5 Common Misconceptions About Aboveground Tanks

By September 23, 2017
Aboveground Tank Misconceptions | ATS Environmental

Buying or selling a home with an oil tank can lead to a lot of confusion. At ATS we strive to make that easier by answering any questions you may have. In particular, we hear many misconceptions about aboveground tanks.  Today, we’ve compiled the 5 most common misconceptions here:

1. “Above Ground Tanks Pose Less Risk”
This is the most common misconception about aboveground oil tanks. Often, aboveground heating oil tanks located inside a building can pose a greater risk then underground tanks. If there is an oil leak inside the building, the clean-up costs can exceed $100,000. On top of the cost, it requires the occupants to leave the home during the months the clean-up can take.

2. “Aboveground Tank Spills are Simpler to Clean”
Actually in most cases, where there is an above ground oil tank failure inside a dwelling, the fumes caused by the spill can be hazardous. Often, the building has to be raised up to remove the contaminated soil beneath the house. Comparatively, if there in an underground tank failure, most clean-up measures only require the removal of contaminated soil and usually pose no health risk to house occupants.

3. “Buying a House with an Aboveground Tank is Better”
Potential home buyers are often lead to believe that there is less potential liability when purchasing a home with an underground heating oil tank compared to an aboveground oil tank. The reality is that most underground tank clean-ups can be performed for a cost of $9,000 to $20,000 and the clean-up usually takes no more than 1-2 days. Clean-up for above ground tank failures inside a home or commercial building typically start at $100,000 and can take months to remediate the environmental hazards. Many homeowners’ insurances have exclusions for these environmental circumstances.

4. “Frequent Testing in Not Necessary for Aboveground Tanks”
Inspection and evaluation of an above ground tank is vital to avoid the potential risk associated with these tanks. Aboveground tanks located at commercial buildings are required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to be periodically evaluated. Although aboveground tanks used by homeowners do not fall under the requirements of the law, these tanks should really be evaluated on the same scale as commercial tanks to avoid future risk. It is important that this evaluation also provide the life expectancy of the above ground tank.

5. “All Aboveground Tank Testing is the Same”
Before hiring a company to inspect and evaluate an above ground tank, make sure it follows the requirements for commercial tanks as defined by the USEPA and State agencies. Advanced Ultrasonic technology can provide the thickness of the tank as well as an approximate life expectancy.

About the Author

Georgia Parks
Georgia Parks

With almost 20 years in the environmental industry, Georgia Parks has a vast knowledge of the inspection pitfalls that realtors, homeowners and homebuyers can face in the real estate market.

Growing up in the beautiful farmlands of Sussex County, NJ, Georgia learned to appreciate the beauty in our world, never realizing that one day her path would lead her to help others understand the importance of preserving the integrity of the environment. Initially her other passion, law, drove her to a degree in criminal justice, however, after taking a job in the environmental industry, she quickly discovered that she had a flair for helping people understand the sometimes complex process of environmental testing and how it could affect them when buying or selling a home.

After mentoring under some industry gurus and gaining extensive wisdom working in several roles within the industry, she is now Director of Operations for 5 divisions within ATS Environmental, including both residential and commercial. She holds hold her staff to the same impeccable standards when it comes to assisting clients wade through the inspection processes.

When she can stand being away from the office for a day or two, she enjoys living a quiet lake life in a mountaintop community in Northern NJ with her best guy of 23 years and their 2 furry kids, a husky named Ed and a retriever mix, Gabby. Another passion for Georgia is animal rescue. She frequently volunteers with animal rescue organizations to transport animals from high-kill shelters in northern and southern United States to loving homes and rescues. She also enjoys politics and watching sci-fi or horror movies.


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