Fuels FAQs

FAQs Fuel Oil Distributors

  • Can an Oil Burner Technician 3 perform “comprehensive” inspections?
    Yes, provided the Oil Burner Technician 3 (OBT3) is under the general supervision of an OBT1 or OBT2.
  • Are copper pipes or tubes acceptable as fill and vent pipes?
    Section of CSA-B139-00 states that fill or vent pipes must be of steel or galvanized construction. This requirement became effective on October 1, 2001. Installations prior to this date are considered approved, provided the installation complied with the code at the time of installation. This includes, but is not limited to, sizing and connections.
  • Are compression fittings acceptable?
    Section 8.3.4(d) of CSA-B139-00 states that compression fittings shall not be used. This requirement became effective October 1, 2001. Installations before this date are considered approved provided the compression fittings are not leaking.
  • Do we need to retain a copy of the comprehensive inspection and the inside-tank inspection or outside-tank inspection checksheets?
    Section 7(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/01: Fuel Oil requires a distributor to prepare a report on each inspection made and to retain the report until the next inspection and report are completed.

Inspections FAQs

  • How does TSSA determine the amount of time required for my inspection?
    We have estimated the average time required for different types of inspections. With this average inspection time in mind, TSSA agents will ask additional questions to better understand the scope of the inspection and adjust the time accordingly. You are encouraged to share any details with the agent that could inform the length of the inspection. Inspectors will also review their schedule and request any changes.
  • What happens if an inspection cannot be completed within the allocated time?
    In most cases, inspectors can adjust their schedule while onsite to complete an inspection. Inspectors will notify the Inspection Scheduling Team as required. TSSA also provides a buffer between inspections to give inspectors some flexibility to stay longer at a worksite or arrive earlier at the next worksite. TSSA’s Inspection Scheduling Team will notify customers if there are scheduling changes.
  • If we require more than one inspection, do we need to schedule each one separately—or can we schedule this work together in one visit?
    In many cases, work can be grouped for the same job and type. When you are scheduling an inspection, please let the agent know that you required additional inspections.
  • What happens if an inspection needs to be delayed or cancelled, for example because of inclement weather or illness?
    TSSA agents may occasionally need to change the timing of an inspection or assign another inspector. An agent will contact you to reschedule your inspection. If you cancel an inspection while the inspector is enroute or have arrived at the inspection site, a flat travel charge will be applied. There is no charge if you notify the Inspection Scheduling team at least on business day in advance. If an inspector is behind schedule, an inspection scheduling agent may contact you to change an inspection time. If this inspection time cannot be changed because the inspection is high priority, the TSSA agent will consider scheduling another inspector or, if required, consult the Fuels Supervisor.
  • Will inspectors continue to work directly with contractors and customers on questions or discussions on inspection reports and orders?
    Yes, inspectors will continue to handle consultations and clarifications on inspection reports and orders.
  • Who do I call if I have a question for an inspector that does not relate to a specific inspection?
    If you have questions, please email customerservices@tssa.org, or call our toll-free number at 1-877-682-8772.
  • Does TSSA outsource inspection services to other companies?
    At times, TSSA will enter into contractual agreements with third parties to support its Fuels Safety inspection workforce.

FAQs Fuel Storage Tanks- Above Storage Tanks

  • At what age do aboveground fuel oil tanks have to be replaced?
    There is no age at which an approved aboveground tank must be replaced, as long as the tank is not leaking. An existing aboveground fuel oil tank is considered approved if the tank was installed following the code at the time of installation.
  • Can an aboveground tanks labelled “Inside Tank” be installed outdoors?
    No, an “Inside Tank” has been certified for indoor use. Installing one outdoors would void its approval.

FAQs Fuel Storage Tanks- Underground storage tanks

  • How can I tell if an underground tank is leaking?
    It is difficult to tell if an underground tank is leaking. If your oil consumption suddenly goes up, your tank may have sprung a large leak. But because the tank is buried, a small leak could go undetected for years. If you notice an abnormal increase in your oil consumption, or you suspect any kind of leak in your tank, contact your fuel supplier for help with finding underground tank testing companies.
  • What do I do if my underground tank is leaking?

    Call a TSSA-registered contractor to find and stop underground tank leaks.

    This contractor may also be able to help you with the required clean-up if any fuel oil has been spilled. 

    In the event of a spill incident, you must also notify the Spills Action Centre of the Ministry of Environment and Energy by calling 1-866-663-8477.

  • How do I register an underground tank?

    To register your underground tank, you must submit the Underground Fuel Oil Application Form (pdf). After your application has been approved, TSSA will issue a registration number for your tank that you can give to your fuel distributor to ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply. 

  • How do I remove an underground fuel tank?

    Only a TSSA-registered petroleum contractor is qualified to perform the removal of your underground or buried fuel oil tank. Before you hire a contractor, ask for the TSSA contractor's registration number, as all contractors must be registered.

    In the event of the removal of a tank or site closure, the owner or operator of a fuel storage facility must submit an Environmental Assessment Report, as required by TSSA’s Environmental Management Protocol (pdf).

    In case of a fuel oil spill during the removal, you must also notify the Spills Action Centre of the Ministry of Environment and Energy by calling 1-800-268-6060.

  • I no longer use my underground storage tank. Do I have to remove it?

    Yes. Ontario regulations require you to remove an unused underground storage tank. The owner or operator of a fuel storage facility must submit an Environmental Assessment Report, as required by TSSA’s Environmental Management Protocol (pdf), in the event of the removal of a tank or site closure.

    However, TSSA may issue a variance that allows an underground tank to be abandoned in the ground. You must apply for a variance and submit an Environmental Assessment Report per Advisory FS-175-10 R1 (pdf) to get approval to abandon your fuel oil underground storage tank. The processing time for a variance application is reliant upon the completeness and quality of the submission. To request, expedited engineering services, please indicate on your application form and select 'Expedited' when submitting via the Portal. 

  • Are there any government funds for homeowners upgrading or removing their underground tanks?
    Owners of underground tanks are responsible for the costs of maintaining, upgrading, and removing their underground tanks and for cleaning up contamination. Some fuel suppliers may have special financing programs to help you to replace an underground tank with an aboveground tank.

Propane RSMPs

  • My facility has propane on site. Do I need a licence and an RSMP?
    Only facilities that fill cylinders, vehicles, sell propane in bulk to end users or transfer propane in bulk are licenced and must submit RSMPs. Locations that have propane tanks or cylinders connected to and supplying heating systems are considered to be consumer applications that do not require a licence or an RSMP.
  • Are sites with propane tanks or cylinders that are used exclusively for heating purposes required to have a licence and RSMP?
    Sites that only consist of propane tanks or cylinders connected to heating systems are considered to be consumer applications, which do not require a licence or an RSMP.
  • What is the definition of “mobile capacity”?
    Total “mobile capacity” is the total capacity of all trucks and trailers parked on the site for a period longer than it takes to load or unload.
  • Should consumer or heating tanks be included in the total storage capacity?
    Consumer tanks and cylinders connected for use do not have to be included in the total storage capacity for licensing and determination if a site qualifies to submit Level 1 or Level 2 RSMPs.
  • How is the total capacity defined for Level 1 and Level 2 RSMP and TSSA licensing?

    Ontario Regulation 440/08: Propane Storage and Handling defines total capacity as “the total volume of fixed, portable, mobile and all other transient storage at a retail outlet, filling plant, cardlock/keylock, private outlet or container refill centre, including the total volume of all cylinders or tanks in which propane is stored and any tanker trunks or rail cars that stay at the retail outlet, filling plant, cardlock/keylock, private outlet or container refill centre for longer than it takes for the propane to be transferred”. 

  • What changes to an RSMP are required to be reported to TSSA?
    All physical and procedural changes that affect any part of the RSMP or the site licence information must be reported to TSSA within 15 days of being put into effect.
  • What information contained in Level 1 and Level 2 RSMPs is publicly releasable?
    Upon request, the TSSA releases (or makes available to the public) the emergency response procedures set out in the Level 1 RSMP or the evacuation procedures set out in the Level 2 RSMP. Everything else contained in Level 1 or Level 2 RSMPs is considered to be confidential and will be treated as such by the TSSA Access and Privacy Codes.
  • Are industry-wide emergency response plans or mutual assistance arrangements required to be reported in Level 1 or Level 2 RSMPs?
    Industry-wide emergency response plans or mutual assistance arrangements are not required to be reported, as long as the risk assessment and mitigation controls do not take credit for such plans. Page 6 of Level 1 RSMP provides a place to describe “any other measures in place at the facility that exceeds the minimum Code and Standards requirements” which could be used to capture this information and convey it to the local emergency responders and officials.
  • Are Level 2 RSMPs required to be sealed by a professional engineer before fire service review or approval is granted?

    Although not required by Ontario Regulation 211/01: Propane Storage and Handling, the local fire service and municipal organizations may require these documents to be sealed.

  • Can a small propane facility prepare and submit Level 2 RSMPs to TSSA?
    Level 2 RSMPs will be accepted by TSSA for small propane facilities. It is important to note the following: • Level 2 RSMPs require longer and more detailed reviews and will result in higher fees being charged to the applicant. • Level 2 RSMPs must be approved by the local fire service.
  • What documents need to be signed and sealed by a professional engineer?
    A letter confirming that an RSMP has been prepared by a professional engineer referring to a specific site and a specific RSMP version/date shall be stamped and signed by a professional engineer registered in Ontario.
  • Which RSMP is required for cylinder exchange facilities?
    RSMPs are not required for cylinder exchange facilities since there is no transfer of propane. For these facilities, TSSA issues a Cylinder Exchange licence. However, if the facility is already licensed as a refill centre, the cylinder exchange program is covered under that license type.

Propane RSMPs - Completing a Risk and Safety Management Plan

  • What hazardous materials and quantities should be reported on Page 4 of a Level 1 RSMP?
    Instead of listing the chemical on Page 4 of Level 1 RSMPs, sites that maintain Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) may report the location of the MSDS records.
  • What is the “lockout procedure” on Page 10 of a Level 1 RSMP?
    The “lockout procedure” is the method used to lock the facility and control access to the propane storage, dispensing and transfer location when it is not open for business or is not attended.
  • What will TSSA accept as a map of the surrounding area as required on Page 12 of a Level 1 RSMP?
    We accept any document, such as a topographical map, municipal zoning map, picture, or a sketch of the surrounding area, provided that the document contains all the required information that would normally be captured on an aerial map listed as items 7 to 14 on Page 12 of Level 1 RSMP.
  • Who qualifies as a “municipal contact” on Page 5 of the Level 1 RSMP?
    Usually, a municipal contact is the City Clerk or a Secretary Treasurer of the Planning Board.
  • Do all questions on Page 10 of a Level 1 RSMP need to be answered?
    Yes, the answers are mandatory. Both yes and no answers will be accepted by TSSA.
  • Is there information about safe distances to keep away from a propane filling station tank if it catches fire?

    For information about safe distances for locating other buildings around a propane facility, you need to calculate the Hazard Distance for the facility. Refer to Page 10 of the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Risk and Safety Management Plan (pdf) to learn about calculating Hazard Distance.

    For information about safe distances for fighting a fire at a propane facility, the Office of the Fire Marshal may have guidelines. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Hazmat Emergency Response standards (NFPA 471, 472 & 473) may also provide more information.

  • What is the definition of an officer or a director who is required to hold a ROT for the purposes of Level 1 or Level 2 RSMP?

    A person listed in the Articles of Incorporation as an Officer or Director. If there are no officers or directors listed living in Ontario, an Officer/Director of the Corporation may designate a senior official in Ontario to meet this requirement.

Pipelines and Excavations FAQs

  • How many pipeline strikes happen every year?
    Pipeline strikes are one of the most common types of incidents reported to TSSA annually, with about 2,300 reported incidents per year on average. Most incidents are attributed to excavation activities taking place without proper permission. The number of pipeline strikes reported more than doubles in the spring and summer months—from May to October—when most outdoor construction projects requiring digging usually take place. TSSA is taking steps to address this hazard and reduce the number of incidents.
  • What are my regulatory obligations as an excavator?

    Section 9 of Ontario Regulation 210/01: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems states, “no person shall dig, bore, trench, grade, excavate or break ground with mechanical equipment or explosives without first ascertaining from the licence holder the location of any pipeline that may be interfered with.”

    Section 10 of O. Reg 210/01 states, “No person shall interfere with or damage any pipeline without authority to do so.”

    Generally, this means that for an Ontarian to engage in “ground disturbance” activities like digging, boring, trenching, piercing the ground, or excavating, the person should obtain a “locate form” from a locator.

    The person or company engaging in ground disturbance will be asked to provide information describing the location where the work will take place, the expected time when the work will begin, the scope of the work, the nature of the work, the expected duration and depth of excavation, the name, address and telephone number of the Excavator, and the name of the Excavator’s site representative.

  • What is a locate?
    A locate provides information from the locator in the form of ground surface paint markings and underground infrastructure location documentation, such as drawings, mapping, numeric descriptions, or other written documentation. A locator is a person authorized by the owner of the underground infrastructure to perform a locate and issue a locate form or a clearance to the excavator. Locators use electromagnetic fields, signals, or other acceptable industry best practice methods, together with the information provided by the owner of the underground infrastructure, to identify the location of that underground infrastructure.
  • What is Ontario One Call and how do I contact them for a locate?

    Ontario One Call is a service-oriented regulator that receives excavation locate requests to ensure homeowners, excavators and infrastructure owners are safe when digging.

    Ontario One Call notifies infrastructure owners (members) of excavation requests. These members then deliver locates, minimizing the risk of infrastructure damage, loss of utilities, injury, and monetary consequences.

    You can contact Ontario One Call by telephone at 1-800-400-2255 or visit their website at Ontario One Call – Click Before You Dig.

  • What should I do if I accidentally strike a pipeline or witness a pipeline strike?

    If you have accidentally struck a pipeline, immediately call 911 and the gas company concerned. 

    If you have witnessed a pipeline strike, please call the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy Spills Action Centre (SAC) to report the incident at 1-866-663-8477. An inspector will be assigned to further assess pipeline-strike incidents reported to TSSA via SAC. 

    In the event of a pipeline strike: 

    • Do not attempt to stop the flow. 
    • Shut off all equipment within the work area. 
    • Instruct local homeowners to keep doors and windows closed. 
    • Keep a distance from the struck pipeline. 
    • Do not smoke or have any ignition sources.