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Preparing for Underground Heating Oil Tank Removal: A HOMEOWNERS GUIDE 

Underground Oil Tank Removal

Getting ready to have your underground tank removed from your property? You’re in the right place with the best tank removal contractor in Maryland – GreenTRAX, Inc. 

Now, while you may have an idea of what the process of removing an underground heating oil is like, it’s important to know what to expect before and during. We’re here today to clear it up with a brief guide.

First Things First: What Happens Before Your Underground Heating Oil Tank Is Removed

Before we can break ground on the job, GreenTRAX will notify Miss Utility before the job.

This is a free service (except in Baltimore County & Baltimore city where they charge a nominal fee) provided by the underground utility companies and involves painting marks on the ground where public underground utilities are located. 

Next up we will obtain a permit for the buried oil or gas tank removal if you are located in Baltimore County or within the city limits proper of the City of Annapolis, then we will schedule the inspector for the day of the work. 

GreenTRAX will schedule the work with you (the property owner) in advance of the job. We perform buried tank removals all year long regardless of season. Yes, even if it’s frozen outside! 

Though it can be surprising to some folks, very seldom does the ground freeze deep enough in Maryland that we cannot dig through it with a machine. We can even perform tank removal if it is a light rain outside or wet conditions. 

That said, if it is a heavy or hard rain, we’ll likely postpone the work to another day. Similarly, we do not work if it is actively snowing, or if the forecast is for accumulating snow the day of work or icy conditions the day of work. 

How You Can Prepare For Your Underground Oil Tank Removal

While you can trust in GreenTRAX to do the majority of the work, we do need our homeowners to help us out just a bit.

Get Ready For A Leak

The first thing you need to do is… prepare yourself for the likelihood that your tank is leaking (even if you swear it’s not!). While we hope you’re right, the fact is that most tanks have been in the ground 30, 40, 50 years or more. Unfortunately, their lifespan is only 20 years. 

Have Funds Available

The next thing for you to do is have sufficient funds available – either in your bank account or on a credit card – to pay for not only the tank removal, but also the disposal of oil and sludge in the tank and the remediation and cleanup of contaminated soil just in case the tank is leaking. 

Clear The Yard

You can also help out by clearing the area to get to the underground oil tank. That means putting away garden hoses, extension cords, downspout extensions, and yard decorations that might be in the tank area, or in the path of the equipment must be used to get to the tank area. 

The excavation and dirt stockpile and equipment movement area is larger than you think, so leave plenty of room. 

Preserve Your Landscape

If you have important bushes, shrubs, small trees, or other precious landscaping over top of the tank area that you want to save, plan on having your landscaper remove those items prior to our arrival and put them back once the job is complete. Remember to leave more room than you think. 

GreenTRAX can remove and put back some small bushes or plants, however we cannot guarantee survivability. 

Think About Your Irrigation System 

If you have an irrigation (sprinkler) system that could be an issue with this work, consider how you’ll handle it. If any of the sprinkler heads, low voltage wires, or irrigation lines run over top of the tank in the excavation area and they do NOT get marked by Miss Utility, they will likely get cut in order for us to remove the tank. 

Therefore you should either have the irrigation company cut and disconnect pipes and wires in that area before we arrive or plan to have them come back and make repairs after the work is complete. 

Keep The Parking Area Open

The most important thing is to make sure the parking area is open. To perform this work, we require several trucks and trailers including a large dump truck and trailer that delivers equipment, will haul tanks away, and bring backfill dirt to the site. 

Therefore we require plenty of parking in the driveway and directly in front of the house. If your neighbors usually park in front of your property please ask them ahead of time to leave that space open the day of work. 

Don’t Overschedule The Day

Though you may take the day off to supervise and do other things around the house while we remove the tank, this is NOT the time to cram all that in with other contractors. 

Because the tank removal and new tank installation (if you are having a new aboveground tank installed that day) take up a lot of space, it is much easier for us to work without having to navigate other contractors’ crews and vehicles. 

More than our own comfort, it is a real safety issue, too. We do not want other people walking and working on the property when we have equipment swinging around.

We ask that you only have the GreenTRAX team on site for the day. That includes some regularly scheduled services, like landscaping and lawn cutting. If they are scheduled for the same day, it would be better to have them come either the day before or after. 

Besides, when we are finished, their mowing pattern will need to change to adjust around the newly placed grass seed and straw placed over the disturbed portion of the lawn. As a note, you will want to have them not cut that section of lawn for a few weeks. 

The Day Of The Underground Oil Tank Removal

When the work begins, expect a small rubber track mini-excavator to dig to the top and next to the tank. That dirt will then be placed next to the hole. 

We will perform the work required for cleaning and tank removal. The machine used for cleaning the tank also needs to be as close as possible to the tank.

From there, we will need to load the old tank onto the dump truck for proper removal and disposal. 

We also have to dump the clean backfill dirt as close as possible to the work area, so potentially in the driveway, front yard, side yard or in the street. 

Then another rubber-tracked machine will scoop up that backfill dirt and place it into the excavation.  

If Your Underground Oil Tank Is Leaking

If we find out during this process that your underground oil tank is leaking, expect additional disturbance in the yard as now we have to dig out additional dirt that’s been contaminated. We’ll stockpile that on plastic on-site, then cover the pile up when done with another layer of plastic. 

The dirt will remain onsite until we have the test results back from the lab and can schedule a disposal facility for us to come back and load up the dirt and we will haul it away. This process takes about 2 weeks. 

However, we will backfill the hole in your yard the same day. Our dump truck will be able to go to a materials pickup site and get clean backfill dirt.

How Long An Underground Oil Tank Removal Usually Takes

While all of that sounds complicated, it isn’t too bad. Keep in mind we are describing every possibility here. If the tank is clean and not leaking, we can be completed with the work in as little as two hours. 

Even if the tank is leaking it can sometimes only take four to five hours to complete the job. However, you should plan on being home all day. We do prefer if someone is home while we are working on the property. 

Scheduling Your Underground Oil Tank Removal

Removing an underground oil tank can seem daunting, but with GreenTRAX, the best tank removal contractor in Maryland, the process can be a breeze. We’ll take care of the permits, scheduling, and excavation.

Trust in GreenTRAX for a hassle-free experience. Contact us today at 410-439-1085 to learn more about our underground tank removal services.

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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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