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What To Do With Out-Of-Use Oil Tanks In Maryland

Do you have an out-of-use heating oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, or kerosene tank at your house, farm, or business?

If so, listen up – this is for you:

The tank absolutely, 100% cannot stay where it is and just be forgotten about

Why is that, you say?

  1. The tank can and will start leaking at some point
  2. The Maryland Department of the Environment requires that any tank no longer in use be removed, or for underground tanks can also be legally abandoned in place (if the soil below tank is clean and the work is performed by an MDE-licensed person)
  3. Your insurance company can require the tank be removed before they renew your insurance coverage
  4. Your bank can require that the tank be properly dealt with if you are buying or refinancing a property
  5. If you try to sell the property the tank will have to be taken care of at that point
  6. It is always much cheaper to deal with the tank legally and properly BEFORE it starts to leak

We here at GreenTrax, Inc have seen it all when it comes to heating oil tanks. If you are in need of a tank removal, a tank replacement, or a new tank installation, give us a call at (410) 439-1085.

What To Know About Out-Of-Use Aboveground Tanks

Many people will purchase a property or home only to find out they need to have the heating oil tank removed because it wasn’t hooked up to the heating system. 

You should never do this.

If the tank is no longer hooked up to a heating system and actively being used, then it is 100% the SELLER’S responsibility to have this tank removed before you buy the property.

It is against code to leave the tank there, so the seller should be the one to deal with it, not you, as you only just bought the property.

Tanks corrode and degrade from the inside out, so the average person cannot tell just by looking if the integrity of the tank is still good. Without proper advice, you will never know the tank is bad until it starts to leak. 

Most old aboveground tanks at residential properties are the basic variety of 275-gallon tanks that are either located in the basement or outside. 

The life of these tanks is about 20 years. So if your tank is 30, 40, or 50 years old, you are living on borrowed time. 


What’s more, because no one is looking at their tank daily, especially if it’s outside, you won’t know it’s leaking until you smell oil or vegetation starts to die. By then it’s too late. 

We have seen many tanks that have a small drip but the leak persists over a long period. By the time we get a call to deal with it, the customer has already cost themselves several thousand dollars or more for a cleanup and remediation project. And that’s in addition to the cost of the tank removal and or replacement. 

What To Know About Out-Of-Use Underground Tanks

Do you have a buried heating oil tank (also known as a UST) on your property? Do you know someone, maybe a friend or family member, who does? 


The time has come (well, a long time ago!) to have this UST removed or abandoned in place.  

These tanks only last 20 years, and unless you, the home seller, or relative, have actual proof including pictures, warranties, invoices, etc., that the tank was installed less than 20 years ago, then I can guarantee the tank is older than 20 years! Period. Full stop. 

If someone tells you the tank was “properly” removed or “properly” filled in place, but they don’t have any documentation, that’s a red flag. They may not be outright lying to you, but they may just not truly know, or they may be misremembering something. 

Or perhaps the oil company or “contractor” told them it was taken care of properly? Folks, I have been doing this long enough to tell you that 99.8% of the jobs we get involved in where someone said the tank was filled in properly…

Well, it wasn’t. Not only that, when we do remove the tank, there is usually oil still in it, and the tank is usually leaking. 

The oil tank business may be more of a “niche” industry in Maryland, so unless you are talking to the MDE, to GreenTrax, or to another reputable tank removal company, do not believe everything you hear. 

Even the oil delivery company, plumber, and HVAC contractors are not that well-versed in the laws, rules, and codes regarding oil tanks. Because of that, it’s very easy to get bad information from a 3rd party. 

Many people think just because the heating oil company fills your tank they can advise you properly about the tank. 

Unfortunately, that is not always the case because many of the oil delivery companies do not employ an MDE-licensed tank remover on staff. Furthermore, if they do not deal with removals and installations every day, they can not give you good information about buried tanks. 

Absolute Do Not Do This When You’re Thinking About Removing Your Tank

Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT do the following:

  1. Dump sand or gravel into the fill pipe of the tank
  2. Build a home addition on top of the UST
  3. Build a shed or garage over top of the buried tank
  4. Cut the fill pipe off the tank
  5. Fill it with foam
  6. Fill tank with water
  7. Dig the tank up yourself and cut a hole in it
  8. Let someone tell you it’s ok to forget about the tank and leave it in place
  9. Believe someone when they tell you if the tank leaks it will cost $50,000, $100,000 or more to clean up the job (for tanks at people’s houses it never costs that much for a basic cleanup job)
  10. Install a new gas line, electric line, patio or other utility over top the tank area

Instead, you should work with professionals to handle this delicate situation for you. At GreenTrax, we are here to help you through the process and answer all of your questions. 

In most cases, we can provide a proposal to you the same day. Call us now to let us help you. 

When you call GreenTrax, Inc. you call the best tank company in Maryland. We’re available at (410) 439-1085.

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