New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Petroleum Storage Tank Bureau

Prevention & Inspection FAQs

These FAQs and answers are based on the current version of New Mexico’s Petroleum Storage Tank regulations, which went into effect on July 24, 2018. Most of these are actual questions received from the regulated public, edited for clarity.

Abbreviations:

AST=above ground storage tank
CFR= Code of Federal Regulations
NMAC=New Mexico Administrative Code (=New Mexico regulations)
NMED=New Mexico Environment Department
PST=petroleum storage tank
PSTB=Petroleum Storage Tank Bureau
UST=underground storage tank

Forms referred to below are available on the PSTB website at: https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/inspection-forms-2/.

      1. What is New Mexico’s current scheduled implementation of containment sump testing required in EPA 40 CFR Section 280?
        20.5 NMAC (New Mexico’s Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) regulations) require that owners and operators of regulated storage tank systems test all containment sumps used to meet spill prevention requirements or to interstitially monitor underground piping no later than July 24, 2021 and every three years thereafter.  See 20.5.107.704, 20.5.107.706, 20.5.107.709.H, 20.5.108.811, 20.5.108.813, 20.5.110.1005, 20.5.110.1007, 20.5.110.1008, 20.5.110.1010, 20.5.111.1106, and 20.5.111.1108 NMAC.
      2. How will New Mexico be enforcing the testing requirements?
        Owners and operators are required to submit all reports of required testing results within 24 hours if the result is a failure or within 60 days of completion of a test if the result is a pass. Inspectors will follow up if scheduled test results are not received within required time frames. Reporting, notification, and recordkeeping requirements are in 20.5.107.711, 20.5.107.714, 20.5.107.715, 20.5.109.901, 20.5.110.1012, 20.5.110.1015, 20.5.110.1016, and 20.5.118.1801 NMAC.
      3. Does New Mexico require specific licensing for contractors performing testing of sumps and for the sump repairs?
        Any person who tests containment sumps must meet qualifications outlined in 20.5.105.504 NMAC. A link to the current set of regulations can be found at the bottom of this page. Repairs to containment sumps must be either performed by a NMED PSTB Certified Installer or by someone under the supervision of a NMED PSTB Certified Installer (20.5.105 NMAC). Certified Installers must be certified to work on the type of tank (AST or UST) with which the piping is associated. A list of testers and their qualifications is available at https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/tank-installer-certification/.
      4. What is New Mexico’s specific policy toward “low level” sump testing?
        For containment sumps associated with interstitial monitoring, requirements for regular (“high-level”) and low-level sump testing were incorporated into 20.5.107.706 NMAC and 20.5.110.1007 NMAC. Containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping must be tested by July 24, 2021 and every three years after that as described in those subsections. A high-level test or site check is required every 12 years. Low-level testing may be conducted UNLESS one or more of the following conditions is discovered:

        1. a liquid is discovered in the sump or evidence is found that a liquid has been at a level equal to or higher than the lowest penetration in the sump;
        2. sensors in containment sumps are discovered to be located higher than the lowest part of the sump;
        3. sensors in containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring do not meet the requirements for automatic shut off in 20.5.108.811 NMAC; or
        4. a site check has found evidence of a release from the containment sump.

        If one or more of the conditions listed in 1 thru 4 is discovered, then a high-level test that meets 20.5.107.706 NMAC or 20.5.110.1007 NMAC is required for containment sumps to meet the periodic testing requirements in 20.5 NMAC. Containment sumps that pass the high-level test may use the low-level test in paragraph (3) of 20.5.107.706.C NMAC or paragraph (3) of 20.5.110.1007.D up to the 12th year, when a new high-level test or a site check is required.

      5. A company manufactures and supplies EPA-compliant sump leak repair applications that can be installed within the existing sump structure without excavation, disconnecting pipe, or replacement generally.  These applications have been through significant compatibility testing, and again recently with 3rd-party independent laboratory testing to UL 2447 requirements.  What other approval requirements does New Mexico have for this type of application?
        20.5 NMAC requires that repairs must be conducted in accordance with a national code, standard, or recommended practice or manufacturer’s instructions.  If the equipment or material is UL rated, it can be used as long as there is documentation of compatibility that meets the requirements in federal regulations and 20.5 NMAC if the repair is on a system containing a regulated substance containing greater than 10% ethanol or greater than 20% biodiesel (20.5.107.708 NMAC, 20.5.110.1009 NMAC).
      6. Will tank owners and operators need to notify PSTB of their choice of release detection (letter, email, state form, etc.)?
        20.5.102.202 NMAC requires the owner to notify PSTB at least 30 days before a tank system is installed. The notification form (found here: https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/inspection-forms-2/) requests information on release detection. 20.5.102.202 NMAC also requires the owner to register a tank within 60 days of placing a regulated substance in the tank. 20.5.102.207 requires tank owners to include the type of release detection for each tank in their registration. 20.5.107.711 NMAC and 20.5.110.1012.B require owners, operators, and certified installers to provide notice when they replace, repair, or modify their PST systems, which could include repairs or replacement of release detection equipment.
      7. Will tank owners and operators need to notify PSTB prior to testing?
        Owners and operators are required to notify the Bureau in advance when testing a sump as part of a modification, repair, or replacement. See 20.5.107.711 NMAC. Notification of tank installation, which also involves testing, is also required (20.5.102.202 NMAC).
      8. Is testing of spill or overfill equipment or containment sumps considered a critical juncture during installs, modifications, or repairs?
        Yes. Please refer to 20.5.107.711 NMAC and 20.5.110.1012 NMAC. When a tank, piping, spill prevention equipment, or sump is tested as part of an installation, modification, repair, or replacement, it is considered a “critical juncture.” Sufficient notification of critical junctures is required to allow an inspector to be present and observe and verify the testing.
      9. Will your agency require test results to be submitted or do they just need to be made available during inspections?
        20.5.107.715 B NMAC requires owners and operators to submit failed test results within 24 hours and to submit passed test results within 60 days of completion.
      10. How do I create an O & M (Operations & Maintenance) plan?
        Please go to https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/guidance-documents-ast-and-ust/ and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says Drafting an Operations and Maintenance Plan.
      11. Energy Policy Act of 2005 – Does New Mexico require secondary containment for tanks installed after 4/4/2008? Did New Mexico adopt the requirements of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005?
        Yes, New Mexico adopted the Energy Policy Act requirements and regulations, and NM PST regulations require secondary containment for USTs installed on or after April 4, 2008. New Mexico also adopted requirements for A, B, and C operators and the requirement for inspections every three years.
      12. Overfill Prevention Inspection – When is the first inspection of overfill prevention equipment due? Are inspections to be conducted every 3 years thereafter?
        NM PST regulations require the first inspection of overfill no later than July 24, 2021 and every three years thereafter (20.5.107.704 NMAC, 20.5.110.1005 NMAC).

    Spill Bucket Testing

      1. When is the first test of spill prevention equipment to be completed? Are tests to be conducted every 3 years thereafter?
        NM PST Regulations require the first test to be no later than July 24, 2021 and every three years thereafter for single wall spill buckets and within 30 days of any repair (20.5.107.704, 20.5.107.709, 20.5.109.910, 20.5.110.1005, 20.5.110.1010 NMAC).
      2. Are double-walled spill buckets required to be tested if interstitially monitored?
        Double walled spill buckets can be either periodically tested or interstitially monitored every 30 days. (20.5.107.704, 20.5.110.1005 NMAC)

    UDC (Under-dispenser containment) Testing

      1. When is the first test of UDC to be completed? Are tests to be conducted every 3 years thereafter?
        See answer to the first question on this page. NM PST regulations require the first test to be no later than July 24, 2021 and every three years thereafter for single wall sumps (20.5.107.706, 20.5.108.811, 20.5.108.813, 20.5.110.1007, 20.5.111.1106, 20.5.111.1108 NMAC). New UDC must be hydrostatically tested prior to use (20.5.106.606, 20.5.109.917 NMAC). When UDC is repaired, it must be tightness tested within 30 days (20.5.107.709.H NMAC).
      2. Are double-walled sumps required to be tested if interstitially monitored?
        Double-walled sumps can be either periodically tested or interstitially monitored every 30 days (20.5.107.704, 20.5.107.706, 20.5.108.811 NMAC). When a double-walled sump is repaired, it must be tested within 30 days. (20.5.110.1010 NMAC). Where the regulations listed in the question above about UDC testing don’t specify double-walled or single-walled sumps, assume they apply to both.

    Sumps, UDC (Under-dispenser containment) and Release Detection Equipment Visual Inspection

      1. When is the first visual inspection of sumps, UDC to be completed? Are inspections required annually thereafter?
        NM PST regulations require sumps and UDC to be inspected every 30 days starting July 24, 2018. (20.5.107.704, 20.5.107.706, 20.5.107.707, 20.5.110.1002, 20.5.110.1007, 20.5.110.1008, 20.5.111.1102, 20.5.114.1404 NMAC).
      2. When is the first test of release detection equipment to be completed?
        Release detection equipment except for Automatic Tank Gauges (ATG) must be checked every 30 days starting August 23, 2018 (see 30-day Walk Through Inspections, below) (20.5.107.707 NMAC, 20.5.110.1008, 20.5.111.1109, NMAC). Hand held release detection equipment such as tank gauge sticks and electronic sampling equipment must be checked annually starting July 24, 2018 (20.5.107.707, 20.5.108.806, 20.5.108.807, 20.5.110.1008).
      3. When will tank owners and operators who use an ATG (automatic tank gauging system) to monitor their tanks be required to have them tested annually?
        Starting July 24, 2021 (see 20.5.108.805.B NMAC).

    30-day Walk Through Inspections

      1. When is the first inspection to be completed? Are inspections required every 30 days thereafter?
        NM PST regulations require inspection of spill and overfill prevention equipment and review of release detection records and equipment for alarms or signs of a release every 30 days. The first inspection was required by August 23, 2018 (20.5.107.707 NMAC, 20.5.110.1008 NMAC), since the current regulations went into effect July 24, 2018.
      2. Who performs them?
        NM PST regulations require that Class A/B Operators perform monthly inspections (see 20.5.101.7 NMAC, definition of Class A, B and C operators).
      3. Forms Available – Are there forms available on the NM Environmental Department website?
        Yes, there are revised monthly checklist templates and other forms available on NMED PSTB’s website at https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/guidance-documents-ast-and-ust/ (bottom of page) and https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/inspection-forms-2/.
      4. Are tank owners/operators allowed to develop their own monthly checklist forms?
        Yes, as long as they include the required elements from 20.5.107 NMAC and/or 20.5.110 NMAC.
      5. When will emergency generator systems be required to have release detection?
        Both AST and UST emergency generator systems that were installed prior to July 24, 2018 will be required to meet release detection requirements no later than July 24, 2021.  New emergency generator systems installed after July 24, 2018 are required to meet release detection requirements upon installation (20.5.112 NMAC, 20.5.113 NMAC).
      6. Do I need a permit to install a storage tank regulated under 20.5 NMAC?

    Here is a short summary of what is required:

    Contractor must be a certified installer as outlined in 20.5.105 NMAC.
    Thirty-day advance notification must be submitted to PSTB.
    Project drawings must be submitted with 30-day notification.
    Owner, operator, and/or installer need to provide verbal notice to inspector 24 hours prior to start of installation and prior to each critical juncture.
    Owner must register any new tank or storage tank system within 60 days of placing a regulated substance in the tank (20.5.102.202 NMAC).

      1. What is a regulated substance under 20.5 NMAC?
        See 20.5.101.7.R(4) NMAC:
        For ASTs and USTs, it’s petroleum or a fraction thereof, that is liquid at standard room temperature.
        For USTs, it also includes hazardous substances as defined in Section 101(14) of CERCLA.
      2. Is a certified installer required for permanent closure of a regulated tank system?
        A certified installer is not required. However, the contractor needs to have the required licensing from the Construction Industries Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. It’s recommended that the contractor know how to collect environmental samples.
      3. What are the requirements for under-dispenser containment when a dispenser is replaced on a UST?
        When a dispenser is replaced and the replacement will require the installation of new flex connectors, shear valves, and other components, then under-dispenser containment is required.
      4. What size tanks are regulated by 20.5 NMAC?
        Generally, USTs with a capacity greater than 110 gallons, and ASTs with a capacity between 1,320 and 55,000 gallons. See 20.5.101 NMAC, including the definitions of “Above ground storage tank” and “Underground storage tank” for more information.
      5. How often do owners and operators have to test their spill prevention equipment on UST systems?
        First test is required no later than July 24, 2021. Tests must be conducted every three years after the first test. See 20.5.107.704 NMAC.
      6. What is the deadline for owners and operators to meet release detection requirements for emergency generator USTs and ASTs installed prior to July 24, 2018?
        The deadline for this is July 24, 2021. See 20.5.112.1205 NMAC for ASTs and 20.5.113.1303 for USTs.

    Copies of 20.5 NMAC can be found at https://www.env.nm.gov/petroleum_storage_tank/proposed-regulation-revisions/, or by contacting the inspector for your area or calling 505-476-5552.