Did you receive an AST form from the DFS? Reply

If your organization uses an aboveground storage tank (AST) with capacity greater than 10,000 gallons, you may have received a letter and an “AST Approved Standard Declaration Form” from the Department of Fire Services (DFS) and you may wonder why.

The form is not a cause for alarm, but DFS requires AST permit-holders to complete one form for each permitted tank and return the form to DFS.

To refresh memories, in 2016 the DFS standards were changed and now each permitted AST must be inspected and maintained in accordance with an “Approved Standard” – a standard proposed by the permit-holder and approved by the DFS.  The Approved Standard you propose specifies the nature and frequency of the inspections you will perform for each tank.

As a holder of an AST Use Permit, organizations are responsible for ensuring the tank is inspected in accordance with an Approved Standard and that they maintain the records of inspections and maintenance performed in between renewals (Use Permits for ASTs renew every five years).  As part of the renewal process, a Qualified Inspector (as defined in 502 CMR 5.03) must inspect the tank and review the tank inspection and maintenance records to ensure that the tank has been inspected and maintained in accordance with its Approved Standard.  The findings of the tank inspection and documentation review are submitted to the DFS for review before the DFS will issue another Use Permit.

If you are an AST permit-holder, you may self-perform the inspections if you have a Qualified Inspector on staff. Otherwise you can retain an outside firm (e.g. an engineering firm, a tank supplier, or a chemical or industrial gas supplier) to provide the inspections and maintenance.  CAPACCIO recommends that if you utilize an outside firm, make sure to obtain documentation after each inspection and confirm that maintenance action is performed to ensure employee safety and regulatory compliance.

Ensuring your organization’s AST tanks are being maintained in accordance with the Approved Standard is an important aspect in avoiding and mitigating risks and ensuring business continuity for your organization.

If you received one of these letters from DFS, make sure to pay attention to the due date at the bottom of the letter as some we have seen are due as soon as August 30, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Bannon, EIT or Art Cunningham, PE, or utilize our chat feature on our website.


At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper”. We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success.  Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS DashboardTM, to effectively address your challenges.  Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE. To learn more visit us at www.capaccio.com.

MassDEP Issues New Underground Storage Tank Rules: 310 CMR 80.00 Reply

On January 2, 2015, new underground storage tank (UST) regulations went into effect and the previous Department of Fire Services regulations at 527 CMR 9.00 were rescinded.

While many of the requirements have remained the same, several new provisions have been added. These include:

• New design, construction and installation requirements
• New general operating requirements
• New third-party inspection requirements
• New financial responsibility requirements and
• New authority for MassDEP to institute delivery prohibition orders.

Of particular interest to owners and operators of UST systems serving emergency generators is a new requirement for these systems to have leak detection. There are also new requirements that may require upgrades of systems that utilize submersible pumps and ball-float valves. In addition, any new or replacement spill buckets must now be five gallons.

It is important to note that although the new regulations are issued and enforced by MassDEP, the local fire department will still maintain jurisdiction over permits for flammable storage.

More information, including a summary of the changes and a copy of the new regulations, can be obtained at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/toxics/ust/newregs.html

CAPACCIO can help owners and operators interpret the new requirements and assist in determining if action is necessary to address the new requirements. Please contact Chris Walton, PE, BCEE, at (508) 970-0033 x139 or cwalton@capaccio.com if you would like to learn how we can help.

Department of Fire Services Issues Revision to 502 CMR 5 Reply

502 CMR 5 governs the permitting and use of containers greater than 10,000 gallons in capacity used for the storage of fluids other than water. On January 16, 2015, the new regulations went into effect, resulting in significant changes to the program.

Beginning with the next permit cycle, the use permit will be issued for five years. However, along with the next inspection report, owners must declare what nationally recognized standard applies to their tank. Future use permits will be issued contingent upon operators maintaining their tanks per the declared standard. Records must be kept in accordance with new recordkeeping requirements.
In addition, the new regulations clarify and expand application requirements, describe actions that must be taken to bring an unpermitted tank into the program, and specify how to apply for a change in use for a permitted tank.

CAPACCIO has extensive experience assisting clients with program compliance, through application preparation to inspections. Please contact Chris Walton, PE, BCEE, at (508) 970-0033 x139 or cwalton@capaccio.com for more information.

New Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Code – No more 527 CMR 1-55 Reply

The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations in Massachusetts has voted to promulgate a new fire safety code, which will take effect on January 1st, 2015. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations is responsible for promulgating a comprehensive fire safety code for the state and was created in part as a reaction the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston that killed 492 people.

The new code, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code 527 CMR 1.00, is meant to align with a recognized fire code: the NFPA-1 (2012 edition). This fire code revision is also intended to allow for better unison with the Massachusetts building code regulations, 780 CMR. While many parts of the old 527 CMR 1 to 50 will be carried over into the new 527 CMR 1.00, the organization will be different: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/dfs/osfm/boards/specific-meetings/2014-9-18-fea-body-bytitleofsection-finaldraft-cmr-nfpa1-website-print.pdf

One highlight of the new Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code is that, with the adoption of NFPA 1, it will provide more prescriptive requirements for hazardous materials. Chapter 60 will be dedicated to hazardous materials and will contain codified language referring to the specific hazard classes (pyrophoric, oxidizer, water reactive, etc.) and associated requirements, some of which did not exist in the old fire code. For those of you who have already familiarized yourself with the recently enacted 527 CMR 33—not to worry, this regulation will be carried into Section 60 of 527 CMR 1.00.

In the words of State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, “The adoption of a model code sets the stage for a code that is adaptable to new technologies and emerging trends, while also being easily maintained going forward. It taps into the depth and expertise of the NFPA’s voluntary code development process.”

Those Massachusetts organizations that do not already adhere to NFPA 1 standards should soon begin to ensure that they have adopted the 2012 edition as modified by the state: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/dfs/osfm/boards/specific-meetings/publichearingdraftofmassamendmentstorevisedfiresafetycode-2-.pdf

To learn more about the new Massachusetts fire safety code, visit the MA Department of Fire Services website: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/comprehensive-model-fire-code.html

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Wong Berman at 508.970.0033 ext. 126 or aberman@capaccio.com.