The Environmental Risks of Abandoned Oil Tanks

In the past, oil tanks were a common source of fuel to heat residential homes. Now, modern construction typically outfits properties with utility hookups that use fuel oil through the grid instead. But many properties are still out there with old, abandoned oil tanks. When these tanks are no longer in use, it’s essential to prioritize oil tank removal.

Regardless of whether an oil tank is abandoned or still in use, a buried tank can be potentially hazardous. These old, buried oil tanks can cause many environmental issues. If something goes wrong, you are responsible for cleaning the soil and mitigating the environmental damage.

Is an Abandoned Oil Tank Dangerous?

Some of the environmental issues from oil tanks are visible, while others won’t readily be noticed. As you learn more about these dangerous factors due to oil contamination, it’s easy to see why oil tank removal is an important investment for your real estate property. 

When an oil tank leaks, the soil around the abandoned tank is hazardous. An average cleanup can run around $8,000, but depending on the circumstances these costs can be upwards of $100,000 or more because of the work required to clean up the hazardous spill. So, as a homeowner, it’s to know whether you have an oil tank in the yard, as well as the condition of the tank. A proactive approach is to invest in oil tank removal services so you don’t have a more expensive cleanup on your hands down the road.

Four Environmental Risks of Abandoned Oil Tanks

Many risks can occur if an oil tank is not properly decommissioned. These environmental risks affect you and your family, and the issues can seep into the soil and impact others in the community. Oil tank removal can help you avoid these common environmental risks of abandoned oil tanks.

Here are some of the ways an old oil tank could be causing hazardous issues in your yard.

1.) Contaminated Drinking Water

The first health hazard to consider is the way the tank is affecting the drinking water underneath. This issue is especially applicable to homeowners who use well water in their homes. Most oil tanks were installed before regulations were put into place, which means it’s possible that the tank was installed too close to the well. 

Once the tank begins to leak, it can affect both soil and groundwater. These contamination issues are rarely easy to clean up, which is why problematic tanks must be removed as early as possible. 

2.) Oil Leaching into the Soil

An oil tank leak will affect the soil around the tank. Initially, it’s just the nearby soil, but the oil can continue to move and contaminate other areas. If you have an underground heating oil tank, testing is important to determine if soil contamination has occurred. This information will help you know the extent of the problem that needs to be remedied.

Additionally, it’s important to consider where the oil tank is located. Because the location of the tank will influence the steps that must be followed for soil remediation. Not only do you need to pay for oil tank removal, but the soil that has been affected also needs to be cleaned.

3.) Danger to Wildlife and Plant Life

Another problem with groundwater contamination is that the hazardous materials from the oil tank can cause issues for wildlife and plant life. For example, you might notice that plants and trees in the area are starting to die. Wildlife could be drinking contaminated water or even eating plants that have been contaminated.

Anytime you purchase a property, pay attention to the plants and wildlife in the area because these factors can indicate if there are hazardous conditions. Also, never buy a property without completing soil testing. If you skip the soil testing and later find a problem that requires oil tank removal and soil cleanup, you will hold 100% of the responsibility for these costs.

4.) Leaks Into Your Basement

Even though most environmental concerns are related to underground tanks, in-home tanks can also cause problems because of leaking oil. There will be oil on the floor, and the vapor can move throughout your house. Leaking oil inside is a fire hazard for your family. Also, these basement leaks can eventually contaminate the soil and groundwater near the home’s foundation.

One type of leak into your basement you may experience is a vapor leak. Vapor leaks can be a serious health threat, which is why it’s essential to invest in oil tank removal without delay. If there is an oil leak in or near your home, then it could result in your family breathing this vapor on an ongoing basis, which can have a negative impact on your health. When testing for oil vapor, also ask about testing for natural gas and other related issues.

Consult Mikula Contracting for Oil Tank Removal Services in New Jersey

While simply having an underground oil tank does not mean something will go wrong, it is always a possibility.  If you have an oil tank that is not in use, having Mikula Contracting do a tank scan and provide a quote for removal is a good start at preventing the possibility of an issue with the tank in the future.

Reach out to our team for more information about available services.

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