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If you’ve ever been a part of an Underground Storage Tank (UST) installation, you know what it takes to make sure the tank and surrounding equipment are safely installed and maintained. We aim to show you our process and make it a little easier for you to understand! 

Petroleum Technical Services specializes in UST installations and modifications. In this blog, we take you through the process we use to successfully install fuel storage tanks for retail and commercial gas stations. Follow along with us! 

Installation Preparation 

First thing’s first, we hit the design stages. We work with gas stations and fueling facilities on which products will best suit their needs. We help choose the tank(s), pumping systems, monitoring systems, and bedding/backfill methods beforehand so we can plan the installation accordingly. 

Creating blueprint designs and accurate site layouts gives us a road map to the final product. The designs must include the property lines, the convenience store, entrances/exits, as well as all structures and all fueling equipment, gauges, and sensors.  

We create the layout for the electrical wires and pipelines we run to and from the tank, so we can accurately dig the underground trenches. In these designs, we include the specific tanks dimensions. That way we know exactly how big the hole for the UST needs to be – height, width, and depth. 



Safety Requirements 

Before we start digging up the ground and getting our hands dirty, there are some general safety requirements that all installation companies must follow.  

Call the utility companies to ensure no utility lines will interfere with our construction. Also, we visit https://call811.com/ website and call them to make sure we’re safe to start construction and dig where our hole is designed to go. 

We must get all designs approved before construction can begin. 

Gather the gear, it’s required to have fire extinguishers and other safety gear on site in case of emergencies. We also display public work signs and barricades for both the public and our personal safety, keeping all traffic away from the work site.  

Excavation, Bedding, Backfill 

After getting all designs and paperwork approved, it’s time to start the construction! We consider the following factors when determining the size, shape, and depth of excavation site: 

  • Tank manufactures installation instructions and requirements 
  • Stability of the soil 
  • Requirements for compacting bedding and backfill: 
    • Pea Gravel – naturally rounded particles with a minimum size of 1/8” and maximum size of 1/2” 
    • Crushed Rock – washed and free flowing angular particles between 1/8” and 1/2” 
    • Sand – review specific tank manufacturer requirements 
  • Space allowances for materials 
  • Depth of cover  
  • Water table – high water tables subject the area to flooding.  
  • Conduit trenches 

   Men digging

Tank Unloading and Testing 

Once the tank hole is ready with the proper bedding and foundation, we start moving in the tank. We make sure to have the correct machinery, chains and cables to safety move the tank into place. Use the manufacture provided lifting lugs to lift and move the tank into the hole, without dragging or dropping it. 

The Underground Storage Tank, along with the other equipment and piping materials, need to be inspected and tested for any transportation or factory damage before the installation. We make sure all operating equipment works properly with no damage or hiccups. 

Installation of Equipment 

After placing the bedding as the foundation and testing the UST, the tank(s) can get lowered into the ground. We secure it to hold the tank in place, then we install risers, extractors, and spill buckets to the tank and then backfill over the tank.  

After the tank is in, we install the rest of the fueling system’s equipment: 

  • Install dispenser sumps, product piping, and conduit to the tanks and dispensers. 
  • Inspect all plumbing and electrical.  
  • Back fill to cover underground lines and pipes. 
  • Build fuel islands. 
  • Prepare for concrete. 
  • Install concrete pads, covering dispenser area and the tanks. 
  • Install probes, gauges, and sensors. 

Venting Equipment 

Maintaining the pressure of your UST’s vapor space is a crucial aspect to safely operating an underground storage tank, which makes proper ventilation a key factor in the installation process. There are several parameters to follow to help ensure your installation and future operating goes smoothly.  

All venting pipe needs to be adequately sized according to your model of UST. The minimum inside diameter for an underground storage tank vent pipe is 1.25”. 

Water collection within the UST area can be detrimental, therefore all vent pipes should slope no less than 1/8” per foot back to the tank and avoiding sags and traps that would allow water for collection should be a priority when laying the vent pipe.  

Lastly, the unstable nature of gasoline puts it within Class 1 flammability of liquids, therefore vent pipes must be 12” above finished grade.   

Release Detection and Testing 

Every portion of an Underground Storage Tank needs to have a form of a release detection system. There needs to be sensors, gauges, or meters running and computing data to monitor the tanks integrity. 

Tanks need to have cathodic protection and testing. This combats the corrosion that occurs from the materials inside. 

All equipment requires re-occurring tests –for the tanks, pipes, sumps, spill buckets, overfill prevention items. Inspections ensure that no damage or leaks have occurred. Improve the longevity of your fueling equipment! 

Choose PTS 

When completing projects as large as an underground storage tank installation, choosing the best products and the most reliable service company makes even the biggest jobs feel routine. Check out the equipment we offer and find which brands will help us get your fueling system to the next level:





To learn more about our installation process, or if you’re interested in seeing our previous work, visit the links below.  



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