SPILL CLEANUP FAQs
Contain. Recover. Restore.
Following are some common questions we hear from our clients about Spill Cleanup and Spill Response. If you don’t find what you are looking for is this list of Spill Cleanup FAQs, please give us a call at 1-800-673-7830.
- I smell oil. What do I do?
- How to I prepare to sell my property with an underground tank that may leak?
- Are fuel oil vapors dangerous?
- Online Resources: Where can I find more information about home heating oil spills?
I smell oil. What do I do?
If you smell oil or see standing oil, ACT QUICKLY! Determine if you need to call 911 because there is a true emergency, OR if you should call your fuel oil company because the leak is small and/or no longer leaking.
Leave the premises immediately and call 911 if:
- The release occurs near an open flame or ignition source.
- High concentrations of vapors (odors) are present.
- You feel the building is unsafe.
Call 911 if:
- The release is large in volume.
- Oil is flowing unchecked from the tank or lines.
- The release cannot be stopped or contained immediately.
Call your fuel oil company if:
- You notice any small leaks in or around your fill pipe, tank, or furnace.
- There is a fuel spill and you are able to stop the spill immediately but need cleanup services.
- You would like instruction on how to cleanup your spill.
How to I prepare to sell my property with an underground tank that may leak?
Perform an environmental storage tank audit of your property. Most lenders now require home inspections to include possible environmental contamination sources like oil tanks. So if your property has or ever had a tank, your buyer’s lender will require evidence that limits their environmental liability. Often burden of proof falls on sellers to show a property has no known environmental issues. If your property has an oil furnace—or has ever had an oil furnace—plan ahead. Proper testing and documentation showing the history and status of your underground tank will expedite your closing.
Are fuel oil vapors dangerous?
Even small releases of heating oil can cause major odor problems. Extended exposure to heating oil vapors can cause health problems, so act quickly and limit your exposure. The most effective first step: ventilate area by opening exterior doors and windows. Allowing fresh air into the space will reduce interior vapor concentrations.
Where can I find more information about home heating oil spills?
US Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA): Factors Affecting Containment and Cleanup of an Oil Spill
EPA: What Effects Severity of a Spill
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP): A Guide for Home Heating Oil Spills
DEP: Tips for Residential Heating Oil Tank Owners