Buried Oil Tanks: A Cause for Concern

Buried Oil Tanks: A Cause for Concern

Homeowners who have an home heating oil hauppauge storage tank buried underground often don’t give it much thought. It’s out of sight, out of mind; but, if your home has one of these tanks, it’s something that you really need to pay more attention to.

All fuel oil tanks can costly damage; however, when an underground tank leads, it’s much more concerning than a leak in an aboveground tank. Not only can it cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up, and worse, it can do extensive damage to the environment.

If your home’s fuel oil storage tank is located underground, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that are associated with it, and what you can do in order to prevent problems.

Underground Oil Tanks are a Liability

When it comes to an underground storage tank, out of sight and out of mind is downright dangerous. Steel oil tanks have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but most of those that have been buried underground are much older than that. These tanks are more prone to damage than those that are located aboveground because they are often neglected. Other than filling them up, a lot of homeowners fail to have them properly maintained.

The tank itself isn’t the only issue. There’s also a network of pipes and connections that feed oil from the tank into your home, and they are susceptible to leaks, too.

Some of the issues that can arise with an underground oil tank include:

  • High Cost. If the tank leaks, you will have to spend an exorbitant amount of money repairing the damage. Clean up may require the removal and replacement of contaminated soil. Affected water sources will have to be attended to. On top of that, you will have repair or replace your tank. Your homeowners insurance probably won’t cover these costs, leaving you to pay for it out of pocket.
  • Health Concerns. Your tank may be leaking without you knowing it, which could put your health in serious danger. Not only could the water you are drinking be contaminated, but so could the air you are breathing. A high concentration of oil vapor in the air is extremely hazardous to your health.
  • Possible Legal Troubles. Should your underground tank leak, those living around you could be affected. For instance, it could contaminated a neighbor’s well. As such, you could have a lawsuit filed against you.
  • Environmental Damage. A leaking oil tank will contaminate the soil surrounding it, and it can also spread into the ground water. Should the ground water be affected, surface water could, too, potentially affecting drinking water and causing health concerns for the public. Having a leaking oil tank will definitely affect your hot water heater as well. Come winter, your boiler and queens hot water heater will stop running if you run out of oil. Make sure you top off your tank before the cold weather comes and have a licensed plumber come check out both the hot water heater and your oil tank to check for leaks in both.

How to Prevent Underground Fuel Oil Tank Issues

If your home has an underground tank, there are some things that you can do to prevent an oil spill and the problems that are associated with it. Some suggestions include:

  • Regular Inspections. Not only should you have the tank inspected regularly, but you should also have the soil and water checked. An environmental professional can run tests on the land and water that surrounds the tank to make sure no oil is present. If the results determine there isn’t any contamination, hold onto the documentation the professional provides, as it is important proof that your tank isn’t leaking. If it is found that a problem does exist, ask for an estimate on the cost of repairing the damage and act quickly to do so.
  • Get Oil Remediation Insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance policy probably doesn’t cover oil contamination; however, you can purchase oil remediation insurance to protect yourself. Ask the provider that covers your home to inquire about a policy. If yours doesn’t offer coverage, shop around and find a provider that does. Do bear in mind that in order to receive coverage, you will need to prove that your tank complies with both state safety regulations.
  • Remove the Tank. The only way to completely eliminate the dangers that are associated with an underground oil tank is to have it removed, even if it isn’t being used. If you are using a buried tank for fuel oil storage, you will have to replace it with an aboveground tank. Though an aboveground tank can leak, it’s easier to inspect and maintain, and it isn’t exposed to moisture in the soil, which can increase the likelihood of rust and leaks.

However you decide to proceed with your buried underground fuel oil tank, it’s important that you are aware of the risks and take action to avoid a potential disaster. Being aware and proactive can help save you from serious problems.