Inactive Abandoned Tanks

If an oil tank was not properly abandoned, there could still be product remaining in the tank. Also, there could be undisclosed contamination around the oil tank.

Warning Signs That An Inactive Oil Tank May Be The Problem

1. No tank closure records exist.

If the homeowner cannot provide records about the tank closure and the town does not have permits or documentation on file, this is a red flag for buyers. This indicates that the tank was not properly abandoned and can be a tell-tale sign that the tank may have had an issue when it was taken out of service.

2. Homeowner cannot provide soil testing results.

If the seller cannot provide any written reports about the condition of the soil surrounding the buried tank, you should evaluate soil as part of your inspection.

Soil testing the area of the underground heating oil tank will evaluate the levels of contamination in the soil surrounding the tank.  

Has Your Oil Tank Been Properly Decommissioned?

In recent months, many homeowners discovered soil contamination exists around their buried abandoned oil tanks that their town or municipality considered properly decommissioned. Most of the time, these homeowners originally purchased property based strictly on the municipality or town building inspector’s approval and ignored the fact that soil testing was not performed at the time the buried tank was back-filled with sand, gravel or foam.

Unfortunately, homeowners are surprised when a problem arises with the tank they thought was properly abandoned. When these homeowners sell their homes, savvy buyers are testing the soil around the abandoned tank, even though there is a proper report from the town building inspector. Many times, the soil test discovers high levels of contamination in the area around the decommissioned tank.

Even though the homeowner has all the supporting documentation from the municipality, the responsibility for cleaning up the contamination rests solely with the unsuspecting homeowner. And the average cleanup typically ranges from $8,000 upwards to over $100,000. To ensure you don’t take on someone else’s liability, test the soil around the underground oil tank.

Test the soil around the abandoned tank before buying the property!

Getting a copy of a tank removal permit or the written tank closure approval will not protect you unless it is accompanied with a soil test report from a certified laboratory.

Learn more about our soil testing services here.