Australian Fuel Storage Regulations

Australian Fuel Storage Regulations

Australian Fuel Storage Regulations. A Statewide Directory

Updated 6 February, 2018

When you’re making decisions about your fuel storage, knowing the fuel storage regulations that apply in your state should be an important part of your decision.

In Australia, regulations can surround everything from how and where you install your storage system to how regularly you maintain it, how you prevent leaks and how you handle safety around your storage site.

The regulatory environment is changing. To help you navigate the current situation, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most useful sites for regulatory information in each state.

Underground Fuel Storage

Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS) have the potential to leak, leading to expensive clean-up bills and damage to the environment.

UPSS Regulations require owners and operators to regularly check for leaks in the fuel tanks and pipes used to store and handle petroleum products. They also need to meet minimum standards in their day-to-day environmental management of these storage systems.

While environmental regulations apply in each Australian state, each has slightly different requirements for the storage and maintenance of underground petroleum tanks. In particular, a review of underground fuel storage regulations will begin in NSW in 2018, and the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority is developing a new code of practice on the design, installation and management of UPSS.

You’ll find the essential information for your state at the links below:


The Queensland Government’s business and industry portal’s information on standards, codes of practice and guidelines as outlined in the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Regulation 2004.


Under an amendment to the regulation introduced in 2017,  EPA will continue as the regulatory authority for UPSS matters in NSW until 31 August, 2019. Prior to that date, the EPA will provide expanded technical guidance to improve environmental management and support opportunities to adapt to new fuel handling and storage technologies and environmental needs.

This EPA site provides the essential information on the updated regulation on the management and operation of underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS).


The Victorian EPA published updated guidelines for the design, installation and management of underground fuel storage systems in 2015. You can find the guidelines


If you’re operating in Tasmania, you’ll need to comply with the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2010.


Check the Environmental Guidelines for Service Station Sites and Hydrocarbon Storage (January 2014) for information on UPSS and above ground fuel storage requirements.


Information about legislation administered by the Department of Environmental Regulation, including legislation around petroleum and contaminated sites, can be found here. For information on dangerous goods codes of practice, go to this site.

Information on when a licence is required for the storage of dangerous goods can be found here.


The South Australian EPA is in the process of developing a code of practice on the design, installation and management of UPSS.

In the interim, the EPA recommends compliance with the Victorian EPA Guidelines on the Design, Installation and Management Requirements for Underground Petroleum Storage Systems as a means of ensuring that all reasonable and practical measures are taken in regard to complying with the Environment Protection Act 1993 and the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015.

For further information on the assessment of sites containing UPSS, go to the EPA Guidelines for assessment of underground storage systems.

Information about when you need a SA fuel storage licence and how to apply is available at this site.

Above ground fuel storage tanks – bunding and safety

If you’re installing fuel storage above ground, there are a particular environmental safety and workplace safety regulations that could apply. See the links below for information relevant in your state.
Safe Work Australia – The National Code of Practice for the Storage and Handling of Workplace Dangerous Goods can be found here.


Worksafe Queensland service station safety guidelines -
Brisbane guidelines for storage and dispensing of petroleum products –


NSW – Bunding and spills management information –


Worksafe Victoria guidelines for falls prevention when working with above ground fuel storage.


New Dangerous Substances (General) Regulations took effect in September 2017.

Find Licence and Notice of Installation forms  here

A guide to when you need to install bunding around fuel tanks –


Worksafe NT dangerous goods storage and transport information.

F.E.S. TANKS – Industry Advice

If you’re confused around what regulations apply in your area, we are here to help.

We have the knowledge you need to choose the right system and ensure it is installed and maintained in full compliance with all relevant legislation. Our range of self-bunded tanks also minimises the risk of leaks and does away with the need for expensive and complicated bunding work.

Fuel Storage Regulations and Compliance

F.E.S. fuel storage tanks are built to exceed Australian and international safety standards to ensure the highest levels of safety and environmental protection while giving you optimum flexibility and storage capacity. You can find out more about our certifications and warranties here –

Farm Fuel Tanks. What are the options?

Need to upgrade your farm fuel tanks?

FUEL storage tanks for farms, they can be as varied as the farms themselves.

Similarly, the type of tank you choose will depend on factors including how much fuel you use, the geographic location of your farm, transport – how expensive it is, how regularly tankers deliver to your area, the size of your property and more.

horse drawn hay maker

We want to give you some insight into the different fuel tanks within the farming and agriculture sector and how they suit different needs. Here are some of the typical options, along with the positives and negatives of each.

Above-ground tanks on a tripod stand

These are best suited to farms with lower fuel usage, as storage is typically 1250 litres to 2000 litres.

collage of above ground tanks for farming


  • In the past many of these tanks were supplied by the oil companies, meaning there was virtually no installation cost. However those days are gone, and the cost of supplying a farm fuel tank now generally falls to the farmer.
  • The good thing about tripod tanks is no electric pumps are needed, because fuel can be dispensed by gravity feed.
  • There’s no need for bunding required because the smaller size tanks falls below environmental legislation for fuel containment.


Access for cleaning, checking and refilling has been the major drawback. The tripod structure and security have also been problems.

  • Traditionally tripod tanks were accessed from the top, which made safety when refilling an issue. Because a driver must have three points of contact when refilling a tank, standing on a ladder while holding a nozzle was no longer an option when workplace health and safety regulations were tightened.
  • To solve this problem many farmers had their tanks converted to bottom loading, and at the same time installed gauges in the form of a piece of clear tubing running down the side of the tank which makes it easy to check fuel levels.
  • Tripod safety: Structural integrity of the tank supports needs to be carefully monitored.
  • Tripod stability: Above ground tanks are not ideal in areas prone to severe weather events like cyclones that could topple the tank or cause erosion leading to structural instability. Tripod stands need to be tied down securely in areas prone to high winds.
  • Security: With fuel theft an ongoing issue for farmers all over Australia, security should be a consideration when choosing a tank. The gravity feed on tripod tanks can make it harder to prevent theft given the ease that fuel flows under the gravity feed system. Deterrent options include a lockable ball valve or external security measures like a secured and monitored enclosure.

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On-Ground tanks

On-ground tanks aren’t limited by a support structure, so space and fuel use are the major limitations on size. Environmental regulations say tanks over 4000 litres need to be protected by some form of bunding in case of leakage or rupture. On-ground tanks can be single wall or self-bunded. They generally take a cylindrical, rectangular or square form.

collage of on ground farm fuel tanks



  • There’s no need to bother with tank stands. Having a larger capacity also means reduced transport costs.
  • With self-bunded tanks there’s no need to spend time and money building a bunding structure. Typically, buying a self-bunded tank works out at about half the cost of using a single-wall tank and building a bund. Fully portable tanks self-bunded tanks are also available in sizes up to 18,000 litres, and can be easily carried to different locations on large properties with the product in them.
  • Security: These tanks also offer a higher level of built-in security. Because they require a pump to dispense the fuel, power to the pump can be switched off when the tank is not in use to stop potential thieves. Tanks can also have a lockable hatch across all access points that can be secured with a heavy padlock when the tank is not in use.
  • Access for cleaning is also simple through built-in man hatches.


Single wall on-ground tanks need to be located within a concrete bund that will contain fuel spills. This means extra work and reduces the portability of the tank. The bund also needs to be maintained and drained after rain to ensure it is capable of carrying the tank’s full capacity in case of a spill.
A pump will be needed to dispense fuel, and this will need access to either a 12V or 240V power source.

Underground tanks

These are an economical option for farms that need an on-site storage capacity of 10,000 litres or more.

underground tank collage



  • For farms that are storing petroleum, underground tanks can save them big dollars because they reduce the loss of fuel as a result of evaporation – a significant problem when storing petrol above ground.
  • Security: Underground storage virtually eliminates fuel theft. The size of underground tanks also means farms can reduce transport costs.


  • When storing diesel, condensation tends to be a bigger issue in underground tanks. To minimise this problem it’s advisable to run the tanks at a minimum 70-80 per cent of capacity, to minimise the air space above the fuel level.
  • It’s particularly important when storing fuel underground to use a water finding paste once a week, so that water collecting below the fuel can be pumped out.
  • Long term storage of diesel fuel can lead to contamination by microbes of fungal bugs. Fuel treatments such as diesel biocides are also an option to help prolong fuel life.

Second-hand fuel storage tanks

It only takes a quick Google search to reveal there’s a market in second-hand fuel storage tanks, and they’re not always a bad option.

We often here of farmers buying second-hand fuel storage tanks from service stations. However, when doing so it’s important to know what’s been stored in it and ensure it is fully cleaned and checked for maintenance issues including rust spots and weaknesses at joins.

Fittings can also deteriorate over time leading to fuel loss, so it’s worth checking and changing these as well.

Just remember second-hand tanks could be 15-20 years old, so you’ve got a lot to maintain and upgrade to bring them up to standard. When you can get a new 1000-litre self-bunded tank from about $3500 it’s worth considering the new option before making a decision.


Hopefully you get an understanding of the types of farm fuel tanks available each with its own pros and cons. As well as that you also get a variety of sizes and configurations for each tank type so it is very much dependent on your personal requirements. With that please get in touch so as we can inform you on a best situation for your needs and get you up and running as soon as possible.