Be aware of buried oil tanks …… investigating the possibility of a buried oil tank in your future home is crucial. Buried oil tanks are illegal and are the responsibility of the owner to have them removed. Not sure if a buried oil tank exists in your yard? Ask!!! The seller should provide all documentation relating to the oil tank and/or oil tank removal.
Many century homes have had an underground oil storage tank somewhere on the property, usually buried close to the foundation of the home. Tell tale signs can include a vent pipe with elbow coming into the house or a metal cap in the yard. The issue with old unused tanks is that the contents may have leaked into the soil and groundwater creating a contaminated site in your yard. If an oil tank is detected, removal of the tank and clean up is required. If you suspect there is an old tank on the property, it can be verified using a magnetometer to detect metal up to 27 feet below the surface.
If you are purchasing a property that contains or contained an oil tank, it is important to have an environmental inspection of the grounds to ensure there is no contamination or migration of a material to neighboring properties. Once a tank is found, the necessity to drain it and the accessibility for removal are assessed and a plan is put into place. Always check with your municipality to ensure you comply with their regulations and any permitting requirements.
The old tank will have to be removed and properly disposed of, its contents need to be pumped out. Hire a company that is licensed and bonded to handle such materials and dispose of them according to guidelines for disposal.
If the tank has leaked, a soil sample is tested at a laboratory and a plan formed with engineers for the clean up, approvals and permits are obtained. After the remediation, the site is restored and a report drawn up to provide a clean bill of health for the property. Penalties and fines for not tackling a leaking tank can be in the thousands of dollars and your property could be flagged as a contaminated site.