Under the UPSS Regulation, ‘decommission’ means to permanently abandon the use of a system or render it permanently unusable. It is industry best practice to remove UPSS that are no longer required. Where two years have elapsed since fuel was put in or taken from a tank, it must be abandoned (after removing the fuel) in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety (Dangerous Goods) Regulation 2001.
UPSS abandonment and decommissioning
The NSW WorkCover Authority is responsible for occupational health and safety issues relating to decommissioning and removal of tanks from a site. The following WorkCover requirements must be met during decommissioning:
- the tank and contents made safe in line with Code of Practice: Storage and handling of dangerous goods (NSW WorkCover Authority 2005)
- WorkCover notified of the abandonment within seven days using the prescribed approval form, so the tank can be removed from its database.
If the tank is to be removed from the ground, it must be correctly disposed of in accordance with NSW environmental and safety requirements and industry best practice: AS 1940–2004: Storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids (AS 2004b) and AS 4976–2008: The removal and disposal of underground petroleum storage tanks (AS 2008b).
When removal is not practicable, such as where it poses risks to other structures or extraction is impossible or dangerous to the structure, the disused UPSS must be emptied and decommissioned in situ and the tank filled with an inert solid material, such as a concrete slurry, sand or foam.
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Where the tank is to be temporarily decommissioned and used again within two years, WorkCover requires that it is filled with water and a corrosion inhibitor, or made safe by other approved methods. Where a disused tank is recommissioned, the UPSS Regulation will apply to the tank and any associated piping.
Source: Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) From 1 July 2009
Guidelines for Implementing the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems)Regulation 2008
If you need removal of an underground storage tank, contact Australian Enviro Services.