There are several important considerations before purchasing an underground storage tank. This article is intended to assist persons in identifying issues before they purchase a tank and with acquiring certificates of coverage after they become an owner. Please remember, a tank owner must possess a valid certificate of coverage at the time that a release is discovered to be eligible for Fund reimbursement.


Before You Purchase a UST


Determine Whether Fees and/or Late Fees are Owed For the Tanks

The Board’s rules require that all outstanding annual per-tank fees and/or late payment fees owed for a tank be paid before a certificate of coverage can be issued for it. This means that, as the purchaser, you will be responsible for these payments, if they have not been made by the former owner. We strongly recommend contacting the Petroleum Board’ staff at 614-752-8963 to determine whether any annual per-tank fees and late payment fees are outstanding for the tank(s) you intend to buy. Keep in mind that, in addition to any unpaid annual per-tank fees or late payment fees, the new owner must pay a $500 transfer fee for each facility bought.


Determine Whether a Current Certificate of Coverage Exists for the Tanks

Even if no annual per-tank fees or late payment fees are owed for a tank, there still may be no current certificate of coverage in place for it. This is because payment of fees alone does not guarantee a certificate. If coverage does not exist, you will be subject to additional steps before a certificate may be issued. Again, we recommend contacting the Board’s staff to learn whether a current certificate is in place.


Learn If a Release Has Occurred At the Site and If Corrective Action Is Ongoing

Prospective purchasers should also contact the Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations (BUSTR) at 614-752-7938 to learn whether a release has been suspected or confirmed from the tank system that they intend to buy and whether corrective action is ongoing. Click here for a BUSTR Fact Sheet pertaining to purchasing a facility with USTs.


It is also wise to ask the current owner for a copy of all recent (within the past year) leak detection records and review them with a tank consultant. Likewise, an environmental consultant can help identify releases that have occurred at sites but have not been reported. Click here for advice on selecting a qualified environmental consultant.


Please note, only the owner of a tank at the time the release is discovered has standing to seek reimbursement from the Fund. Therefore, if a release has occurred for which eligibility has been granted, the “old” owner (i.e. the owner at the time of the release) is the only person with standing to submit reimbursement claims to the Fund for that release and the new owner may not do so.


Other Considerations

Before purchasing a facility with tanks do your research. Be aware of all costs (fees, testing, upgrading, financial responsibility, and the potential clean-up costs, etc.). It is often beneficial to consult with an attorney, who is knowledgeable in the area of underground storage tank laws, before finalizing a decision to buy.


After You Purchase a UST – Establishing Coverage


Once you have purchased a tank(s), you should take the following steps, within 30 days from the date of sale, to acquire a valid certificate of coverage, in your name.


1)         Notify the Board

Notify the Board (614-752-8963) of the purchase and provide the following information:


2(a)      Steps When a Current Certificate Exists

If a Certificate of Coverage exists for the tank(s) the new owner is required to:


2(b)     Steps When a Current Certificate Does Not Exist

If a Certificate of Coverage does not exist for the tank(s), the new owner is required to take the following steps in addition to those steps identified above (sections 1 and 2(a)):


Please note that, if a certificate of coverage exists for the tank(s) and the new owner follows all required steps within 30 days from the purchase date, there will be no lapse in coverage, from the old owner to the new. If a certificate does not exist, then coverage will not exist until all associated steps are satisfied.


Also note that, if after the tank purchase, the new owner owns a combined total 6 or fewer tanks, he may obtain coverage at the reduced deductible, by paying the full per tank fee. (The current deductible is $55,000 at $350 per tank. A reduced deductible of $11,000 is available to owners of 6 or fewer tanks at $550 per tank.)


Other Useful Links


BUSTR Guide to Financial Responsibility

BUSTR Operational Compliance Requirements for USTs

BUSTR Guide to Daily Inventory Control Procedures

BUSTR Facility Search Page