Removing An Old Underground Heating Oil Tank? What You Should Know

If you've recently purchased a house with an underground heating oil storage tank, you may have decided that the tank needs to be removed for environmental safety purposes. Underground heating oil storage is dangerous for the environment because you can't see when the tank suffers damage that leads to cracking and similar issues. As a result, heating oil can leach into the ground and affect the groundwater. Because of this, it's important that you work with an environmental tank removal specialist to ensure that the tank is removed safely and properly. Here's a look at what you can expect from the tank removal process.

Tank Preparation

The first step of the tank removal process is preparing the tank itself. This involves removing any residual heating oil that's left in the tank or the lines. This is essential because of the hazard that the heating oil can pose to the environment if it should spill or if the tank is damaged during removal. Once the heating oil is removed from the tank and the distribution lines that run to the house, the tank must be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any heating oil residue or vapors.

Tank Inspection

Once the tank has been emptied and cleaned in preparation for removal, the tank removal contractor will have to inspect it. This step is essential because the inspection will reveal whether or not there's a leak risk with the tank. If the tank is structurally sound, your project will be complete once the tank is removed from the ground.

If, however, there are any signs of a breach in the tank walls, that's an indication that there's an oil leak risk. If there's any level of risk that the ground could have been contaminated with heating oil, your tank removal contractors will have to handle the environmental mitigation as well after the tank has been pulled from the ground.

Tank Removal

Once the tank has been cleaned and inspected, the next step is to pull the tank out of the ground. The tank removal contractors will excavate around the tank until it is exposed enough to lift it out of its location. The fill line that runs to your house will be capped off and sealed, then the tank will be sealed shut and transported for disposal. 

Hazard Mitigation

In the event that any kind of leak risk was identified, the tank removal contractors will then address the environmental hazard mitigation. The steps required for this will depend on the severity of the contamination and your state and local laws associated with the environmental hazard cleanup.

Once the cleanup process is complete, the hole where the tank was installed will be filled in.