Today, we’re going to share more information about Severna Park, as well as what you can do if you’re living there and find out you have an underground oil tank on your property.
Background Information About Severna Park, Maryland
Severna Park was founded in the early 1900s. Today, the Maryland city – zip code 21146 – has a population of 40,000 residents, give or take. Severna Park is a desirable place to raise a family, especially considering the excellent schools available in this area.
Something you may not know about the Severna Park area: despite the prevalence of natural gas as a source of home heat, Severna Park has a lot of buried heating oil tanks. We call these tanks USTs (underground storage tanks). Similarly, you may also have an AST (aboveground storage tank).
If you still have a UST at your property, I can almost guarantee you that it is original to the home. With that, the most important thing to know is that the life of an oil tank is 20 years. It’s likely that your current buried oil tank is way older than that.
It is time to remove the current in-use tank and replace it with an aboveground tank. Still, despite knowing that it’s time to replace a tank, many homeowners may not know all the details.
I want to help you understand how important it is, so let’s reveal those details in a game – TRUE OR FALSE
TRUE OR FALSE – Must-Know Facts About Underground Storage Tanks in Severna Park
STATEMENT: I will always know when my tank is leaking.
99.9% of homeowners never know when their UST is leaking.
If you are in the small percentage that do realize it is leaking before it is removed, know this: all the ways to find out are bad, and this will cost you more money.
STATEMENT – If my tank leaks, my homeowner’s insurance will pay for the cleanup.
The large majority of home insurance plans that people have do NOT cover oil tanks and oil tank leak cleanup. You have to have a special rider or a separate company that covers the oil tank.
STATEMENT – If I have a problem with my oil tank or I need to remove my tank, my oil company will tell me what I need to do.
Oil companies are NOT licensed tank removal and tank installation companies. If the tank is below ground, they cannot tell you anymore than anyone else can.
Often oil companies are not well-versed on laws, codes and regulations of the State of Maryland regarding oil tanks and leak cleanup. This can lead to them giving customers inaccurate or incomplete information.
STATEMENT – I can have my plumber or heating & air conditioning contractor take care of my oil tank removal or installation.
Plumbers & HVAC contractors are not licensed tank removers by the MDE. This means they cannot deal with the oil and sludge in the tank and that they do not know how to test the soil per the MDE requirements.
Ultimately this means they can’t give you all the paperwork you need to prove the tank has been dealt with legally.
Some of them may be able to handle new aboveground tank installations, but it’s not something they do everyday. Their unfamiliarity can lead to tanks that are not installed properly the way we do it as professional oil tank installers.
STATEMENT – I can just dump sand in the tank.
FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.
Not only is this illegal, it will cost you more money.
Dumping sand or gravel in the fill pipe will do nothing but mix with the oil and sludge in the tank. This will not fill the tank up. Instead, it creates a pyramid in the tank, making more of a mess for us later when the tank actually has to be removed. As always, this will have to happen at some point in the future.
STATEMENT – If I am buying a house with a buried oil tank, my real estate agent or home inspector will guide me and tell me what I need to do with the UST.
Not all agents have dealt with oil tanks before.
Heating oil tanks is such a niche industry that your agent may not have dealt with a home sale or purchase with an oil tank before. Because of that, they may not be able to give you good information about the tank.
Your home inspector also may be in the same boat. Even very good, knowledgeable and experienced home inspectors that have been inspecting houses for years can never run across a buried heating oil tank. After all, not all areas of Maryland have buried tanks. So a home inspector who specializes in one city or county over another may not be able to give you the information you need to know.
Instead, call GreenTRAX at (410) 439-1085 and we can tell you what you need to know.
STATEMENT – I don’t use more oil so my tank is not leaking.
Everyone tells us their tank is NOT leaking, yet no one knows for sure.
If you get oil delivered on Monday and it’s gone Wednesday, then yes, it’s clear your tank is leaking and that’s very bad.
But with temperature changes, thermostat settings, house insulation, furnace efficiency, and many other factors, the amount of oil you use on a monthly basis will fluctuate.
Even if you stick your tank to check oil level, it doesn’t mean anything. You will not know if the tank is leaking with 100% certainty until it is removed from the ground and the soil below it is checked. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts.
STATEMENT – I don’t have to remove my aboveground tank after it’s 20 years old because I will know when it leaks.
Unless you have an upgraded warranty tank (25/30 yrs), the standard aboveground tank will last 20 years. If your tank is older than that, you need to remove & replace it.
If your tank is aboveground and outside, keep in mind that no one is checking their tank all the time for leaks. When it starts to drip, you will not see it right away. What’s more, if you have sandy soil in the area you live, you may not see it at all.
That is, until you start smelling oil in the basement, seeing oil in the sump pump pit, or seeing dead grass and vegetation around the tank.
Just think: if your tank is in the basement, do you really want to wait until you have oil soaked into your concrete floor or start seeing/smelling oil before you remove that tank?
It is not healthy to breathe that oil smell indoors for long term. And what if you are on vacation for a couple weeks and the tank leaks while you are gone? No one wants to come home to a house smelling like diesel fuel.
All of these are very bad signs and a remediation and cleanup will need to be performed. This will cost you several thousand dollars.
Next Steps To Have Your Oil Storage Tank Checked
How did you do on our true/false quiz? Still have other questions about how you should handle your oil storage tank?
We are here to help you through the whole process, and we can explain everything you need to know, including a fair price for removal &/or replacement.
Call GreenTRAX at (410) 439-1085 today for the oil storage tank information you need. See how much others have loved our services!