In times past, many homes were kept warm throughout the winter with heating oil; therefore, many older homes have a heating oil tank underground or above ground, either in the basement or “out back.” The EPA does not require the removal of heating oil tanks; however, heating oil tanks often leak, creating a potential hazard. When a leak occurs, there is a considerable cost associated with cleaning up the contamination caused by the leak. In the environmental field, leaks are referred to as a release. A release from a heating oil tank is regulated and will need to be investigated and cleaned up by environmental professionals; this is not a DIY job!
Detecting A Leak
There are a few ways to determine whether or not a release has occurred. There may be a noticeable odor near the tank; a neighbor may mention an unusual smell, indicating a leak has encroached onto their property, possibly near their sump pump. You may see an oily sheen on the surface of water pooled on your property after a rain shower. You might even detect the scent or taste of petroleum in the water you use or consume. If any of these situations are present, you are experiencing the dangerous consequences of a leaking tank. In this case, the product that has been released poses a substantial health risk to yourself and others nearby.
Costs of Contamination Cleanup
Cleaning up contamination caused by a leaking tank is required and will most likely be costly. The first question is, “How much is the clean-up going to cost?”. Understandably so, however, the cost of a clean-up varies considerably from one situation to another; there is not a standard cost. These factors will determine the final clean-up cost: the area affected by the release, the degree to which the product has permeated the soil, the size, condition, and location of the tank, and the amount of product remaining in the tank.
Call A Professional Environmental Consultant
Your next best move is to call an environmental consultant. Remember the adage, “You get what you pay for?” that sentiment rings true in this situation. As far as environmental consultants go, when you get a “good one,” they will talk with you about your concerns and make an appointment to come to your property to determine the best action to take. Contamination is regulated; the professionals will meticulously document the closure and removal of the tank. Upon completion of the clean-up, the consultant will provide you with closure documents that will be of great importance and benefit you in the future.
In summary, consider yourself fortunate if you have a tank on your property that hasn’t leaked. Proactively managing the tank is your best bet; get it removed, end of the story. Removing the tank before a release is less costly and shows you are putting health and safety first for yourself and others. However, when a tank has leaked, the owner of that tank will have to be reactive; contamination caused by a leaky tank must be cleaned up; there is no other legal option. Aegis Environmental will take care of the clean-up process. Our team “knows tanks” and will work with you to provide peace of mind; your tank or clean-up will meet state regulations when our work is complete. Visit our residential heating tank removal page to learn more about who we are and what we do.
Bottom line: we are SAFE SPACE EXPERTS.