What You Should Know About The Gasoline Handling Act

Originally Published in the July/August 1995 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.


From John Walters, Assistant Deputy Minister

Editors Note: Early this spring NOTO contacted the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to express concern with changes to the Gasoline Handling Act. The following is the reply we received:

Thank you for your letter dated March 13, 1995. I am replying on behalf of the Minister. I apologize for the delay, but since you raised many concerns, some time was needed to research the answers.

The Gasoline Handling Act and Regulation were revised in September 1993, and the new regulation adopted the Gasoline Handling Code, dated January 1st, 1993. The new Act and Regulation were printed in the Gazette; bulletins were sent to registered contractors and retailers; and there was extensive media coverage to inform interested parties of the new requirements.

Prior to the revised Regulation and Code being introduced, the Fuels Safety program of the Ministry consulted with as many stakeholders as possible. In fact, this Regulation/Code was circulated to a wider audience than any previous Regulation/Code. Unfortunately, the Fuels Safety Program was not aware of your organization and so you were not included in the consultation. However, we will be pleased to take advantage of the opportunity to consult with your association for future revisions of the Gasoline Handling Regulation and Code.

You indicated that the requirements for above ground storages tanks are of particular concern to your Association. The requirements under Regulation 521/93, requires that certain above ground storages tanks must rest on the ground or on supports made of concrete, masonry, pilings or steel. This is essentially the same requirement in section 6(32) of the Code, adopted under Regulation 439/90, which states that combustible materials of any nature be kept cleared away from under or around undiked above ground tank. Please note that this Ministry has no jurisdiction over airports or tanks used to fuel aircraft.

Provisions for portable tanks can be found in sections 8(51) to 5(54) of the Code. These tanks must be certified in accordance with standard CAN/ULC-S643.

Sections 6(22) to 6(28) outline requirements for the diking of above ground tanks. Under section 6(23), tanks with a capacity of 5000 L or less need not be diked provided they meet certain conditions. The owner of the tank must use his/her judgment to determine whether or not the tank satisfies these conditions. Fuel tank leaks have the potential to cause significant environmental damage as well as endangering public safety. Therefore, if there is any doubt as to whether or not an above ground tank satisfies the conditions in section 6(23), the tank should be diked.

Section 6(39) of the Code, adopted by Regulation 521/93, specifies that product shall not be transferred from an above ground storage tank except by means of pumping. This is the same requirement as the one under section 8(18) of the old Code, Regulation 439/90. Tanks operating under a gravity-fed system were not approved for use under the old regulation.

Unless the Code specifically requires facilities to be upgraded, existing facilities are considered to be approved provided they complied with the previous Codes and Regulations prior to September 1993; it must meet the current code. Modifications to all existing facilities and all new construction must meet the current code.

Under Regulation 521/93, tourist camps may be classified as other retail outlets if they are selling gasoline or an associated product, or private outlets if they are dispensing gasoline or an associated product for their own use. Retail outlets must be licensed in order to operate and are required to submit drawings for review or have them stamped by a Professional Engineer. Private outlets must also submit drawings, but they do not require a license. Drawings are required for these facilities because there is a potential risk to the public when many vehicles are refuelled.

I would like to thank you for bringing these matters to the Minister’s attention. Should you wish to discuss these matters further or to meet with the staff of the Fuels Safety Program, please contact Mr. E. K. Taylor, Chief Engineer, at (416) 234-6024. 


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