Heating Oil Storage Tanks in Baltimore County
Did you know that many neighborhoods of Baltimore County, MD still heating their home with heating oil? That requires a tank to hold the heating oil. Unlike natural gas, there are no distributions from a central facility via pipes to deliver home heating fuel to residential properties. Either an underground tank or an aboveground tank is necessary to hold the oil. Depending on the age or condition, some oil tanks in Baltimore County you may need to remove it before the sale or purchase of the home.
About Baltimore County
In 1659 Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore; founded the county and named it after himself. Baltimore is also a town in Cork County, Ireland – the Baron’s namesake.
Baltimore County Quick Facts
- Current population (estimated): 827,370
- Land Area: 598 sq miles
- Median Household income: $ 76,866
- Number of Households: 313,519
- Largest Community: Dundalk
Some Oil Tank Terminology
First let’s clear up one thing, the term “heating oil” is interchangeable with “heating fuel”. These are the same thing as diesel fuel that you can get at the filling station. The difference is that there is no highway tax on heating oil, so you can use diesel fuel in your home heating oil tank with no problem. Heating oil has a red tint to it, as opposed to diesel fuel, which is clear or yellow. So when you hear people say heating oil, no its not really “oil” per se. At least, it’s not “oil” in the sense like you would change the oil in your car. It’s just called heating oil, but heating fuel is a more accurate term.
Heating Oil Tank Regulations in Baltimore County
Baltimore County is unique in Maryland in that they have their own underground residential heating oil tank department: The Department of Groundwater Management. They require an inspection and a permit for the removal of underground storage tanks at residential properties. So when an underground tank (UST) needs removed, we first get a permit, then schedule the inspector to come to the job on the day of the work. Once the inspector, along with us, will determine if the soil below the tank is contaminated or not. The inspector will also provide a report of his findings.
Get your oil Tank Removed the Right Way
One VERY IMPORTANT thing is that in order to remove ANY underground oil, fuel, or gas tank in Maryland you have to be a licensed tank removal contractor. The license comes from the MDE – Maryland Dept. of the Environment. Do not just hire a plumber, HVAC company, or a guy with a backhoe to remove the tank, it WILL come back to bite you. Most plumbers and HVAC companies do NOT have licenses for tank removal.
The basic process for a tank removal in a nutshell is, dig up to top of tank, cut it open, clean the tank and pump it out, remove from ground, inspect for holes and check the soil onsite with a meter, take soil samples and backfill the hole with clean fill dirt.
Collectively we have removed, over our many years, thousands of buried heating oil tanks in Baltimore county. We are residential tank removal specialists. We also install many, many new aboveground heating oil tanks. This does NOT require a permit or inspection from the county.
Common Sizes of Oil Tanks in Baltimore County
There are many sizes of buried oil tanks, 275 gallon, 290 gallon, 300 gallon, 550 gallon and 1000 gallon. However, a very common size of oil tanks in Baltimore county is 550 and 1000 gallon.
One thing to keep in mind is just because you have a large UST does NOT mean you need a large aboveground tank installed as well. The oil delivery company does not charge more money to deliver oil more frequently. Which is all that will happen if you get a smaller tank installed aboveground, the oil gets delivered more frequently. So unless you are in an area that is impossible to get an oil delivery in the snow, or you go thru a lot of oil quickly then you probably do not need a tank larger than a 275 gallon aboveground, as this is the standard size aboveground tank installed in MD. And it has been for the last 25+ years.
Most people do not install a new underground tank when they remove the old one, so if someone tells you the UST is 20 years old or less, do not believe it unless they have proof. Most commonly the UST is just as old as the house and was put in when the house was built. The average life of any tank is 20 years, so if the UST is over 20 years it is time to remove and replace the tank. DO not waste your money on a tank test or soil test on an old UST, just remove and replace the tank.
Buying and Selling a House with an Oil Tank in Baltimore County
If you are thinking of selling your home, you will have to remove the UST and replace it with a new heat source or a new aboveground tank. Do not wait until the last minute, as soon you think about selling get this work done.
If you are buying a house with a UST, you should INSIST that this be removed by the seller prior to going to settlement.
You do not want to have to pay for a leak and soil cleanup from a tank you did not use but for 5 minutes. Also many home insurance companies and certain banks/mortgage companies today will NOT let a buyer go to settlement with an underground tank in place. So its best for all parties involved to get this done before it becomes an issue.
Please call us with questions, we are here to help.
GreenTRAX, Inc. 410-439-1085