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You Asked, We Answered: FAQs About Handling Your Out-Of-Use Heating Oil Tanks

Out-Of-Use Heating Oil Tanks

Not sure what to do with that out-of-use heating oil tank? We got you covered. These tanks can be a real headache, but luckily, dealing with them is what we do best at GreenTRAX. 

With over 25 years of experience under our belts, we’re the go-to folks for safely handling these tanks in Maryland. In that time, we’ve dealt with a lot of situations that you all have questions about, from pumping out the old oil, cutting up and removing the tank, to cleaning up any mess. 

To help you make more sense of what to do with your out-of-use heating oil tank, we’ve gathered up some of the most commonly asked questions below. 

  1. What to do with an out-of-use heating oil tank?

Do NOT ignore it. Have it removed by a professional tank removal company

  1. I have an abandoned oil tank. How can I get it dealt with?

Call GreenTRAX, Inc. When you say abandoned, we assume you really mean “I just stopped using it and left it in place,” not actually “properly abandoned.” 

Don’t worry, we will handle that for you. (FYI – This pertains to buried oil tanks, not aboveground tanks. That’s a different story.)

  1. I have an outside oil tank I no longer use. What can be done?

You cannot just leave it there forever. Have it pumped out AND removed. 

  1. There’s a fuel tank in my basement that’s not in use. How do I have it properly dealt with?

GreenTRAX, Inc will pump out the tank for you, properly dispose of the oil, remove the tank from the basement, and cut the tank into pieces (if need be) to remove it. 

We will also remove the copper oil lines and the fill and vent pipes from the wall, then put cement in the holes. The tank will be properly cleaned out and disposed of.

  1. I think there is a tank buried in my yard. What should I do?

Call our office so we can help you assess if this is an oil tank. We can also save you loads of time, if you text us pics right away of what you see. 

99% of the time we can determine if it’s a buried oil tank just by seeing pics of the area, then we can send you a proposal the same day.

  1. I have an oil tank in my crawlspace. Can we just fill it with sand?

NO. Definitely not. If the tank is aboveground, it MUST be removed. We can pump it out and cut it up if needed, but you cannot fill aboveground tanks with sand and slurry or foam. 

  1. There is a heating fuel tank in my garage I no longer want. Can you remove it?

Yes, of course. GreenTRAX, Inc. removes hundreds of tanks each year. We will handle this entire process for you for a reasonable cost and handle it quickly. 

  1. I have a leaking oil tank in my basement. Will it explode?

NO. Don’t panic. Oil does not work like gasoline. It will not catch fire or explode. It can easily be cleaned up. 

If you want to do something yourself immediately, put a pan or bucket under the tank to catch the oil. You can put towels or old rags down to soak up any oil, then throw them in the trash. Do not try to wash them. 

The best thing would be to use cat litter to soak up the oil. If you don’t have cats, you can buy cat litter from a lot of places, like convenience stores and hardware stores. The next best thing would be to use sand just to have something to soak it up. 

  1. I have a buried gasoline tank in my yard. Can GreenTRAX, Inc. remove it?

Yes, of course. Any underground gasoline tank is between 40 – 50 years old because people sometimes put gas tanks in the ground during the 1970’s. (Unless this is a farm property, then it could have been anytime.)

The lifespan of a tank is 20 years. When a gasoline tank leaks, the gas can travel underground farther and faster than heating oil. That means if you or your neighbors have drinking (potable) wells, there is an increased risk of contamination. 

  1. I have an underground tank I think is leaking. What should I do?

Call GreenTRAX, Inc. We are residential heating oil tank removal specialists. 

We have been in the tank industry for over 25 years and will deal with this entire process for youm including testing the soil for contamination and providing a proper report when it’s completed. 

  1. Will my buried oil tank, if it leaks, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cleanup?

No, absolutely NOT! In Maryland, we have never had a residential leaking buried oil tank remediation and cleanup cost anywhere close to a hundred thousand dollars. 

  1. I have a tank buried under the cement slab of my sunroom (or porch). Can we fill it with foam?

NO. In Maryland it is NOT legal to fill any buried tank through the fill pipe. The tank MUST be cleaned out. Period. 

The only way to do that is to cut a small section of concrete to allow us to get to the top of the tank, clean it out, then get in the tank to cut a hole in the bottom and check the soil below the tank. 

  1. A house addition was built over top of the oil tank in the ground. Can we fill it with slurry?

No. Well, maybe, but only AFTER the tank is cleaned out per the answer to the previous question above. 

After the tank is cleaned out and soil tested, we can fill it with sand, gravel, or concrete slurry. Filling a tank with flowable fill concrete is the most expensive way to deal with an underground tank, as it usually also requires a pump truck and hoses to fill the tank with concrete. 

Sometimes that’s the way it has to be done, but it adds significant cost. The important thing to know is that even if the tank is under your dining room hardwood floor (for example), we will still have to jackhammer up a small area of concrete. 

If you have carpet, tile, or hardwood floor over the top of the concrete, that will need to be removed by your flooring contractor before we start work. 

Again, in Maryland you CANNOT leave the tank as-is forever. Any oil tank no longer in use has to be properly removed or filled in place within 180 days (6 months) of the tank being taken out of service. 

  1. I have a 275-gallon oil tank in my backyard that I don’t use. Can I call a scrap guy to pick it up?

NO! Not unless you want them to suck out the oil from the tank with a shop vac, and leave all the oil sitting in your backyard in 5-gallon buckets or trash cans. 

We have seen this happen to many customers. Someone does this, then takes the tank and spills a bunch of oil in the yard and the homeowner is left to spend potentially thousands of dollars to clean up the soil. 

Folks, a single oil tank is basically worthless for scrap. It’s not worth the time and risk to deal with all the potential problems. 

Let GreenTRAX Help Handle Your Out-of-Use Heating Oil Tanks

If you still have questions we have not answered for you here, call us at the office to discuss at (410) 439-1085 or send us a message here through our site.

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