The purpose of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) is to protect public health and the environment from potential contamination or adverse effects associated with unintentional releases from the aboveground storage of petroleum-based hazardous materials and wastes.
The Santa Clara County Hazardous Materials Compliance Division (HMCD) is a the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) program element of the Unified Program.
The original aboveground storage of petroleum statute was adopted in 1989 (Statutes of 1989, chapter 1383, section 1). Under the 1989 law, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards) were responsible for the administration of the law and the Regional Water Boards were responsible for inspection of the regulated facilities and enforcement of the law. The Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) role under the original law and during the course of conducting Unified Program inspections was to determine whether a tank facility had prepared a Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan and to refer noncompliance to the Regional Water Boards. As a result of the fiscal year 2002-2003 fiscal crisis, the State Water Board’s resources for this program were eliminated as a cost saving measure and all inspection and enforcement activities were halted.
On January 1, 2008, Assembly Bill (AB) 1130 (Laird) transferred the responsibility for the implementation, enforcement and administration of APSA with the CUPA. Laird’s letter, dated September 11, 2007, provided clarification on the nature of the program being transferred from the state to the CUPA. On September 25, 2012, AB 1566 (Wieckowski) authorized the CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal the oversight responsibility of APSA effective January 1, 2013.
APSA regulates facilities with aggregate aboveground petroleum storage capacities of 1,320 gallons or more, which include aboveground storage containers or tanks with petroleum storage capacities of 55 gallons or greater. These facilities typically include large petroleum tank facilities, aboveground fuel tank stations and vehicle repair shops with aboveground petroleum storage tanks. The Act does not regulate non-petroleum products. Facilities with total petroleum storage quantities at or above 10,000 gallons are inspected at least once every three years by a Certified Unified Program Agency and have reporting and fee requirements, while facilities with petroleum storage quantities equal to or greater than 1,320 gallons but less than 10,000 gallons have reporting and fee requirements only. All regulated facilities must meet the federal SPCC rule requirements.
On October 2, 2015, Senate Bill (SB) 612 (Jackson) amended the definition of a “tank in an underground area.” Under APSA, aboveground storage tanks include tanks in underground areas if certain conditions are met. Facilities with less than 1,320 gallons of petroleum are also regulated under APSA if it has one or more tanks in an underground area; in this case, only the tanks in an underground area are subject to APSA. For more information, guidance has been developed on tanks in underground areas. The State Water Board has also developed guidance on tanks in underground areas which includes a flow chart.
In the event of a petroleum release or discharge from an APSA tank facility, contact the HMCD at 408-918-3400. Cleanup or abatement may be required.
If your facility is located anywhere in Santa Clara County, other than the cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, or Sunnyvale, and your facility is subject to APSA, you must obtain an APSA Facility Permit from HMCD.
HMCD provides regulatory oversight by reviewing Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tank Facility Statements, reviewing and verifying Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans, and routine inspections of facilities with a total petroleum storage quantities at or above 10,000 gallons.
- Submit the following information electronically via the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS):
- Facility Information Page
- Hazardous Materials Inventory
- Emergency Response and Training Plan
- Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act Documentation
- Prepare and maintain a copy of SPCC Plan onsite.*
- Implement the procedures outlined in SPCC Plan.*
- Review and Update SPCC Plan every 5 years.*
- Pay an annual invoice to keep your permit active.
*Always refer to applicable laws and regulations when deciding which type of SPCC plan to use and when to self-certify.
Laws and Regulations
Guidance and Fact Sheets
Tanks in Underground Areas
Permit fees are based on the total petroleum storage capacity of your facility. For information on APSA Program fees, click here
Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like answers to frequently asked questions about APSA, click here.