ACA and its Massachusetts Paint Council (MPC) have been pursuing passage of a bill to relieve the inspection burden on local paint companies for storage tanks currently subject to annual fire marshal inspections and fees. Toward that end, ACA submitted a letter of support for Massachusetts House Bill 699, “An Act Relative to Certain Tanks Used for the Storage of Fluids,” which was the subject of a March 27 hearing of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
ACA and its MPC have been working for some years on legislation in Massachusetts that would amend the state’s hazardous materials storage tank regulations, which require permits and costly inspections for what would normally be deemed nonhazardous materials (i.e., latex paint).
Under current law, the Fire Marshal is required to inspect all above-ground storage tanks exceeding 10,000 gallons if the tank contains a fluid other than water. The inspection of the above-ground storage tank is required to be conducted on an annual basis, regardless of the content of the tanks or the level of potential harm they may pose. The proposed bill maintains the provision authorizing annual inspections, but adds language to allow forinspections at other intervals as deemed appropriate by the Fire Marshal. The proposed amendment would grant the Fire Marshal the discretion to limit the permitting requirements and frequency of the inspections for tanks it determines are less of a concern based on the tank’s size, contents, and containment systems. This would reduce the burden on both paint manufacturers and the Fire Marshal.
The bill has received the support in the past of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the State Fire Marshal and has passed both the House and Senate in prior years.
While the bill has found support in prior sessions, it has never been fully enacted.
During the 2012 legislative session, working with the Fire Marshal’s office, the Governor’s office, and the Department of Environmental Protection, the bill (S2166) was voted favorably out of the House Ways and Means Committee, but didn’t progress further.