New requirements for the installation and inspection of fuel oil tanks (above and below ground) were introduced by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in October 2001 to reduce the number of fuel oil leaks and spills that occur throughout the province each year. In November 2002 the TSSA advised all owners of fuel oil heating systems of the requirements to have their heating systems inspected by qualified oil burner technicians, and the need to register their underground (buried) fuel oil storage tanks with TSSA.
The regulations require fuel oil distributors to conduct inspections on all fuel oil heating systems. This includes all underground and aboveground tanks, associated piping, venting and heating appliances such as furnaces, boilers and water heaters. The fuel oil distributors must inspect all equipment to which they deliver fuel, whether it is located above or below ground, initially and at least once every 10 years. Fuel oil cannot be delivered to equipment that poses an immediate hazard. Many fuel oil delivery companies will inspect the equipment yearly at no additional cost to the homeowner to ensure that the tank is safe before the delivery of fuel oil at the start of the heating season.
Should the technician determine that there is an issue with the installation of the tank or supporting components of the heating system they will issue an order for rectification. Depending on the severity of the danger from the unsafe installation, a fuel supplier can specify a time period up to 90 days for corrective action or the delivery of fuel oil will cease. If the unsafe installation is very dangerous (Red Tag), then the distributor must immediately stop the supply of fuel oil to the installation. Tank owners can get a second opinion from other Oil Burner Technicians and other Fuel Oil Suppliers to confirm whether or not there is an unsafe installation.
There are insurance carriers who choose not to provide insurance coverage when tanks have passed a prescribed age. This is not a requirement of TSSA. TSSA does not regulate Insurance carriers who ultimately may decide to impose a replacement requirement based on the age of the tank according to their own risk assessment criteria. There may be insurance companies who will provide insurance despite your tank’s age. You may consider contacting other insurance carriers for insurance coverage requirements.
There are no specific code or regulation requirements that dictate the replacement of above ground storage tanks, based on age limit considerations. The deadline for replacing underground storage tanks is determined by CAN/CSA-B139-00 Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment.
To find out more about Fuel oil governed under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, and Ontario Regulation, 213/0, you can obtain a copy from the TSSA Web at www.tssa.org or order a copy from the Ontario Government Bookstore at 1-800-668-9938.
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