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Old 07-03-2016, 07:13 AM
55 posts, read 22,741 times
Reputation: 26


So we have owned our Bergen County home since 2005 and never worried about our buried underground heating oil tank, the age of which I do not know. Only last week did someone say something to me about the perils of underground oil tanks, and now I am freaking out. Does anyone have any calm advice about this? I have been reading horror stories on the internet for a few days now. The funny thing is that most of my neighbors also have buried oil tanks and no one seems worried about them. My tank protection plan does not allow me to pull the tank up without suspecting a leak until October. I am overwhelmed by what I read online about problems with leaks and am now terrified of making a wrong move. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:27 AM
134 posts, read 59,940 times
Reputation: 17
Why buried? It is an old and dead one ? You need to remove it asap.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:36 AM
55 posts, read 22,741 times
Reputation: 26
No, it is an active tank that we use. We did not bury it. Previous owner did, but we have no idea when. We plan to replace it with an above ground tank, but apparently have to wait until October.

Last edited by Mushymama; 07-03-2016 at 08:26 AM..
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:04 AM
Location: Pennsylvania & New Jersey
1,418 posts, read 3,065,524 times
Reputation: 1439
Default Instead of freaking out, take a reasoned approach.

If you're truly "terrified" of making the wrong move, you've got a bigger problem than an underground oil tank. First off... RELAX!

Yeah, like thousands of other NJ homeowners, maybe you have an oil tank issue that you need to deal with, but the sky ain't falling! You are overreacting.

It is COMMON for older homes to have underground oil tanks that are still in use. Yes, prudence dictates that you install a new above-ground tank (or indoor — like in the basement or garage) and have the underground tank professionally removed. The cost of this should be between five and ten grand, depending on the size of the tank and its accessibility.

That said, there is the possibility that your tank leaked. Most tanks that get pulled have not leaked. (And in all likelihood, if it's still in use, it's not leaking!) Yes, if it leaked, you've got an environmental clean up problem. Yes, a handful of these turn into major disasters. But the probability is that you'll have an ordinary hassle-free replacement with no environmental problems.

As for waiting until October, I've no idea why you'd wait. I'd want to get it done now, before heating season kicks in.

Regardless, step #1 is CALM DOWN! Take a reasoned approach and you'll get this resolved.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:12 PM
55 posts, read 22,741 times
Reputation: 26
Lol... I hope I am overreacting! We have no choice but to wait until October to pull the tank because it will be "voluntary pull" and we are not covered for any leaks if discovered in a voluntary pull until October 1 or 2. Thanks for your input, though. I appreciate hearing that most in use tanks are not leaking.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:19 AM
498 posts, read 222,448 times
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is there natural gas available where you live? if so you can always replace furnace with a natural gas furnace,
I did after I bought my house, my oil tank was in basement so I knew it was not leaking but it was old,
natural gas is much cleaner, you will never run out, and you only pay as you are using it, also I was able
to remove chimney when I renovated(it was full of soot) , new furnace did not need a chimney since it was a "direct vent" that
exhausts to the side of house.
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:42 AM
55 posts, read 22,741 times
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When removing buried oil tank, we will not be covered for any leaks unless we install a new oil tank and continue to use oil heat for one year. After that, we could convert. Personally, I prefer natural gas, but my husband prefers oil. Natural gas is available to us. It already is how we heat our stove and clothes dryer.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:24 AM
512 posts, read 905,071 times
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It is very common for older homes to have buried oil tanks
But the key word is "older" and with every passing year, it's another year "older".

Nothing buried in the ground lasts forever., It's probably steel
Steel rusts, decays, and when it does, it leaks the oil

Your roof shingles decay in 30 years, your furnace wears out, your siding wears
Out of sight should not be out of mind.

Sooner or later, that tank will leak, no question.
Might be next year, maybe 25 years from now, left in the ground, it will leak

You can remove it and put in a up to date tank, and no worries about leaking
But there is such a bad stigma on buried oil tanks, when it's time to sell your house, it will be definitely a negative point
and no matter how much documentation you have how your present tank is fine and not leaking, or a up to date tank is state of the art, it will definitely cause a hit to the selling price of your house.

But making sure your existing tank or new tank is good and not leaking will save you so much more trouble and expense in clean-up and excavation. think leaking oil tank = toxic waste dump
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Old 07-05-2016, 11:21 AM
55 posts, read 22,741 times
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We are definitely removing it in October.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:44 AM
Location: New Jersey
7 posts, read 2,634 times
Reputation: 10
We just went through this with our underground tank. The tank is original to the house and somewhere around 40 years old. we plan to sell soon and I started hearing how important it is to future buyers that there be no underground oil tank on the property, and that it was removed according to code. I also read all the horror stories of leaking tanks and the tens of thousands of dollars for cleanup. So, until its out, you just don't know.
Our tank was located beneath a ground level deck behind our house, I removed the deck to discover that there was a 10x20 concrete patio beneath it, covering the oil tank. I rented a jack hammer one weekend and removed the concrete patio. We just had the tank removed last week and happy happy joy joy, there were no leaks. not only were there no leaks the removal guy said it still had some of the original paint on the bottom of it. I couldn't believe how thick the steel of this tank was, had to be about 3/16ths of an inch, the removal guy said there were basically two type tanks back then and the original owners must have sprung for the better one. nice.
The company we used was AST Environmental they are out of Phillipsburg NJ. They come out initially to inspect the site of the tank and locate it if necessary. They would have cut and removed the portion of patio necessary to remove the tank if we wanted them to, but I opted to get rid of the whole patio on my own. They then contact the town for the necessary permit and for the inspector to come on the day of the removal. They will also contact NJ One Call to mark out any underground utilities. They arrived around 8am the day of the removal and had the tank drained, wiped out and removed by about 930am. Then, just had to wait for the town inspector to arrive. Once inspected they filled in the hole and they were gone by noon. What a relief to have that tank out of the ground and the letter signed by the inspector stating no further action needed.
AST did fine by us, I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to have a UST removed. our cost was a little over 1k for the job and well worth it. :-)


Last edited by NJRay; 08-12-2017 at 08:59 AM..
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