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Can I just leave my oil tank where it is and forget about it?

quick abandonment fuel tank
abandoned oil tank

No matter where your home’s oil tank is, you are responsible for it as the owner of the property. The state of Maryland has strict regulations in place to ensure that our environment stays safe for all who live in it. So, the short answer is, “No. You cannot.”

Now, if the tank is buried below ground, the Maryland dept. of the environment requires the tank be removed or properly abandoned in place by an MD LICENSED contractor within 180 days of when you stop using the tank.

If the tank is aboveground, outside, or in your basement/crawlspace and you stop using it, the oil/sludge can still corrode the tank from the inside out and cause a leak, so it will need to be removed or properly abandoned as well.

Managing an oil tank is serious business and there are complications down the road if you don’t handle yours accordingly. For example,if you go to sell the house the existing UST will come up as this must be disclosed and removed prior to settlement. It is always best to have the tank properly dealt with instead of trying to hide it. Removal is almost always cheaper than a tank abandonment in place, but we’re happy to come out and take a look at your particular situation.

What if My Oil Tank is Empty? 

Your oil tank is never empty, even if you run it dry. There will always be several inches of sludge in the tank. If you have a UST (underground storage tank) there is no way to know with 100% certainty if the tank is leaking until it is removed from the ground and the soil below the tank is checked.

Therefore, if you are installing a new aboveground tank, converting to gas, electric, or propane heat the best course of action is to remove the old oil tank at the same time.

The Tank Has Been Down There for a Long Time. Why Move It Now? 

The average useful life of an oil tank is 20 years. GreenTRAX has been in the tank business for over 25 years and many oil tanks that we see have been in place for well over 20 years. They do not last forever! Almost all of the time they are not coated, painted or protected with anything. The tank is just a piece of bare steel that has been underground for years and years rusting. Sooner or later the rust will win, and the tank will get holes in it. A pinhole in the tank can leak approx. 50 gallons of oil per year, so not enough for anyone to notice more consumption. Once the tank is removed the soil needs to be checked with PID meter. A soil sample is then taken and analyzed at a lab.

GreenTRAX is the expert you want to call. We will provide you all of the proper documentation you need to prove the tank has been dealt with properly and legally. We follow all the proper procedures and requirements. The important thing to remember is the tank cannot be legally removed by anyone, so you can’t have your friend with a backhoe do it, or any plumber, or HVAC company. It needs to be handled by a licensed tank remover. Call GreenTRAX, Inc. 410-439-1085 we are here to help and answer your questions.

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More To Explore

The Maryland Department of the Environment is cancelling the reimbursement fund for homeowners with leaking heating oil tanks!

This cancellation takes effect June 30th, 2024. You need to have your buried oil tank removed NOW, so if the tank is leaking you can get reimbursed for remediation costs before the program goes away. Click here for more information on the reimbursement fund as it operates now.

We urge everyone to contact their representatives in Annapolis and the Governors office and tell them DO NOT cancel the homeowner reimbursement fund for leaking residential oil tanks! They can still renew this program before this year’s legislative session ends.

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