Underground Oil Tank Removal for Environmental Protection

An underground Oil Tank is an example of an underground Storage Tank (UST). An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank with at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground.

The federal UST regulations apply only to UST systems storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

According to EPA, approximately 542,000 underground storage tanks (USTs) nationwide store petroleum or hazardous substances. The greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is groundwater contamination, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans.

According to the regulations, owners and operators must correctly install UST systems, safeguard their USTs against spills, overfilling, and corrosion, and follow proper filling techniques. Additionally, owners and operators must report new UST systems, suspected leaks, and UST system closures and maintain records of operation and maintenance.

3 Major Protection Measures to Prevent Underground Oil Tank Contamination

Spill Protection

When the delivery hose is detached from the fill pipe, a containment surrounds the fill pipe that captures tiny drips or spills. A spill bucket is a common name for this type of containment. A catchment basin or spill containment maintenance hole are other names for it.

A spill bucket is just a basin sealed around the fill pipe. The spill bucket should be large enough to contain any spills when the delivery hose is disconnected from the fill pipe.

A standard fuel supply pipe has a capacity of 14 gallons. Spill buckets come in various sizes, from those that can store a few gallons to those that can hold a lot more. The bigger the spill bucket, the more spill protection it can provide.

Overfill Protection

When the tank is near to being filled, overfill protection mechanisms either shut off product flow, restrict product flow, or inform the delivery operator with an alarm. These devices are put inside the tank and turn on when the product in the UST reaches a specified level. Overfill protection is usually required for USTs.

An alarm is a device that provides information to operators and authorities. Using an alarm, the owner or operator of a UST system can monitor fill levels at all times, receive overfill warnings, and know when the tank is full.

Corrosion Protection

Underground metal components of the UST system that are not shielded from corrosion can corrode and leak product through corrosion holes. Pitting on the metal surface might be the first sign of corrosion.

As the pitting progresses, holes may form. Over time, even a tiny corrosion hole might cause large leaks. Metal components can include flexible connectors, swing joints, and turbines, in addition to tanks and pipelines.

Corrosion protection is required for all metal UST system components that come into contact with the ground and typically contain the product. Cathodic protection and isolating the metal component from the corrosive environment are two popular approaches for protecting metal components against corrosion.

Removal of Underground Oil Storage Tank and Environmental Protection

In the United States, there are several million underground storage tank systems (USTs) that hold petroleum or hazardous chemicals. Thousands of USTs, as well as the piping that connects them, are currently leaking.

There are likely to be many more leaks in the future. Leaking USTs can result in fires or explosions, endangering workers’ safety. The leaks also contaminate the underground water catchment areas, which are the primarywater sources for domestic use.

An underground oil tank’s environmental impact should not be neglected. If an underground oil tank leaks, the leak could seep through the soil and into the groundwater, contaminating it and rendering it unsuitable for irrigation.

If the leak spreads to the water supply surface, it might affect adjacent households and wildlife.

When they were sold years ago, several firms estimated the life expectancy of their oil tanks to be around 20-25 years. Keeping this in mind, it’s best to get rid of the storage tank as soon as feasible.

Oil spills can have disastrous consequences for the environment, especially if water bodies are nearby. Boreholes and wells, in particular, are likely to be severely harmed if oil seeps and spills into the water table, contaminating water that might otherwise be used for a variety of reasons.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted underground storage tank restrictions in December 1988, forcing UST owners to repair or remove tanks that do not meet EPA criteria from service.

Many occupational injuries and fatalities have occurred due to cave-ins, explosions, and chemical overexposure since the EPA’s tank restrictions were implemented. This clearly shows that UST owners and service providers may be unaware of the consequences of incorrect tank servicing, closure, or removal.

The removal of an underground oil tank from any location may be motivated by various factors. Peace of mind, environmental protection, property transfer, regulatory authority needs, and by-laws are just a few of the reasons.

Whatever the reason, specific standards must be followed before the evacuation of these underground oil tanks. They must be followed for the sake of safety and cost. Failure to do so could result in dangerous consequences and expensive fines from regulatory organizations.

Financial institutions also consider due diligence before funding projects using underground oil tanks.

Other Major Reasons For Removing Underground Oil Tank

  1. Complying with local government regulations

A property owner may remove an Underground Storage Tank from their property for various reasons, one of which is to comply with city by-laws.

  1. Health and Safety

Oil tanks can jeopardize a person’s health and safety. Although it is unusual to hear about household explosions or people being ill due to their oil tanks, it is possible in particular.

  1. Property Transactions

Many oil tanks are removed during the sale of a home. When a house is on the market, the realtor will typically ask for it to be taken down. This is primarily because if the property has an oil tank, it will be more difficult to sell until the tank is removed.

  1. Preparing for a renovation

It’s a good idea to find out if the property has an oil tank before doing any modifications or destruction. If the property has an oil tank, it should be removed before any renovations begin. This could reduce money while reducing the danger of damage to the oil tank during construction.

Failure to remove the tank promptly could result in significant and severe financial consequences for the property’s developer, especially if unforeseen plans arise. The property owner, for example, may have converted the site for residential use and constructed an apartment.

  1. Mortgage Applications

Most mortgage lenders now require oil tank removal or detection certificates from their borrowers. As a result, it can be challenging to locate a financial institution willing to approve or renew a mortgage application without the oil tank removed.

  1. Being Proactive

Some homeowners prefer to remove their oil tank ahead of time for peace of mind.

You will avoid further worry in the future when selling your property when renewing your mortgage or insurance policies when paying annual fees to the city, when your renovation possibilities are limited, and when thinking about what is beneath the earth and if your oil tank is leaking if you do so.

  1. Home Insurance Applications

Getting home insurance approval, like getting a mortgage, might be difficult if there is an underground oil tank on the property.

Many insurance companies require consumers to remove their oil tanks before completing their renewal application, even if their home insurance coverage is renewed. Some insurance companies offer oil tank insurance. These policies, however, can be pretty costly.


Many issues must be considered before an underground oil tank is removed. The factors listed are far from exhaustive. There are other, more qualitative reasons why an underground oil storage tank might be removed.

There is no reason why the tank, for example, should exist in the first place if it serves no other purpose. However, in some cases, the tank may be positioned in areas where it is irrelevant whether it is extracted or not.

As a result, it may be more cost-effective to leave it alone while other areas of development are prioritized. It should also be noted that different laws govern the removal of subsurface oil storage in different places. That, too, should be taken into account.

Laws and by-laws are also revised regularly. Keeping up to date on updated legislation and statutory legislation can help guide one’s options while considering the removal of underground water storage.

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