Underground fuel oil tanks wear out and as a result can contaminate our groundwater and soil. The average tank lasts between fifteen and thirty years (dependent on tank material, thickness, installation and soil content.)
There are numerous economical options for replacing older or leaking tanks. These choices can be based on factors as aesthetics and cost. In addition, new types of tanks have become available in recent years that meet and surpass industry and EPA regulations. They extend tank life and provide resale value of real estate.
For all people either possessing or responsible for a fuel oil tank, the best solution to prevent a leak is to have your system fully evaluated by an environmental professional before any signs of leakage are apparent. This assessment can provide you not only peace of mind but options (if needed) to avoid future problems.
If a tank leak is identified, quick action is vital for fuel oil and cost containment. All residual oil will need to be pumped out from the tank and the tank must be cleaned. Usually the tank needs to be removed and surrounding soil assessed for contamination. Leaks need to be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Many parts of the country no longer use heating oil, but older residences still have tanks buried in their yards. At times regulations have compelled homeowners to remove old tanks, other times they may be left alone. A permit is required to remove any tank that has stored petroleum fuel or chemicals. After such a tank has been removed, the soil around it must be tested for signs of leakage and if found, appropriate actions taken.
There are no regulations regarding the removal of water tanks.