STORAGE TANKS FAQs
Listed below are some common questions we hear from our clients about Aboveground and UndergroundStorage Tanks. If you don’t find what you are looking for in this list of Storage Tanks FAQs, please give us a call at 1-800-673-7830.
- How can I tell if my underground storage tank leaks?
- How long do underground tanks usually last?
- Are storage tanks regulated?
- How do I prepare to sell a property with an underground storage tank?
- Should I remove an underground tank that I never use anymore?
- Can I just replace my underground tank?
- Should I put in an aboveground or underground tank?
- How do I get an aboveground tank installed?
- What’s a good online source for information about Underground Storage tanks? Online Resources?
How can I tell if my underground storage tank leaks?
To help determine tank integrity status, know the age of the tank, the type and style of the tank, the conditions of the soil (wet, well-drained…), and the usage history. Sampling surrounding soil and evaluating the site will help clarify if you should suspect a leak. Call to discuss your site situation to get specific advice about how to best predict if your tank has leaked.
How long do underground tanks usually last?
Underground storage tanks are supposed to last 30 to 40 years. However, rate of corrosion and tank failure is completely dependent on tank type, installation, and site circumstances. In practical use in the Delaware River Basin area (eastern Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware) a UST life span is typically 15 to 20 years. In recent years, the EPA and federal regulations initiated more stringent standards for leak detection and tank longevity for new UST installations. If you are worried about your UST, the most important factors to consider:
- Age of tank
- Quality of tank / wall thickness / protective coating
- Quality of installation / piping / corrosion protection system
- Depth of tank
- Size of tank
- Moisture content of soil or surrounding materials
- Fill material used around tank
- Average rainfall
- Drainage of tank field
- Warning signs:
- Tank is more than 15 years old
- If you accumulate any water in your tank or lines
- You have problems with your furnace even after servicing and maintenance
- Your average heating oil consumption has increased
- You see any oil film on the surface near tank field
- Tank is out of use
Are storage tanks regulated?
Some are. Some are not. State and federal regulations apply to aboveground tanks and underground tanks (UST) with large capacity. Other tanks are regulated because of their content– gasoline and diesel fuel for example. In addition, there are some exclusions for farm-use tanks. However, any tank that leaks causing contamination is regulated by federal and state environmental agencies— regardless of size or use . Some townships and municipalities also have rules governing the removal and installation of USTs. Additional oversight comes from financial lenders who have their own criteria for approved use, removal, and closure.
How do I prepare to sell a property with an underground storage tank?
If your property has an oil furnace—or has ever had an oil furnace—plan ahead. Often burden of proof falls on sellers to show a property has no known environmental issues. If you have an underground storage tank or are not sure, perform an environmental storage tank audit of your property. The audit will help determine if there are tanks on the site or if there is history of underground tanks on the site. Proper testing and documentation showing the history and status of your underground tank will expedite your closing. Soil boring sample analysis can validate underground storage tank integrity (no leakage); however, many lenders and buyers still require a certified tank closure either through tank removal or in-place closure. Sampling is most helpful to limit environmental liability uncertainties, delineate contamination, and show evidence of a contamination source.
Should I remove an underground tank that I never use anymore?
Yes. Out-of-use tanks that have not been properly closed will have residual oil and sludge left in them. Once the tank walls begin to break down and develop pinholes, material will leach into the soil causing contamination.
Can I just replace my underground tank?
We remove and install all types and sizes of underground and aboveground tanks. In addition, when we remove underground tanks, we provide soil sample results to confirm a clean tank, excavation, and/or back fill. Some townships and municipalities restrict where and how underground tanks can be installed. If you are unsure, give us a call. We can help you determine what options work for you.
Should I put in an aboveground or underground tank?
It depends on available space, security issues, capacity needs, financial limitations, aesthetic requirements, and local ordinances. There are pros and cons to either installation. Call us. We can help you determine what best fits your needs.
How do I get an aboveground tank installed?
Call us. We remove and install all types and sizes of underground and aboveground tanks.
What’s a good online source for information about underground storage tanks?
US Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA): Underground Storage Tanks
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP): Storage Tanks
DEP: A Guide for Home Heating Oil Spills
DEP: Tips for Residential Heating Oil Tank Owners