Heating oil Tanks in the City of Annapolis

Handling heating oil tanks within the City of Annapolis can be different and more challenging than almost any other locale in Maryland. So, it’s a good thing the specialists at GreenTRAX, Inc. have over 27 years of experience working in the City of Annapolis removing and installing heating oil tanks, both underground & aboveground.

First of all, unless you are within the City limits this does not apply, but Annapolis has its own tank requirements. In order to remove a buried oil tank, a permit is required, the inspector will have to come to the site to verify the tank is not leaking, and that same inspector must see that the soil is clean.

Within the City’s historic district, in order to remove an underground tank, another permit, from the historic preservation commission must be obtained.

 The normal tank removal permit process can add days to the timeline, and the historic permit can sometimes add 2 weeks to the process. So, if the job is a rush and or you are going to be selling the house, or are already under contract do not delay. Call GreenTRAX as soon as possible to allow time to complete the process.

If you want to perform a tank abandonment, or closure in place, of the below ground tank, an approval must first be obtained from the City inspector. Unless the tank interferes with the structure of the house, be prepared to have the tank removed. A removal is almost always required, so if your tank is buried under a deck, patio, concrete, brick pavers, sidewalk, driveway, asphalt, garden bed or other landscaping, it does NOT qualify for a tank abandonment in the City of Annapolis. The tank must be removed. Even if there is no way to get very small equipment to the tank to remove it, a removal by hand is required. That means that we would dig up the tank by hand with shovels, pump out and clean the tank, then cut it up in pieces while it is still in the ground to facilitate the removal.

For aboveground tank removals and installations, a permit is also required. Additionally, for certain types of tank installations an air (pressure) test, must be placed on the new tank BEFORE it can be installed. This test must be viewed by the inspector who also has to come back and view everything once it is hooked up, so it will require 2 visits from him. This not only adds time, but also some additional expense to an otherwise simple project.

Annapolis is also home to unique tank situations. One that we rarely ever see, outside of Annapolis is the aboveground tank in the basement that is actually an underground tank! Many decades ago, for some reason, in Annapolis it was common practice to install the basic 275-gallon aboveground tank (it could be a vertical tank, though it was usually horizontal) or 300-gallon cylindrical tanks as well as some other “oddball” size and shape tanks. They would install these tanks in the basement, then build a block wall around the tank and fill around the tank with sand and cover the tank with sand. By doing this, the Maryland Department of the Environment considers this tank to be a buried oil tank.

So, in order to properly remove the tank, the block wall must be removed by hand and all of the sand or dirt around it hauled out in 5 gallon buckets to be removed offsite. Then the tank must be removed. A soil sample must be taken from the dirt or sand surrounding the tank. Then if the tank has leaked, the concrete floor below where the tank was must be jackhammered, removed, and the contaminated soil below the floor must then be removed by hand. So, this requires digging it up with shovels, putting it in 5-gallon buckets, and taking it outside to be placed in a dump truck for proper disposal at an MDE approved location. GreenTRAX has done this many times over the years, so if you have a tank surrounded by a block wall, do not delay. We guarantee this tank is WAY past its useful lifespan, so getting it removed as soon as possible is the best course of action.

So, after dealing with all of the above unique features of City of Annapolis tanks, you would think that would be it, wouldn’t you? Well unfortunately not! Besides tank permits & historic permits, sometimes parking permits, sidewalk obstruction permits, or in exceedingly rare cases, a temporary street closure permit is required. Due to small tight streets, one-way streets, and limited parking areas, GreenTRAX frequently has to obtain “reserved parking space permits”. The work we do requires we have clear access to the tank and to be able to remove the tank with equipment and to allow hoses to be run to pump out the tank. So, we must usually be directly in front of the property and that our route should be free of cars to perform the work safely. So, we must pay for and obtain blocked parking permits for several parking spaces in front of the property to facilitate the completion of the project.

Additionally, if our work requires the sidewalk to be blocked for any length of time, we must obtain a sidewalk obstruction permit from the City. And in very rare cases, depending in the job requirements, available street parking and width of the street, a temporary street closure permit has to be obtained. With this type of permit though, this creates many other hurdles and complications to deal with.

However do not worry, you can call GreenTRAX and we take care of everything!

We have seen and done almost every scenario imaginable in the City Of Annapolis, so let the professionals complete this project for you.

The biggest take away from the above information you need to remember, if you are a buyer looking in the City for a property (residential or commercial), a seller of the property, a listing agent or a buyers agent, a broker or even a home inspector, be aware that it is likely the property has or had a heating oil tank. More importantly, if you are in the process of buying or selling a home and you have or think you have an oil tank do not delay. I have outlined above all of the scenarios we deal with as well as hoops we have to jump through. This all adds time to the project, and with settlement pending, time matters!

BEFORE you go to the settlement table on the property that has a buried tank, you WILL need the closure packet from GreenTRAX. This has soil samples, pictures of project, a detailed report of what was done as well as other information. This shows everything was done properly and legally. But remember it takes time to allow Miss Utility to mark property, obtain permits, schedule and perform the work, receive soil sample results from the lab, and compile the closure report. To say nothing of contaminated soil. If the UST has leaked and we have to remove bad soils, this process also takes additional time. So bottom line – let the professionals at GreenTRAX handle the entire process for you. We can get the project completed efficiently, on time, and legally so that everything is done BEFORE you go to settlement!

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