Many property owners are surprised to learn there may be an underground oil tank on their property. As experts in the removal of underground residential and commercial oil tanks, we at Waterline Environmental get a lot of questions about this type of tank and how it got there in the first place – questions we’re always happy to answer!
So, let’s take a closer look at what an underground oil tank is, where it came from and why it’s on your property.
An underground oil tank is a large container that holds oil used for heating or fuel. For example, underground oil tanks can be used to provide fuel for the furnaces and boilers that heat residential and commercial properties.
These tanks are most commonly made of steel and are able to hold between 275 to 1,000 gallons of fuel, with 550 gallons being the more common size used for residential underground oil tanks.
The average lifespan of an underground storage tank is 20 years; though, factors such as the tank’s construction, the type of soil around the tank, any excess groundwater, a closely buried electrical line and the thickness of the tank’s steel will affect its lifespan.
An underground oil tank is seen as a nuisance nowadays, requiring careful removal and soil remediation when discovered on a property, but they were once an important part of residential infrastructure, supplying Ontario homes with fuel for heating for over 70 years.
Now, advances in heating technology and energy efficiency paired with more environmental awareness have prompted most homeowners to make the switch from oil fuel to natural gas.
Before local governments installed the natural gas lines that many of us use to heat our properties today, most homes from the 1930s to the 1980s used fuel oil, which was stored in tanks, but because the tanks were large and unsightly, they were often buried on the property. This also protected the tanks from vandalism or theft.
But over time and without proper maintenance, underground oil tanks pose significant health and environmental risks. Oil can leak out as they corrode and rust, contaminating the surrounding soil and groundwater.
It’s for this reason that legislation was introduced to govern the storage and handling of fuel oil. For example, Ontario’s Fuel Oil Regulation stated that all existing steel underground oil tanks that were 25 years old and older as of October 1st, 2001, were required to be decommissioned and removed. The Regulations further require that fuel oil distributors only distribute their product to tanks registered with the TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority).
If you are permitted to have an underground oil tank on your property in Ontario, you have a legal responsibility to maintain and service it to ensure it poses no environmental risk. You are required to have it maintained annually by trained professionals as well as complete a comprehensive inspection every 10 years.
Choose the licensed professionals at Waterline Environmental to handle all your underground oil tank removal needs!
When it comes to removal, remediation and more, look to the underground oil tank experts at Waterline Environmental to guide you through the removal process. Forget your stress and let us do the rest! Whether it’s for residential, commercial or industrial properties, our services are comprehensive, and our commitment to safety and the environment is unparalleled.
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President: S.A. (Stu) Ferguson