCCS rules. 

A submittal of a Tank Facility Statement to CERS is required, unless a complete HMBP has been submitted to CERS. A complete HMBP includes the chemical inventory, site map, and emergency response and training plans. 

While facilities may meet the petroleum storage volume threshold exceptions for preparing an SPCC plan (no storage tank at the location exceeds 20,000 gallons and the cumulative storage capacity of the tank facility does not exceed 100,000 gallons), the facility is still regulated under APSA and must meet the following three conditions pertaining to the APSA conditional exemption as described in HSC 25270.4.5(b)

  1. Conduct a daily visual inspection of any storage tank storing petroleum. For purposes of this section, “daily” means every day that contents are added to or withdrawn from the tank, but no less than five days per week. The number of days may be reduced by the number of state or federal holidays that occur during the week if there is no addition to or withdrawal from the tank on the holiday. The CUPA may reduce the frequency of inspections to not less than once every three days at the tank facility that is exempt pursuant to this section if the tank facility is not staffed on a regular basis, provided that the inspection is performed every day the facility is staffed. 
  2. Allow the CUPA to conduct a periodic inspection of the tank facility. 
  3. If the CUPA determines installation of secondary containment is necessary for the protection of the waters of the state, install a secondary means of containment for each tank or group of tanks where the secondary containment will, at a minimum, contain the entire contents of the largest tank protected by the secondary containment plus precipitation. 

If you are a farm, nursery, logging or construction site and you have any single petroleum AST ≥20,000 gallons, and/or an aggregate total of all petroleum ASTs ≥100,000 gallons then, in addition to all requirements, you must also complete an SPCC Plan.



APSA Tank Facility Statement

APSA Program Guidance Document 

SPCC Plan Qualified Facility Applicability

Guidance to Understanding Tanks in Underground Areas 

APSA Scope of CUPA Implementation

California Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act: Requirements for Farms per Senate Bill 612

APSA flyer

USEPA Spills Prevention and Preparedness Regulations

Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tank Facility Statement Reporting Requirements

Is my facility Regulated Under APSA?

Should I File an SPCC Plan in CERS?

Preparing an APSA Submittal in CERS