What is an "Abandoned" Underground Storage
Many underground storage tanks are no longer being used, rendered
obsolete by piped-in natural gas or electric baseboard heat. An underground storage tank that is no longer in use is
What Should Be Done With An Abandoned Underground Storage
Department of Ecology and many Local Fire Departments recommend
permanent closure for abandoned underground storage tanks. The process of permanently closing a tank is referred to as
"decommissioning"". A tank may either be decommissioned by capping, filling it with an inert material
such as slurry or foam or by removing it from the ground. Decommissioning also involves removing heating oil and sludge
from the tank.
Many underground storage tanks have been abandoned with oil still in
them. You should consider arranging to have any remaining oil removed from the abandoned tank if you do not immediately
decommission it. This will help prevent possible contamination of soil and ground water. .
What should I do with my abandoned tank? (Oregon)
- The tank should be decommissioned following a DEQ approved
- DEQ requires a soil sample if tank is to be a certified
Why Should I Decommission My Abandoned Underground Storage
Abandoned underground storage tanks are a potential source of
contamination of the soil and ground water and may pose a fire and explosion hazard under certain conditions.
Underground storage tanks can corrode and deteriorate and possibly cave-in and collapse. They should be decommissioned
whenever they are no longer used or whenever there are questions about their structural integrity or about their ability
to hold product without leaking.
Under the Model Toxics Control Act, a tank owner may be held liable for
contamination caused by a leak.
Many times the tank does not become an issue until the home owner
decides to sell their home and at that time has an inspection done on their home. These inspections are often done one
to two weeks before closing. Before finalizing the sale of a house, lending institutions and home buyers may want
sellers to remove or decommission the abandoned heating oil tank..
Why should I test the soil before my tank is
- A tank may leak prior to decommissioning.
- Without a soil test, it is difficult to tell if the soil around the
tank is contaminated.
- The tank may be tested after decommissioning.
- If contamination is detected after the tank is decommissioned, the
cost of clean up greatly increases.
- As of March 15, 2000, DEQ requires soil sample testing prior to
certified decommissioning. (Oregon)
- If a soil sample test is not performed the decommissioning cannot be
registered with DEQ..
Is There A Problem If I Have An Abandoned Tank On My
Discovering an abandoned tank on your property doesn't mean that it
has leaked or caused an environmental problem. Even a leaking abandoned tank does not necessary pose a health risk
because most leaks are usually small and localized. Although most abandoned underground storage tanks do not cause major
environmental problems or health risks, ignoring an abandoned tank is not recommended. Even if it has not yet caused a
problem, it could in the future.
Dealing with your tank now may prevent or at least minimize future
problems and expense. Some abandoned tanks have leaked heating oil, resulting in contaminated soil and ground water and
expensive cleanups. Leaking oil can migrate into a basement or crawl space of your home and, although unlikely, the
fumes from the oil could cause a fire or health risk. Also, an abandoned tank may cause a safety hazard even if it has
never leaked. Over time tanks will corrode and deteriorate and possibility cave-in and collapse..
I haven't used my tank in 20 years, could it be leaking?
- All steel tanks will eventually rust and have the potential to
- According to DEQ 50%-80% of tanks are leaking. .
What do I do if there is water in my tank?
- Do not put more oil into the tank until a soil sample test is
- Water in your tank may mean there is a leak.
- Water in the tank may also be the result of condensation.
- If the soil sample shows there is no contamination present, have the
water pumped out of your tank before ordering more oil..
What do I do if my tank has leaked?
- Cancel the automatic fill program with your oil company.
- Have the tank pumped out as soon as possible to minimize
contamination and cost.
- Call Advanced EnviroTech, Inc. to discuss clean-up procedures based
on the level of contamination and site specific requirements.
Whose responsibility is it to report contamination to
- If the homeowner discovers the contamination, it must be reported to
DEQ within 72 hours.
- If Advanced EnviroTech, Inc. discovers the contamination, we are
required by law to report the contamination within 72 hours of discovery..
If My Underground Storage Tank Has Leaked, What Should I
If a tank has leaked, the Washington State Department of Ecology
regional office does have reporting requirements based on the extent of contamination found. Minor leaks or spills from
residential heating oil tanks do not have to be reported to the Washington State Department of Ecology. Minor leaks are
those that affect only the soil near the tank.
According to Washington State Department of Ecology's report
R-TC-92-117, it is the owner's responsibility to evaluate the extent of contamination caused by the leak, then determine
if it is a threat to human health and the environment and clean up any contamination caused by the leak.
A significant leak requires that the tank be removed and as much of the
contaminated soil be removed according to the regulations indicated by the state Model Toxics Control Act.
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Do I have to take soil samples?
- Many lenders and buyers frequently require soil testing before
- Sellers should consider s/s testing to limit their liability.
- Soil testing is required by DEQ when a tank is decommissioned and
certified with the state.
My tank is under concrete. Can soil samples still be
- The first step is to have your tank professionally located.
- Even though the fill pipe is visible, the tank could be running in
any direction beneath the concrete.
- Advanced EnviroTech, Inc. will then use a roto-hammer to make two
four inch holes in the concrete to allow soil samples to be taken.
- We will patch the concrete once the samples are obtained.
What do I do with my unused heating oil from the
When performing a tank decommission, Advanced EnviroTech, Inc. will
pump out your oil tank as a courtesy.