When it comes time to replace your underground oil tank you inevitably come to a split in a road where you must decide on complete oil tank removal or oil tank abandonment. While both options provide the necessary end result of decommissioning your home oil tank, oil tank abandonment may be your best option.
Why should I abandon my underground oil tank?
Like everything in life, home heating oil tanks have a limited life expectancy. Although individual results may vary, the average life expectancy of an underground oil tank is 10-15 years. When a underground oil tank reaches the end of its life, the chances of it leaking increase significantly. This increased risk of leaking, can cost the homeowner significant amounts of money in home heating oil, and clean up costs. The cost of cleaning up oil leaks can be significant and upwards of $20,000!
Although it is unlikely that an underground home oil storage tank 10-15 years old will be leaking, sometimes home owners have chosen to bury 275 gallon bare steel tanks; These tanks were never designed for use underground and will inevitably rust and leak.
What is the difference between oil tank abandonment and oil tank removal?
During a home oil tank removal your contractor will dig up the old tank and back fill the area where it was located. Any salvageable oil left in the tank, will be pumped into the new one and waste oil will be properly disposed according to environmental regulations. Complete home oil tank removal, causes a need for property restoration due to the invasive digging techniques required.
Minimal to no property restoration is required with an in place tank abandonment. Home oil tank abandonment procedures are usually as follows:
- Remaining oil is removed from the tank and transferred to the new tank
- Tank top is uncovered and top layer of the oil tank is removed
- Sludge and remaining liquids are removed from the tank and waste is properly disposed
- Tank is filled with tri-polymer foam, sand or pea gravel
- Vent and fill pipes are removed and soil removed is back filled to cover abandoned tank
Reputable tank abandonment companies will include a certificate of abandonment to certify that their work has met all Suffolk County and federal tank abandonment guidelines.