Above Ground Tank Testing

ATS Environmental understands the risks involved with an above ground tank. It is vital to get your above ground tank tested to avoid expensive clean up if the tank fails.

Not sure where to start? Follow these tips:

Step 1: Search the grounds for buried tanks.

    • An above ground tank in the basement or outside the home may indicate a past problem with an underground heating oil tank. Homeowners have been known to install above ground tanks and stop using the buried oil tank because they suspect the underground tank may be leaking.


    • Today, many of these properties still have buried oil tanks, and frequently these tanks have leaked heating oil into the ground.


  • It is critical that the home buyer identify this problem during their inspection period before taking possession of the property.

Recommendation: Hire a professional to thoroughly inspect above ground tank and search the premises for a buried tank.

Step 2: Visually inspect the above ground oil tank.

    • The above ground tank should be visually inspected for evidence of corrosion, rust, holes, leaking pipes, loose joints and oil staining.


  • The inspection should also examine the condition of the tank’s support legs. The support legs should be structurally sound to prevent the tank from collapsing onto the floor or outside ground.

Recommendation: ATS offers a complete visual inspection service which includes a written report detailing our findings.

Step 3: If the above ground tank is outside, examine the soil underneath the tank for heating oil.

    • A home buyer should be concerned that the property may have had a tank that pre-dated the current one. If this prior tank leaked heating oil, a new tank may have been installed in the same location.


  • If this is the case, it is likely that the new tank was installed without regard to the soil condition underneath the tank.

Recommendation:ATS is equipped to provide you with commercial grade testing which includes the following services:

Services ATS Offers

  • A full visual inspection
  • Determination and explanation of the contents of the tank
  • Ultrasonic Thickness Test (UTT)
  • An approximate life expectancy summary

There are many common misconceptions about above ground tanks, we’ve compiled the 5 most common here:

1. “Above Ground Tanks Pose Less Risk”

This is the most common misconception about above ground oil tanks. Often, above ground 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. “Above Ground 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 Above Ground 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 above ground 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 Above Ground Tanks”

Inspection and evaluation of an above ground tank is vital to avoid the potential risk associated with these tanks. Above ground tanks located at commercial buildings are required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to be periodically evaluated. Although above ground 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 Above Ground 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.

Call us at 800-440- 8265 or use our easy contact form to set up an appointment today!



Call us at (800) 440-8265 or use our easy contact form


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    September 17, 2015
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