West Virginia Tank Owners Must Affix Labels to Tanks

astlableUnder the new requirements of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act this past March, owners and operators of aboveground storage tanks (AST) in West Virginia must put labels on their tanks.

The Preston County News and Journal reports that under the stipulations passed by the West Virginia state legislature, ASTs must come with labels with the following information: the tank registration number as issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), an emergency contact number for the owner or operator, and the telephone number for the DEP Spill Reporting Hotline, which is 1-800-642-3074.

In addition to affixing the label to the tanks, the ASTs that meet the law’s definitions must be registered with the DEP by July 1st lest face fines and other penalties.

The DEP suggests that AST labels should be fixed at least three feet above the ground and must be visible from a public roadway, a public right of way, or from outside the mandatory containment area surrounding the tank. The label should also feature typography with high-contrast colors; lettering must be a minimum of 1.5 inches in height.

ASTs have the option of using signs rather than labels, though in that case they have to be at least two feet by two feet in size.

Randy Huffman, the DEP Cabinet Secretary, is a firm proponent of the label requirement and warns any tank owners of the repercussions if they do not comply.

“Having spill contact and registration information on tanks is a common-sense requirement that tank owners and operators need to pursue now,” said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. “Owners and operators will be subject to enforcement if unlabeled tanks are encountered.”

The legislation came after a series of accidents involving AST units in West Virginia and elsewhere. Last year, West Virginia faced one of the worst water contamination cases in American history when a single AST unit leaked a dangerous chemical out of one hole.

In 2013, Colorado faced massive floods that disrupted some AST units. More than 48,000 gallons of oil and 43,000 gallons of produced water were spilled as a result.

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