DEQ's storage tank program is responsible for reviewing and issuing permit to install and operate both aboveground and underground storage tanks. It is also responsible for performing inspections, compliance monitoring and enforcement of regulations.
Aboveground Storage Tanks
An Aboveground Storage Tank or ‘AST’ means any tank or combination of tanks that is used to contain regulated substances and is not an underground storage tank. An AST system is any aboveground storage tank, connected piping, ancillary equipment, and spill containment system. Leak detections for ASTs must be performed by a certified tank installer.
Prior to installation of any AST system, the owner or operator shall apply for and obtain an AST Permit to Install from DEQ. The AST Permit to Install application fee is five hundred dollars ($500.00) per tank payable to the CNMI Treasurer at the time of application submission. AST permits must be submitted with the AST design and operation plan. AST applications are then reviewed and are approved only when the AST application package is in full compliance of the AST regulations.
The AST permitting process shall not exceed 30 days. AST system locations are restricted as required by the Groundwater Management Zone (GMZ). For detailed information on these restrictions, please access the GMZ located in the Safe Drinking Water pages.
More importantly, if you are considering installing an aboveground storage tank at your site, you need to determine if your property is located in a tidal or storm inundation area. visit this link FEMA Flood Zone to determine if your property and your proposed AST location is within an area of concern. This will impact the approval or denial of your AST permit to install.
We recommend that you also read the Saipan Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: Saipan Sea Level Inundation to guide you when planning the location of your proposed AST. This document has the sea level rise (SLR) values which were calculated using a locally-adjusted SLR projection calculator developed by NOAA, USGS, and US Army Corps and serves as a “best management” guidance regarding AST locations.
AST Permit to Operate shall be obtained from DEQ prior to commencing the operation of a newly installed AST system. The AST Permit to Operate is one hundred dollars ($100.00) per tank. An AST Permit to Operate must be renewed every five (5) years from the date of issuance.
AST Regulations are intended to address potential sources of pollution that may result from AST systems. To ensure the prevention and early detection of any release of a regulated substance, new and existing AST systems are required to meet acceptable design and installation criteria. A copy of the AST regulation is found at the end of this page. In addition to the regulations, US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has rules for hazardous substances. Access the EPA Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure.
Underground Storage Tanks
An Underground Storage Tank or 'UST' means a tank or any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10% or more of its combined volume underground (or beneath ground surface). USTs store petroleum such as diesel or gas and or other regulated substances. UST Diagrams and Drawings. DEQ routinely conducts UST inspection of facilities that operate in the CNMI. We also provide assistance to the USEPA inspectors with follow up site inspection for compliance with their enforcement actions in the CNMI. The US EPA and DEQ conduct follow up site inspection on a semi annual schedule during USEPA’s program review or evaluation of the UST Program. Also, USEPA conduct their inspection and issues enforcement action or citation to facilities that are non-compliance and/or violates the federal UST Regulation.
Prior to installation of any UST, the owner or operator shall apply for and obtain a UST Permit to Install from DEQ. The UST Permit to Install application fee is five hundred dollars ($500.00) per tank. US EPA Region 9 also reviews all UST permit applications. UST Permit to Operate shall be obtained from DEQ prior to the commencement of a newly installed tank system. The UST Permit to Operate application fee is one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per tank and must be renewed yearly.
Facilities are also required to update their UST information on an annual basis. DEQ uses the EPA UST Notification Form.
The UST Regulation was established to control and enforce permitting, installation, compliance, use and monitoring of all Underground Storage Tanks (UST) containing regulated substances and prohibit the storage of hazardous substances or wastes in UST systems.
Violations the AST or UST Regulations
Any person who violates or refuses to comply with any provision of the above AST or UST regulations shall be subject to civil penalty not to exceed one thousand ($1,000.00) per tank per day per violation.
For general inquiries regarding storage tanks, please email us.