If you’re thinking about putting a propane tank underground, you should be aware of the regulations you’ll have to abide by.
Here are the underground propane tank regulations that apply strictly according to various local and state provisions, from the distance requirements you must observe when choosing a legally acceptable location to bury your tank to safety guidelines.
Underground propane tank regulations
If you’re thinking about putting an underground propane gas tank in, keep the following general rules and legal requirements in mind:
Choosing a location that is legal
The first thing you should know is that you cannot legally bury the tank anywhere.
In short, when it comes to the safe, efficient, and responsible use of underground propane tanks, the tank’s location is critical.
As a result, national, state, and local governments have established a set of guidelines to follow when determining the best location for the tank in your yard.
They are as follows:
Prerequisites for travel (common to all tanks)
In general, you are not permitted to place a propane tank near vehicles or traffic. This eliminates locations near driveways, roads, streets, parking lots, and other similar structures.
All 125-500 gallon tanks should be installed at least 10 feet away from structures and appliances such as window air conditioners, compressors, and other potential ignition sources. It should also be 10 feet from your property’s edge or boundary.
Those planning to install tanks with a capacity of 2000 gallons should keep them at least 25 feet away from structures.
It’s important to note that no part of your 2000-gallon underground tank can be less than ten feet from the building or property line.
Last but not least:
If your tank holds less than 125 gallons, make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from your window air conditioner and at least 5 feet away from a crawlspace opening.
Additional requirements for placement and distance
If your underground propane gas tank must be installed within 10 feet of vehicular traffic, the law usually requires you to install crash-resistant physical protection (such as bollards, barriers, or fences) to protect the exposed dome.
Furthermore, special depth requirements for the underground portion of a propane tank that must be installed beneath any type of vehicular traffic must be adhered to.
Furthermore, the tank should be no more than 100 feet from a driveway or access road. This helps to ensure that the propane delivery truck’s hose can easily reach it.
Other requirements for installing a propane tank underground
Size of the hole to be dug
This is largely determined by the size of your tank.
However, the following are the most common recommendations to point you in the right direction:
• Excavate a pit that is 17′ x 4′ x 5′ for 1000 gallon tanks that measure 9’10” X 6′-17/8”. (Length X Width X Depth).
• Dig a hole 11′ x 4′ x 5′ for tanks with a capacity of 500 gallons and a size of 8′ 10 34” X 5′. (Length X Width X Depth).
requirements for safety
In addition to ensuring that the distance and hole excavation requirements are met, propane companies and licensed contractors are required to follow a few safety guidelines when installing underground propane tanks.
Overall, these measures protect the tank from damage while also lowering the risk of leakage.
The following are the most important safety provisions:
• On the foundation: It is critical to ensure that the foundation on which the tank is installed is sufficiently firm.
• Make sure the container is secure; underground gas tanks can float if the water level (in the hole) rises above the propane level (in the tank). Before lowering the propane tank, wet cement should be placed in the hole to prevent this. Once the concrete cures, the tank will be secured.
• When backfilling the tank, only sand/firm earth (free of rocks, gravel, and other materials that could cut through the tank’s protective coating) should be used.
Other rules and regulations
Furthermore, some areas require you to apply for special fire department permits.
It’s also worth noting that a plumbing permit might be required (confirm from your local planning department).
The cost of an underground propane tank as a result of the regulations
The extra expense caused by the aforementioned regulations is the primary reason why underground propane tanks are more expensive than above ground tanks.
Costs to help you budget properly:
• Permits- Permit costs vary by location, with some charging more than others. The good news is that it’s mostly a one-time expense (not subject to renewal).
• Excavation costs- Before installing a propane tank, the contractor must ensure that the foundation is solid, that the tank is installed at the proper depth below ground, that it is secured in place, and that it is backfilled properly for maximum safety. All of this adds up to a higher bill.
• Labor costs will be higher because installing underground propane tanks necessitates the use of more workers and equipment.
• Sacrificial anode bag- Sacrificial anode bags are usually placed around underground propane tanks before installation to improve corrosion protection. You are also responsible for this expense.
• Cost of underground propane tank inspection- The anti-corrosion coating must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that it is still protecting the tank adequately. That will be an additional cost in the future.
To cut a long story short, installing an underground propane tank could cost as much as twice as much as installing an above-ground tank.
While the above underground propane tank regulations may appear to be restrictive, following them when burying your tank can go a long way toward ensuring your safety and the propane tank’s optimal performance.
Of course, underground propane tank regulations differ by state/locality, so check with your local building and fire departments for specific information before proceeding with the project.