Oil Tank Removal: What to Expect and How to Prepare

The oil tank removal process typically involves draining and cleaning the tank, then remove it from the property. Depending on the size of the tank, additional steps such as soiling and hauling away may be involved.

Let’s face it, when it comes to oil tank removal, most of us have no idea what to expect or how to prepare. What kind of specialists do you need? What kind of permits do you have to have? What kind of mess and cost can you expect in the removal process? Do you have to worry about safety regulations when dealing with an underground oil tank? We can all agree that removing an oil tank can be a daunting task and you’re probably hoping that you never need to do it. But these situations happen, and should you find yourself in one, it’s best to be informed. To this end, we’re here to help! In this post, we’ll be discussing oil tank removal, what to expect, and how to prepare. From regulations and permitting, to cost and the mess, we’ll cover it all. Ready? Let’s get to it!

Regulations and Guidelines

When it comes to underground oil tank removal in New England, there are several regulations and guidelines that must be followed. Depending upon the location, different laws may apply. While the federal standards for hazardous materials apply across the country, some states have their own guidelines related to oil tank removal. Depending on the circumstances, contractors may need to meet certain regulatory requirements before commencing any work on soil or water removal.

On the one hand, having a set of clear regulations concerning oil tank removal is beneficial for everyone’s safety. Established safety rules will ensure employees and homeowners alike remain safe during the process of removing old tanks from contaminated sites. Furthermore, ensuring that all tanks are removed in compliance with current regulations will minimize risk of financial liability or future health concerns.

On the other hand, some argue that overly restrictive regulations can add barriers that may hinder or prevent timely corrective action in a situation where a hazardous substance is present on a property. Neglecting to address the underlying problem right away could lead to potentially catastrophic consequences.

In either case, it is important to be aware of what all applicable regulations are before beginning any oil tank removal project. Local and state laws should be taken into consideration as any violations that occur can result in hefty fines and penalties. With this in mind, let’s move to discuss just what types of regulations are associated with oil tank removal projects.

  • According to research conducted in 2017, the average time for the removal of an oil tank is roughly 130 minutes.
  • The size and condition of the tank will influence how long the process takes, with larger tanks, or those that are extremely rusty, requiring more time for proper removal
  • Benchmark Oil Tank Services states that a typical aboveground tank can be removed in 80 minutes, while a below ground storage tank can take up to 3 hours.

What Types of Regulations Are There?

When performing oil tank removal, it’s important to understand the regulations that may be in place. Depending on the local, state, or federal jurisdiction, there are a variety of regulations governing oil tank removal. In addition to being familiar with the specific laws that apply to your property, you also need to be aware of environmental and safety considerations.

For instance, some areas have strict requirements around how the removed oily water must be handled or disposed of in order to protect drinking water sources. Additionally, building owners should make sure they have an understanding of any regulations related to building permits and hazardous materials disposal. Property owners can face fines if they fail to comply with these laws.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that current regulations are overly stringent and can unnecessarily complicate the process of oil tank removal. Unnecessary permitting procedures could cause delays and add undue stress for property owners by complicating paperwork. Furthermore, complying with regulations may increase costs for building owners who remove their own tanks as opposed to hiring a professional contractor.

It’s important to understand the regulations pertaining to oil tank removal, but it’s also worth considering whether current regulations are truly necessary or beneficial. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, when carrying out oil tank removal, all relevant regulations must still be observed and followed.

Now that we’ve discussed what types of regulations are in place for oil tank removal, let’s turn to how an inspection takes place.

How Does an Inspection Work?

An inspection is a vital step of the oil tank removal process, as it ensures the safety of both the environment and future occupants of the property. During an oil tank inspection, a professional will assess the property for any environmental hazards related to an underground oil tank. They may evaluate the soil around the tank for signs of contamination, take readings on tank levels, inspect the valves to check for potential leaks or pressure issues, and even request further testing if needed.

The importance of a thorough inspection should not be overlooked, as it helps establish clear guidelines on how to explicitly approach the removal process and minimize any disruption or cost. Many experts suggest having this conducted by a licensed professional in order to protect both your health and financial wellbeing from any potential future liability associated with a contaminated environment. On the other hand, some believe that it’s not always necessary for homeowners to get professional help in doing an oil tank inspection. As long as proper safety protocols are followed, such as examining for signs of leakage and checking the surrounding soil for contaminants, they can generally conduct their own inspections without seeking outside help.

Of course, regardless of whether you decide do go ahead with a professional inspection or carry it out yourself, taking precautionary steps to ensure there are no environmental risks present before getting started on the tank removal process is essential. With that in mind, let’s now explore what exactly happens during the removal process itself.

Removal Process

Once you have determined that tank removal is necessary, it is important to understand the process and potential hazards associated with it. Generally, the entire process can be divided into four distinct steps: excavating, removal, cleanup/decontamination, and site remediation.

Excavation. In order to access the tank for removal, excavation of the soil is likely required. This may involve use of an excavator if a buried tank is present or removing siding around an above ground tank. With this step, soil becomes displaced and must be managed per safety and environmental standards; particularly any hazardous material found in the excavation.

Removal. After excavation has exposed the tank, the next step involves actually removing it from its enclosure. This requires specially trained personnel from a licensed contractor as tanks can be large, awkward, and potentially contain dangerous materials. Structural damage may also be a factor and drilling or blasting may be needed to remove certain components in older tanks as well as stuck or jammed valves and/or fittings.

Cleanup/Decontamination. Prior to transporting the removed tank components away from your property, they must first be tested for hazardous materials – like fuel – that must be properly disposed of before safe transportation of the waste can occur. If there is any evidence of these materials remaining onsite they must be cleaned up either manually or through hydro-jetting (water jets propelled at high pressure) prior to additional transport to avoid spillage in transit which could lead to further clean up being required upon destination arrival.

Site Remediation. Once proper removal and disposal of waste has been conducted (including any sludge taken from samples/inspections), attention can then turn to restoring your property to pre-tank condition through re-grading the soil, types of fill used etc.. Reinstatement of landscaping may also be deemed necessary depending on local zoning codes as well as personal preference.

It is important for homeowners considering oil tank removal to understand thoroughly what process needs to take place in order to ensure a safe job site and protect their environment as much as possible during this kind of work. Now that we understand what’s involved in oil tank removal, let’s move on to looking at how best prepare your oil tank removal site.

Preparing the Removal Site

Properly preparing your oil tank removal site is essential to ensure a successful project. This involves taking two main steps: investigating the soil surrounding the tank and ensuring the workers have access to the tank, properly measured out and ready for removal.

In terms of soil investigation, it’s important to determine if there is any evidence of contamination from either sediment in the surrounding area or from water sources nearby. If samples of sludge-like material appear along with an oil smell near the tank, this may indicate a possible leak. In this situation, it’s important to undertake a professional investigation that can check for contaminant levels in different areas of your property.

In other cases, there may be no obvious signs of contamination but you want to make sure that your site hasn’t been affected by any underground leaks. In either case, testing samples of soil and nearby water sources should form part of the preparation process. If there is contamination present, then appropriate remediation measures should take place prior to removal.

Ensuring workers have good access to the tank is also essential, particularly if you need to clear away obstructions such as trees or hard ground. In this case, bringing in specialists that have experience with laying foundations and creating driveways might be necessary to prepare for safe and efficient removal.

Having prepared for both possible contamination and easy access, you are now ready for the next stage — contamination and soil testing — which will help you understand any environmental damage that may have occurred before taking the necessary steps for remediation.



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