Buried Oil Tanks

This article is about what to do if you have, or are likely to find a buried oil tank on your property. The article will go through the dangers of having a buried oil tank, the procedure you should follow, the disclosure you need to undertake should you have a buried oil tank and perhaps most importantly of all, how to go about having your buried oil tank removed.

Firstly, we’ll talk about some buried underground oil tank dangers.

The dangers of a buried oil tank going wrong are quite obvious, yet they bear re-iterating due to the severity of the danger. A buried oil tank leakage can cause untold damage to anything that it leaks onto. In most cases, this is the ground outside your property. It will kill plants, as is expected, but it will also cause toxic damage to the whole ecosystem of an area: the soil, the water, the plants, and even the buildings. Especially if parts of your house are made of absorbent material, such as wood, remember that oil can be absorbed.

Other risks include fire. Oil is extremely combustible.

A final warning; removing and replacing a buried oil tank is expensive. Especially if you have a leak. If there is a leak, then you will need expert agents to make sure the land is no longer toxic. This can turn the removal from a project costing thousands to a project costing tens of thousands.

So, What should you do if the oil tank buried on property might have leaked?

Firstly, you need to think rationally and calmly. The chances are that it’s a minor problem as opposed to a major one. That said, you need to put in place a plan for this for when it occurs. Thinking on your feet is no substitute for having a plan When it comes to an oil leaking tank, you need to get the assessment and clean up started right away.

If you don’t clean up right away, there is the chance that the problem could become much worse, both environmentally and financially (see the later section on tank removal for more information on the financials of this.)  A small toxic leak with little time to spread is much easier to control than a large toxic leak with a lot of time to spread, so call your relevant authority right away.

In any case, you’ll need to think about buried oil tank regulations: The regulations concerning buried oil tanks vary depending on where you live. If you live in the United States, then the regulating authority will be at a county level. Most counties do not regulate the heating systems of their residents, and so havin a buried oil tank is a personal decision as opposed to a legislative one. However, some counties will have regulations, so make sure to check as a home owner.

Even if there isn’t a legal requirement one way or the other, it is important to get your facts straight concerning your oil tank system. For instance, you may not be aware that many home insurance policies will specifically exclude pay-outs when it comes to leaks from buried oil systems. This can make life a headache, because leaks are very costly. Also, bear in mind that whilst your insurance might cover it, if your tank leaks and that affects  another property, you’ll have to deal with their insurance company also.

A final word on buried oil tank disclosure: Of course, if there is a legal requirement to do so, should you decide to have a buried oil tank, you must notify the relevant authorities. However, you might want to disclose the existence of your tank for other reasons, even when it is not required by law. For instance, you might want to tell the authorities who are in charge of clean ups about the nature of your system. That means that if there is a problem, they will be able to assist you quickly due to familiarity with your system.

You might also want to inform neighbours and other people that could potentially be affected should something go wrong; for instance, you might be on vacation when your tank leaks. Do you want to give your neighbours the authority to control the situation for you, or would you prefer someone else do it? Bear in mind that the longer you leave a problem of this nature, the worse it gets in terms of cost and damage.

Now to get to the crux of the matter: buried oil tank removal. We recommend that you get any underground oil tanks removed and replaced with ones that are housed overground. They are more easily maintainable and less likely to go wrong. A removal project will generally cost $1500-$2000 (in the United States) but this is well worth the cost: If a pipe or tank leaks underground and the various agencies that have to deal with the leak have to be called in to do the removal and clean up, then the cost will be in the tens of thousands. Conservatively, you could spend $20000+, so ten times as much. That is why it pays to think ahead. In terms of your future health and prosperity, think about the cost you are willing to accrue for having a buried tank on your property.Are you willing to pay ten times the amount in the long run for keeping it? Are you willing to pay for a potential leakage with your health or life savings? Are you going to be able to pay when your home insurance refuses to pay, or when your neighbours are affected by the consequences of a leak?

These things all add up to a pretty clear decision in our minds. However, as we stated earlier on in the article, providing that buried tanks aren’t regulated in your area, you can do as you wish. However, be sure to weigh up the merits of the situation, and always do your homework and contact the relevant authorities and people who are knowledgeable about your area and the dangers of underground tanks. doing research in the short term will pay off in the long term.

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