Underground Oil Tank Service

When Should You Be Concerned With An Underground Storage Tank?

It's true. A steel Underground Storage Tank (UST) will eventually corrode and leak. If you encounter a UST that is over 15 years old there is a good chance that substantial corrosion has taken place. Corrosion of USTs cause over half of the leaks and spills encountered from USTs (refer to Sterling's March 1999 Newsletter for more information). Today's tanks normally come with 20 or 30 year warranties. So if you have a tank older then 25-30 years it should be replaced or tested on a periodic basis. Your oil tank is like any appliance or fixture in your home or business, it needs maintenance and eventually replacement. Just because the tank is out of site does not mean that it should be out of mind.

The above figures for a tank's life expectancy are guidelines. We have encountered tanks 50 years old that were not leaking and tanks that were 10 years old that were leaking! The life expectancy of a tank depends on several inter-related factors. In general, however, the construction of the tank (how thick it is and how well it was put together), the soil conditions, and how the tank was installed will determine the longevity of the tank.

As most people are aware of by now USTs can cause difficulty when dealing with a real estate transaction. These days buyers are increasingly concerned with the potential environmental liabilities that are involved with USTs. In most instances mortgage companies will not issue a mortgage and insurance companies will not issue a home owners policy until the tank is either properly decommissioned and/or tested. So if you have a property that has a UST you can expect to deal with the issue eventually. It is better to deal with this issue on your own terms, before the pressure of a real estate transaction is added to the equation.

An UST should also be properly taken care of if you are no longer using the tank, converting to gas or converting to an above ground oil tank.

Finally, make sure that the person you hire to work on your oil tank is licensed by the NJDEP, has experience, and has satisfied customers. We only use those who are licensed by the NJDEP for testing, removal, installation, as a corrosion specialist, and as a subsurface evaluator (all of the classifications for which licenses are available).

Residential Tank Scans

If heating oil is stored in an aboveground tank it will be easy to find. However if the home has an underground tank it may be more difficult. All active tanks have a fill pipe where the oil is delivered into the tank and a vent pipe that allows the tank to breath. To find where the underground tank is buried look for the fill and vent pipe. The fill pipe is usually located directly above the buried tank. The fill pipe can be opened and a dip stick can be put down into the tank to check the level of oil. Vent pipes are usually attached to the siding of the home within 10 feet of the buried tank. If you can find the vent pipe then the fill pipe should be nearby. If you can't find the buried tank give us a call. Our experienced DEQ licensed heating oil tank supervisors will be able to find it.

Many home buyers are having tank searches conducted even when there is no evidence that the home has used heating oil. This is done during the pre-purchase inspection period and has become a standard component of the inspection process. Doing this inspection will reduce a new homeowner's future liability by eliminating the possibility of an undisclosed tank.

A tank scan includes a search of available state and local records related to underground heating oil storage tanks such as DEQ databases and municipal permit records. Also included is a thorough onsite scan of the property using state-of-the-art subsurface locating equipment. Unlike other tank contractors, we certify our tank scan results and provide detailed documentation.

There are several things you can look for in or around a home to try to determine if there is an abandoned underground tank. Take a look around the outside of the home and look for a fill cap or vent pipe. If you find these then there is a tank that has been abandoned and has not been decommissioned. Take a look in the basement and look for copper lines coming through the basement floor or wall or concrete line patches in the basement floor. The presence of cooper lines or concrete patches could indicate that the home was heated with oil in the past. If there are any signs that the home was heated with oil a thorough underground tank search should be conducted to determine the tank location. Once the location is found we can determine if the tank was decommissioned properly. State of the art locating equipment is used to search and locate buried tanks.

Residential Tank Testing Using EZY 3 Locator Plus Non Volumetric Tank Tightness Tester

PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION

The EZY 3 Locator Plus is an ultrasonic/acoustic probe based system. All volumetric and mass measurement technology must deal with a variety of variables that do not affect our non-volumetric ultrasonic/acoustic system. The tank probes will detect any leaks or change of the static level in the tank to determine the integrity of the tank. The EZY 3 Locator Plus is capable of detecting intrusion in the liquid portion of the tank, intrusion in the area of the tank not containing liquid and intrusion into the entire tank system. Tanks are not required to have specific levels of oil, so even empty tanks can be tested. The EZY 3 Locator Plus will not damage the tank or heating system. This is not a pressure test.
After a stabilization period, the ultrasonic/acoustic probe, which is set in the tank at an elevation above the liquid level, monitors the tank for indications of loss of liquid and/or a breach of integrity above the liquid level.

For the customer's convenience, test results are available immediately after testing with a written report being issued the same day.

EZY 3 LOCATOR PLUS

  • Does not require the tank to be completely filled, yet tests the entire tank system.

  • Does not require a temperature stabilization period.

  • Produces test results in one hour.

  • Saves time and money.

EMPIRE INSPECTION ADVANTAGE

  • Vacuum based non-volumetric precision testing - EPA third party certified.

  • All testing is performed by one technician that has over 15 years experience on testing tanks of all sizes and containing many different petroleum products.

  • Test techinician are certified in New Jersey.

  • Test technicians are certified by the equipment manufacturer and retested periodically to the standards of the National Leak Detection Work Group.