A large container designed for storing large amounts of liquid or gas underground is an underground storage tank (UST). Tanks were usually made of bare steel and were used to store heating oil or fuel oil for residential and commercial properties between the 1930s and the late 1980s. Irrespective of whether it is leaking, some states require the removal of the tank if it is no longer in operation. Some allow tanks to stay in the ground if an inert substance is filled 100 percent with them. Others have no rules at all concerning the disposal of underground oil tanks.
An industry average for the life span of an oil tank is 20 years – some tanks last longer and some shorter. This time frame is greatly dependent on the type of oil tank, and construction of the tank (meaning thicker-walled tanks generally can last longer). However, residential oil storage tanks have a typical life ranging from 20 years to 40 years or even longer.
Why Seek Professional Tank Services?
The need to remove an underground oil tank requires homeowners to hire simple tank services that can guarantee professional work. Moreover, opting for a professional service can save you both time and money, and they can ensure you a smooth operation in removing underground oil tanks, given their first-hand experience and knowledge in this kind of service. Professional cleaners have the necessary expertise in ensuring that the property is going to be pristine by the time removal or cleaning process will be done.
In general, removing the tanks is an easy, inexpensive task, running from an estimated $1,500 to $2,500. But according to tank-removal firms, the trouble begins when a leak is detected, which occurs in an estimated 30 to 50 percent of cases. If a leak is detected, the state recommends homeowners to select a cleanupcleanup contractor on the list of certified companies in the Department of Environmental Protection, which can be found in the department site.
As for all home ventures, before hiring a contractor, homeowners can get multiple offers and check references. Removing takes time and costs, especially with tanks buried for a long time. Besides, cleanup costs depend on several variables, including the level of pollution and the requirements of state cleanup.
Risks of Having an Underground Oil Tank
If you know that you have an underground oil tank on your property, there are many good reasons why you should consider removing it, and these reasons are found in the harm it can cause if not removed.
It can permanently devalue your property.
Most home buyers are immediately turned off when they know that there is an underground oil tank in the property you’re trying to sell. Underground oil tanks are a hidden hazard due to leaks that can go undetected for years. A damaged underground oil tank can cause harmful fumes inside the property, which can spread through the ground and can also affect neighboring properties. This will surely give real estate agents a hard time selling the property.
Moreover, this can be a disadvantage for sellers or new homeowners to acquire a property with an underground oil tank. A hesitation might arise as they are not certain if there is a functioning underground tank. Even if it has insurance coverage, the new homeowners might demand removal which can also damage property and landscape. Moreover, there is no way that a homeowner cannot be convinced of what will happen when there is an unremoved underground oil tank in the property.
It can pose environmental hazards.
The environmental impact of an underground oil tank should not be overlooked. If a buried oil tank is leaking, the leak may spread from the soil into the groundwater, thereby contaminating the groundwater and making it unusable for irrigation purposes. Once the leak goes further to the water supply surface, it can endanger nearby residents and neighboring wildlife as well.
It can cause a financial burden.
The homeowner is normally on the hook for the cost of cleanup. Generally, homeowner insurance plans do not cover the damage caused by leaking tanks. Although tank insurance is available, it is however limited to the provision that if the tank is removed, homeowners stick to oil heat. Some homeowners were able to receive compensation from the older plans if it was found that the leak was too high. Again, there is a limitation of the insurance plans and it will cost you more if the underground oil tank will not be removed.
It can lead to potential lawsuits.
Aside from the burden of spending too much money for the cost of cleaning contaminated soil and water caused by leaking underground oil tanks, you could also be looking at lawsuits because of it. If the leak affects your neighborhood, concentrated oil vapors can make people living nearby experience headaches and drowsiness. This can only make your financial burden increase exponentially.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Tank Service Company
1. Experience is a plus factor
A tank service company that you’re planning to hire must have the needed experience to do the job. You can use testimonials from previous clients to give you more information about the kind of services offered by the contractor. Always go with a contractor who has a proven track of exemplary record when it comes to removing underground oil tanks.
Look for a contractor that offers packages and inclusions. Distinguish first how much it would cost you if you hire them to remove a large leaking tank or a tank removed in good condition so that there will be no hidden charges in your transaction.
A professional contractor to remove the underground oil tank presents you with the timeline for removing the tank. Removing your underground oil tank can cause discomfort for owners and neighbors especially if it doesn’t have a timeline. This would also prepare them to have precautionary measures if there is possible leaking or unwanted smell of the tank.
4. Has insurance coverage.
When hiring a tank service company to remove your underground oil tank, make sure that such a company must have an insurance plan to cover the potential clean-up costs of the operation.
Protecting yourself, your family, and property, your neighborhood, and the environment are enough reasons why you shouldn’t undermine the importance of removing underground oil tanks. It is equally important that you coordinate with the regulating body so that if there are complications, they can be resolved as soon as possible. Most importantly, to make sure that you’re doing it the right way, trust only an experienced and professional oil tank removal company.