Underground storage tanks and all associated pipe connectors that have been out of service for one year require action to reduce the risk of leaking flammable or combustible liquids into the surrounding soil.
Property owners must take remedial measures to retrofit the tanks by either removal, or neutralizing the tanks for contamination if removal is not feasible.
The City of Vancouver website has some excellent information regarding the removal or abandonment of underground storage tanks (UST’s), including approximate costs. If there is contamination of soil, then the cost can run into tens of thousands of dollars and even more.
If you are considering buying a home, check with the City as they may have records for UST removal, abandonment, and installations at that property. To check, phone 3-1-1.
Unfortunately, not all tank removals have been recorded with the City. In some instances oil tanks have been removed without following the correct procedures.
Signs of underground oil storage tanks
Usually tanks are found approximately 6 to 16 feet away from the house and the soil is about 3 to 4 feet deep to the top of the tank. Typically if there is lane access, the tank will be at the back of the house, and quite often they are found under additions, porches and patios. The most popular sizes are 1600 litre (36’’ x 8’) and 2800 litre (45” X 9’), and are cylindrical in shape, laying on the side. Evidence of a tank won’t be noticed through smell or poor vegetation growth, as soil contamination doesn’t begin until 4-5 feet under the surface.
Here’s what to look for:
- a metal pipe cap close to the front or back yard (filler pipe)
- a filler pipe sticking out of the ground (might be capped)
- a vent pipe at the side of the house (might be capped)
Hire a contractor to investigate
If you are uncertain whether a tank exists, then do not hesitate to contact a contractor to investigate. The longer you leave a buried tank, the greater the risk of corrosion and soil contamination. A contractor will conduct a comprehensive scan for a tank with a metal detector, and if there are inaccessible areas they should suggest further investigation using other methods.
Here are some of the oil tank investigation / removal contractors I am most familiar with:
- Action Oil Tanks Ltd
- North Shore Oil Tank Recovery
- TANKTECH Environmental Services Ltd
- Tri-City Tank Tech Ltd
You can also search online for “oil tank removal vancouver”. As always, ask your friends and family, and read reviews.
I will be happy to help if you need more information. Please get in touch.