Press Release

How to make aboveground storage tanks in flood-prone areas safer

Department of Environmental Conservation

Montpelier, Vt. – The flood events of July 2023 have had a significant impact on aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) in homes and businesses across the state. ASTs include basement and home heating oil tanks that hold heating fuel such as #2 oil or kerosene.

The State of Vermont Spill Response Team has received over 100 calls about ASTs that released heating fuel into structures or the environment as a result of the July floods. Releases were also common during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. When an AST becomes surrounded by floodwater, they often become buoyant, turn over and float on one side. Indoor ASTs float in the basement, while outdoor ASTs float in floodwaters and can be carried some distance away.

If your AST needs to be replaced due to flooding, all new installations must follow the State’s 2017 AST Rules. These standards provide guidance on how to install ASTs in flood-prone areas and outline key measures that help prevent damage, disruption, and environmental impacts in the future.

If your AST was impacted by flooding but does need to be replaced outright, it can be reinstalled in the same location, however, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) strongly advises that these same standards are followed.

Heating fuel releases not only disrupt homeowners and businesses, but they also harm the environment. Most heating fuel releases can be avoided and DEC encourages homeowners and businesses to take steps to help prevent future releases.

To learn more, call the DEC Storage Tanks Section at 802-828-1138 or find information online about the standards for ASTs in flood-prone areas.

For more information on flood recovery resources from the Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Department, or the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, visit

Categories: Press Release

3 replies »

  1. I don’t see anything in the rules relative to the 500-gallon propane tank I had installed outside my last house. I can just picture it becoming unmoored and floating down the road as a moving bomb.