Underground Storage Tank (UST) Operator Training
Update 7/29/23: UST operator exam website is now available. Please contact the nearest DEC office with any questions.
Under federal and state regulations, certain underground storage tank (UST) systems must have Operators who are trained in tank-specific knowledge. The revision of New York State's petroleum bulk storage (PBS) regulations, 6 NYCRR Part 613 (PDF), went into effect on October 11, 2015 and required facilities with such tanks to designate the names of their authorized Class A and Class B Operators with DEC by October 11, 2016. To become authorized, Operators must be trained and must pass a DEC-administered exam that demonstrates their competence to operate these tank systems. As described below, DEC offers the authorization exam for free online.
Once authorized by DEC, facilities may designate their Operators for their specific sites. The preferred method to designate Operators for existing facilities is by having the owner (or authorized representative) send an email to [email protected] indicating the Class A and/or B Operator(s) along with their respective Operator authorization numbers (which they receive when they pass an exam) and the seven-digit PBS number assigned to the facility. An alternative would be to submit a registration application (or license application for Major Oil Storage Facilities (MOSFs)) to DEC by mail to the respective regional office that includes the Operator's name and authorization number (this process is treated as an information update with no fee). To emphasize, only operators of certain USTs are required to become trained and pass the DEC exam. Specifically, this requirement does not apply to:
- Any aboveground storage tank (AST);
- USTs storing heating oil for consumptive on-site use (e.g., underground heating oil tanks in apartment buildings);
- USTs with a design capacity of 1,100 gallons or less which are used to store motor fuel for non-commercial purposes (not for resale) at a farm or residence;
- USTs part of an emergency generator system at nuclear power generation facilities regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under 10 CFR Part 50.
The training and testing requirements apply to operators of USTs subject to the requirements of NYS regulations 6 NYCRR Subpart 613-2 (which are applicable to Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) and Major Oil Storage Facilities (MOSF)) and 6 NYCRR Part 596 (Chemical Bulk Storage (CBS) facilities). These are USTs with a capacity greater than 110 gallons that are used to store petroleum (most commonly motor fuel such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or jet fuel) or any UST used to store any amount of hazardous substance (e.g., methanol, caustic soda, acetone, etc.) listed in Part 597.
In the past, facilities had a single, overall "operator." The regulations maintain the concept of an overall facility operator, but now also includes Class A, B, and C Operators which are assigned on a tank basis rather than overall facility basis like the facility operator. All facilities will continue to have a single and overall facility operator.
A general guidance for the responsibilities of typical Class Operators is as follows. Note that this is only guidance, and anyone may serve as the Class Operator regardless of their individual responsibilities at the facility, granted they become authorized through New York State.
Class A Operators are individuals who have the primary responsibility for the operation and maintenance of UST systems. They tend to be on the administrative/managerial side.
Class B Operators are individuals who have the day-to-day responsibility for implementing the applicable regulatory requirements. They tend to do the hands-on work with the tank systems including monitoring and maintenance.
Class C Operators are employees most likely to first come across a spill or emergency. They must know how to properly respond to these spills and emergencies.
All Class operators (Class A, B, and C) must be trained but only Class A and Class B Operators must pass the DEC exam. One person may fulfill the roles of all three Operator types at a facility. In that case, they should take the combination Operator Class A/B exam and make sure that they understand the site-specific responsibilities required of a Class C Operator. Class C Operators must be trained and assessed under the direction of a Class A or Class B Operator or be a Class A or Class B Operator familiar with site-specific emergency and spill response. A suggested process for assessing Class C Operators is given in DEC's "Operator Training Guide" (also known as Tank IQ; see below).
- Operator Training Guide (Tank IQ) (PDF, 5.9 MB)
- List of currently authorized Class A/B Operators in NYS (PDF, 2.1 MB, 245 Pages)
The requirements for Operator training are specified in 6 NYCRR section 613-2.5 (PBS) and 6 NYCRR section 598.12 (CBS). The applicability of the operator training requirement at MOSFs is found in 6 NYCRR 613-1.2(b).
A summary of the requirements and additional guidance for complying with the Operator training requirements can be found in the DEC policy, DER-40 - Operator Training (PDF). A brief summary of the main requirements is as follows:
- Tank owners and operators of existing facilities must have designated (to DEC) their authorized Class A, Class B, and Class C Operators by October 11, 2016.
- New facilities must designate their authorized Operators prior to the first delivery of petroleum into a tank system. If the Operators change, the facility owner/designee must update the information with DEC.
- Facilities may designate their authorized Operators through email or by updating their registration information via a registration application.
To assist Class A and Class B Operators as they prepare for the DEC exam, DEC has prepared an Operator Training Guide (PDF, 5.9 MB) also known as "TankIQ." The exam is open book and is available online or on paper (by request to DEC). Paper exams will be scheduled by DEC, proctored, and likely held at DEC Regional Offices (depending on the number of examinees). Examinees who do not pass the exam may retake it, but no more than a total of three times in any six-month window. Exams may not be retaken more than once every 24 hours.
- New York State UST Operator Exam - Online Website - Create an account and take the exam online. You will need a valid email address.
(The UST Operator Exam is supported by all modern web browsers including: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer version 10 or greater. Google Chrome is recommended for navigating the exam.)
(Some issues have been reported with Internet Explorer. Users should either disable "Compatibility View" - under the "Tools" tab, or try a different browser. DEC is currently working on a solution.)
- UST Operator Exam Tutorial (PDF) - Learn how to navigate the online exam website.
Persons may also request an in-person, paper-based authorization exam by sending a request by mail:
UST Operator Training Exam
or by email to: [email protected]
Requests must include the name, address, email address (if available), and phone number (if available) for the requestor. DEC will determine when and where to administer paper exams and will notify candidates of available dates and places depending on the number and distribution of requests received. All paper in-person exams are proctored by DEC staff.