Underground Storage Tank Red Tag Requirements and Guidance

Red Tag Code and Regulations

The California Health and Safety Code, chapter 6.7, section 25292.3 permits the local implementing agencies and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to affix red tags to any hazardous substance underground storage tank (UST) system.  This law also permits the State Water Board or local implementing agency to issue a written directive to empty the noncompliant UST system as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours after receiving the directive.  Any action taken by the State Water Board will be taken in consultation with the local implementing agency.

In addition, existing laws prohibits deposit of petroleum into a red tagged UST system.  Delivery, deposit, and input of hazardous substances into and withdrawn of stored substance from a red tagged UST system is prohibited, except to empty the UST system at the direction of the State Water Board or local implementing agency.

USTs determined to have a significant violation that poses an imminent threat to health, safety of the environment may have a red tag affix preventing that UST system from either accepting fuel deliveries or dispensing fuel.

There are three categories of significant violation, as defined California Code of Regulations, title 23, division 3, chapter 16, section 2717:

  • A violation causing or threatening to cause a release to the environment
  • A violation that impairs the leak detection system
  • A chronic violation committed by a recalcitrant violator

The State Water Board has provided instructions for affixing and removing red tags, with photographs of fill riser bag and red tag installation.  The State Water Board provided guidance on the changes to the red tag code in a letter to stakeholders.

Red Tag Data

The State Water Board has provided graphic summaries of the total number of red tags affixed by year and a breakdown of the significant violation types.  Red tag information is prepared biannually by local implementing agencies and reported to the State Water Board each March and September.   

Red Tags Affixed by Year (2011-2020)

Year

Jan - Jun

Jul - Dec

Annual Total

2011

78

50

128

2012

103

67

170

2013

89

34

123

2014

57

61

118

2015

68

82

150

2016

127

125

252

2017

102

96

198

2018

105

114

219

2019

54

65

119

2020

21

45

66

 

same data as the table above Red Tag Affixed, from 2011 to 2020 January through December


Significant Violations by Type (2011-2020)

Year

Liquid Release*

Impaired Leak Detection

Chronic or Recalcitrant

2011

14

54

65

2012

21

37

111

2013

2

32

90

2014

7

33

78

2015

28

48

74

2016

21

57

174

2017

40

42

116

2018

25

37

157

2019

16

42

73

2020

16

18

32

 

Same data as the table above Significant Violations by Type, in 2020

*Liquid release means a loss detected by the release detection system and/or captured by the secondary containment
For information about this page, please contact Tom Henderson or (916) 319-9128.