The United States EPA has conducted studies to determine to what extent installation errors lead to underground storage tank leaks. Their findings in a 1986 study showed 46% of tank and piping failures were either the fault of poor design or construction installation mistakes. An example of poor design is insufficient ground cover over a product line. An installation mistake may have been the use of wood blocking left under buried piping in a trench. This information led to many jurisdictions in North America implementing training courses and certification programs for installers. Training included safety for the personnel performing the work, especially when working with tanks that have contained gasoline and are capable of explosion.
In the Spring of 1992, Alberta MUST sponsored a one (1) day training program for tank installers and removers. This program was conducted in response to pending changes to the Alberta Fire Code which would make it mandatory for installers/removers to be “approved”. The installation course gave contractors a look at current industry standards and concentrated on the installation requirements dictated by the major fuel tank and piping manufacturers. The removal course emphasized the importance of purging, inerting and doing periodic monitoring of the tank atmosphere.
When the approval requirement came into effect on August 31, 1992, all individuals who successfully completed this program, and proved experience were granted temporary approval for installing and removing tanks and piping systems. Since then, any individuals seeking certification were granted licenses based on successful completion of an examination, and providing proof of applicable experience.
Reaction to the 1992 training program by attendees was mixed. Prevailing opinions concurred that a training program tailored more to Canada, and in particular Alberta, would be more appropriate. It was also felt that course content should include more topics, and deal with topics in more depth, and with hands-on training.
These events inspired Alberta contractors to become more involved in what was happening in their industry, and have a say in the changes that were being proposed. Thus A.P.S.S.C.A. was organized by concerned contractors.