When to Remove Underground Fuel Tanks That Aren’t in Use

If you have an unused underground storage tank on your property, you should consider removing it as soon as possible. Despite being unused, they hold the potential for leaks and environmental hazards and the presence of the tank might even reduce the value of your property.

It’s critical to remove or decommission these tanks properly. A storage tank is rarely ever fully emptied, meaning residual fuel can pose inherent dangers and have significant environmental effects.

In this article, we’ll discuss the risks associated with remaining storage tanks, signs that indicate it’s time for removal or decommission, and guidelines to doing so safely.

Common Risks Associated with Tanks
As mentioned, underground storage tanks are a major environmental danger and health risk due to the high potential for leaks. Properties can be contaminated quickly, causing the following issues:

  • Contaminated soil
  • Contaminated surface, ground, and drinking water
  • Indoor and outdoor air pollution

Even if these issues haven’t occurred yet, the removal process can also hold potential risks for danger. So, how do you know when to remove the tank?

Signs It’s Time to Remove a Tank

Sometimes it can take years to recognize a leaking storage tank, so it’s critical to know what signs to look for. If you see any of the following signs, contact us right away for advice and to organise to get your tanks tested.

  • Drinking water develops a strange taste, color, or odor
  • The soil in the area is darker than surrounding areas
  • There’s dying vegetation around the tank
  • You smell odors coming from the ground
  • There’s water in the fuel lines
  • The area around the fill pipe is stained

Above all else, all petrol station owners should be regularly monitoring their fuel stock by using SIRA.

Guidelines to Proper Removal

When you are looking to remove your underground storage tank, there are certain guidelines to follow to do so safely while following legal regulations.

  1. Notify State and Local Governments: Depending on your region, there are laws on when the government should be notified about the removal, and how the process should be conducted.
  2. Find a licensed contractor: A contractor can assist in making sure the removal is following procedure and all requirements are met, including required permits.
  3. Inert the tank: When oxygen is displaced with another non-explosive gas, it decreases the risk of explosion.
  4. Excavate the soil: Safely remove all top and surrounding soil.
  5. Prepare for disposal: The tank may still hold safety hazards if it is disposed of as-is. It should be thoroughly cleaned of any residual product or accumulated build-up.
  6. Dispose of contaminated soil: The soil surrounding the tank may have been exposed to hazardous materials from the corrosion or leakage of the storage tank and should be collected separately.
  7. Follow Sampling Protocol: Local protocol may require you to collect samples of the surrounding soil to be analyzed.
  8. Complete a Closure Report – Document all steps taken to dispose of the storage tank.

Communicating with the right people from contractors to municipalities allows for a smooth and rapid removal process. If you have any questions on how to safely remove underground fuel storage tanks get in touch with us for a confidential consultation.