FAQs

Will tank testing damage my tank?
No, ATS’ state of the art testing technology will not harm the underground tank. Years ago, many companies used air pressure testing as a means to evaluate underground tank systems. This type of testing could potentially damage the tank and associated piping. Today, strict pressure testing is not an approved test method in most states.

 

My oil company performed a water test and their representative concluded the tank does not have a problem. Do I need to test the tank using another method?
Absolutely yes! Underground tanks may leak without ever taking on water. It is possible that a tank located in a dry area may have holes and water may never enter the tank because the water table is far deeper than the buried tank. Also, finding water in a tank may not indicate a tank failure. Often, water can enter the tank through small leaks in the vent pipe or fill pipe. Vent or fill pipe problems are easily repaired.

 

How long will it take to receive results of a soil test?
Our soil testing units arrive at the job site the next day after your request for an appointment.   Many times we accommodate same day service requests for clients that are up against contract deadlines.  Our soil testing technicians will need approximately 2 hours to extract the soil samples from the area around the underground tank. When this is complete, the technician will transport the samples to a state certified laboratory.  The laboratory will analyze the samples and document their findings in writing  within a few days.  When we receive the laboratory report, we will promptly complete our written analysis including any recommendations.

 

Does soil testing involve removing large amounts of dirt or drilling large holes next to the underground tank?
No. Our soil testing technicians will only need to probe an area about the size of a half-dollar in diameter.   The soil is usually extracted from an area 6 inches below the base of the underground tank.

 

When should I hire a company to locate an abandoned tank?
If you are buying a home or building and the home or building was built prior to 1970 or there are visible pipes sticking up from the ground near the home, building, yard or driveway or there are evidence of extra fuel lines entering the basement from the outside or there is an aboveground heating oil tank used to heat the home or building.

 

Why should I be concerned if there is an abandoned underground tank on the property?
You should be concerned about assuming the previous owner’s environmental liability.  If there is an abandoned tank on the property, consider these frequent scenarios that many homebuyers and other real estate purchasers encounter.
The tank leaked fuel in the past and contaminated soil surrounds the area. If you take possession of a home or property with this condition, you are responsible for the entire cost of cleanup. Remember, many cleanup costs range from $8,000 to more than $100,000.
The tank contains several hundred gallons of fuel. If this tank leaks or is presently leaking, this presents an environmental hazard that you must clean up immediately. If you take possession of the property with this condition, you will be responsible for the entire cleanup cost.
The tank is empty. As the tank decays in the ground, it may become a dangerous sinkhole. For this reason most towns and municipalities require the owner to take immediate action to properly fill the tank with sand, gravel or foam. If the buyer did not address this issue prior to the real estate closing, the financial burden of filling the tank rests solely upon the new owner.

 

What is tank insurance? Will it protect me in the event my tank leaks in the future?
Heating oil dealers offer tank insurance policies that will pay the property owner up to $100,000.00 in cleanup costs, if there is a release of heating oil from the tank.  We recommend that all our clients purchase tank insurance. As with any policy of this type, there are certain exclusions.  Therefore, we recommend you contact your local heating oil dealer for more specifics about the terms and conditions.

 

The home I am buying has an active in-use underground tank and the owner has a valid tank insurance policy. Is it still necessary to test the underground tank for leaks?
Absolutely yes! Many realtors and attorneys advise homebuyers that testing underground oil tanks is not necessary if the seller has tank insurance. However, homebuyers do not realize that they will expose themselves to increased risk of environmental liability by not testing oil tanks before their purchase.
Read the exclusions! Tank insurance will only honor claims if there is a release of fuel from the tank which is almost never the case with piping leaks or top tank leaks. Also, the insurance adjuster can deny claims by claiming the leak pre-existed the date of the insurance policy.

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    September 17, 2015
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