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What To Know About Underground Oil Tanks In Owings Mills, MD

oil storage tanks in owings mills

Owings Mills, MD. is a suburban community located in Baltimore County. This community is not huge – in fact, it’s just about 10 square miles in size. The zip code for this community located in the northwest of Baltimore is 21117. Owings Mills also includes Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area. 

Apart from that, do you know what else Owings Mills has? A lot of buried heating oil tanks. 

How Underground Oil Tanks Work

In case you do not know what I am talking about, allow me to take you back in time. Before electric heat, propane heat, geothermal, and natural gas were in wide usage and availability, a ton of people – especially in Baltimore County, Maryland – had heating oil tanks.

Originally when all these houses were built these tanks used to be buried below the ground. These underground storage tanks, or “UST” as we call them, are a single layer of steel rolled, cut, welded, and manufactured into a large cylindrical shape with closed ends. 

Several pipe fittings are welded into the top of the tank, then pipe and adaptors are installed. 

All underground tanks will have a fill pipe where the oil will be put into the tank, as well as a vent pipe with a whistle. This is an adapter that when air passes through that makes a whistling sound when the oil delivery company is filling the tank. When the oil level hits the bottom of the whistle adapter, it will stop making noise and that’s how the driver knows the tank is full. 

There is usually a spare hole filled with a plug, and finally a duplex fitting where the two copper oil lines connect to. One of the copper lines is for the supply line, and the other is for the return line. All old tank systems had two lines, whereas nowadays we typically only use one line for a supply. 

How We Know Your Underground Oil Tank Is Probably More Than 20 Years Old

If you have a UST, I can almost guarantee that the tank is over 20 years old. That’s important to know because the life of a tank is 20 years, so you need to have this buried tank removed (by GreenTRAX) and replaced with an aboveground tank. 

Most residential buried oil tanks today are not just over 20 years old. They could be as old as 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years. On average, 75% of these old oil tanks are leaking because they’ve been left in place too long. 

GreenTRAX can also handle the new tank installation for you as well the same as the tank removal. The new aboveground tanks are either a square or rectangular shape, or typically an oval-shaped vertical aboveground tank. The technical term is “Ob-round” shape. 

If you happen to have an “ob-round” tank that has been buried (this will be a 275-gallon tank), then that tank is even more likely to be leaking because this tank was not designed to be buried in the first place. These use a much thinner gauge of metal than the cylindrical tanks. 

If the oil company tells you that you have a 275-gallon buried tank, then call GreenTRAX to have the tank removed as that is one type of tank that cannot stay in place forever.

Why Homeowners Are Responsible For Removing The Underground Oil Tank Before Selling 

As a homeowner, you also need to be aware that if you are selling the property the tank needs to be removed before you go to closing on the property. Homebuyers today will not buy a house with a buried tank, as the buyer’s mortgage company or insurance company can and do prevent buyers from going to settlement until the tank is removed. 

If you are a buyer, seller, real estate agent, home inspector, mortgage lender or insurance broker and you are involved in a transaction on a property that has a buried oil tank then everyone involved should inform the seller to have the tank removed as early as possible in the sales process. Do not wait until the last minute. 

Before we let you go, here are several important points about underground oil tank removal in Owings Mills to be aware of: 

  • If the oil tank is no longer in use state law requires it be removed within six months.
  • A tank abandonment in place instead of a removal is an option, however it is more expensive than having it removed.
  • Baltimore County requires a tank removal as long as the tank doesn’t impact the structure of the house. As a note, being close to the foundation is not a reason to keep it there, as all tanks are usually close to the house.
  • If the tank is leaking it will cost several thousand more dollars to clean up and remediate the site.
  • The tank removal only takes 1 day onsite. However the soil sample lab testing and paperwork process to get you the tank closure report packet takes approximately 2 weeks. This can be done sooner with rush fees.
  • If the tank is leaking, the entire cleanup and paperwork process takes 2-3 weeks. This can be rushed to get done sooner for additional fees.
  • The state of Maryland has a partial reimbursement fund that will give you back some of the money you spend for tank removal and remediation. This only applies if the tank is leaking. For this application, GreenTRAX will fill it out and give you further instructions on how to submit.  

Contact GreenTRAX Today For Help Removing Your Underground Oil Tank In Owings Mills

This is just a short explanation of some things we deal with in Owings Mills, Baltimore County. As Maryland’s leader in underground tank removal, we have plenty of other helpful resources for you throughout our website, including our regularly updated blog.

To get our help with your specific situation, we’re always happy to speak on the phone. Give us a call at 410-439-1085 when you’re ready to speak!

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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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