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Rules for Storing Diesel

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500L diesel storage tank

Storing diesel on site, or on farm

by John Carmichael
(Please read the disclaimer at the end)

What are the rules for storing diesel in a big tank?
Can I use a poly tank to store diesel on my farm?

No more Jerry cans- save your backThe Ricegrowers' Association of Australia has on its website the Guidelines for Storing Fuel on Farms. The guide is published by the Australian Institute of Petroleum. This guideline includes a checklist that fuel distributors use, to decide if they will deliver to your above ground bulk diesel storage unit. (Its possible this link could change, so search Google for "Guidelines for Safe Above-Ground Fuel Storage")

The fuel distributor will want to ensure that the tank meets the AS1692 Standard (Tanks for Flammable & Combustible Liquids), there is no rust, there is good drive-in access, the site of the tank is clear, and not near any hazards, and that the ladder to get to the filling point meets the OH&S requirements in your state, and the requirements of AS1657 (ladders & handrails). More detail can be found in their fuel storage guidelines.

For diesel, the maximum tank size they allow is 10000 litres (see AS1940 below).

You should contact the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) in your State for other requirements in relation to bunding, spills, and location near waterways. You should also refer to AS1940 - The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

Unfortunately poly tanks don't pass the flame test in AS1692 - and the standard refers only to metal tanks. Attempts are being made to allow poly tanks to qualify for the Standard, as they are in NZ, but at this stage they do not meet AS1692. This is a great shame because the major safety problem with diesel storage tanks is rust, and our poly tanks never rust! We have a range of transportable steel bunded fuel storage tanks available. Most mining sites require a bunded tank.

Its not illegal to have a poly diesel storage tank, its more to do with whether or not the fuel distributor will fill it for you. Some fuel distributors will deliver to a site with a poly tank, so check with your local distributor. In our experience if one dealer/distributor won't, then try their competitor, they probably will.

However, mounting our tanks on a trailer or truck, will allow you to cart diesel to your site. We have purpose-built diesel trailers, or our poly tanks can be mounted to a gal skid for pushing onto a tipper or flat-bed truck. Have a look at the rules for transporting Diesel .

AS 1940 - 2004 Minor Storage of flammable liquids

Please note that the above standard only applies to class 3 flammable liquids as defined in ADG Code Clause 1.4.9. Diesel is a C1 liquid, except when its being transported. Comments below refer only to diesel (not other flammable liquids). If diesel is stored with other flammables the rules change.
AS1940 specifies a maximum size of 10000L for diesel storage, provided its outdoors, on open land (at least 2ha) and not near anything combustible. It's a good idea to have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby when storing any flammable liquid.

In enclosed areas like sheds and warehouses, the maximum size is 500L, but this changes depending on the surrounding items like walls and boundaries, and the type of establishment, eg school, laboratory, commercial building..
A warehouse can store diesel up to 2000L depending on the available floor space. Please refer to the standard for more detail.

A bund is a containment area or wall, that can hold the diesel, in the event of a spillage or tank failure. It needs to be able to retain its usefulness, even in the event of fire eg brick wall. AS1940-2004 clause 5.8.3 gives a detailed description of the rules relating to the construction of a bund. Clause 5.8.1 says a bund is not required if your tank fits within the definition of minor storage.

The advice on this page is offered as a guide only. You should seek a suitably qualified consultant if you need legally reliable advice.

diesel tank 45oL tankBall Baffles Ball baffle anti-slosh for diesel tanks

FREE freight to most areas
Rapid Diesel and TTi tanks from Poly Tank Supplies
Sydney: 40 Refinery Drive Pyrmont NSW 2009
Registered Office: 53a High St, Taree NSW 2430


Ph: 02 6551 0966

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