What is the Process of Scanning for an Oil Tank?

If you own an older property in the Northeast, are there any underground heating tanks in the area? A typical home inspection doesn’t look for these tanks, so it might make sense to look into oil tank scans to locate any hidden tanks on the property. 

It’s important to know if you have an underground oil tank because an oil leak can result in serious financial and health consequences in the future. So, you can take a proactive approach to prevent these issues from occurring.

Too often, forgotten oil tanks are left sitting for years, unused after the home was upgraded to a more modern HVAC system. Sometimes, homeowners and home buyers have no idea that they have a buried tank on their property. Oil tank scans are an effective solution for finding these old tanks and helping you avoid serious and expensive issues later on.

Choosing the Type of Scanning Technology 

If you have a magnetometer, is it an effective solution for finding an oil tank on site? Unfortunately, this method is not good enough because magnetometers can detect any type of metal but can’t identify the difference between the two signatures. 

For example, if you have concrete that contains wire mesh and a tank buried below, there is no way to distinguish the difference between the mesh and the tank. So, a thorough oil tank scan determines whether there are storage tanks and if proactive measures are necessary to remove the tank.

Ideally, hire a contractor offering oil tank scans who uses multiple detection methods. Here is an overview of the common technology used for oil tank scans.

Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR)

This technology uses radar that sends high-frequency radio waves into the ground. The information that comes back provides a great deal of data in a short amount of time. Not only can GPR be useful in identifying subsurface objects, but it’s also possible to identify changes in the material properties (such as cracks or gaps).

Ultrasonic Testing

Ultrasonic testing is beneficial for oil tank scans because it offers unique information about the thickness of the steel. This information helps you determine whether corrosion is occurring so you can decide if the risk of an oil spill is so great that the tank needs to be removed. Typically, corrosion occurs from the inside-out, which means it’s possible to use ultrasonic testing to identify issues before the oil spill occurs.

Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL)

MFL is a common technology used for oil tanks and other applications in the petrochemical industry. This magnetic method detects wall loss, pitting, and corrosion in steel structures. So, it’s possible to determine the structure and integrity of an underground oil tank without digging everything up.

Preparing to Do the Scan

Not only can homeowners benefit from oil tank scans, but these services are also helpful for home buyers who are preparing for a real estate purchase. A visual inspection isn’t enough, because you can’t get eyes on any oil tanks or hidden objects underground. Hiring an expert team is an essential step that should be part of your due diligence during the inspection process.

Collect the Data

The contractor will do a bit of research before completing the oil tank scans. For example, they will look at the date of construction to determine if there is a possibility of the oil tank being on the property. 

Data is collected through visual inspection and using the different types of technology listed above. These tools provide data about where the oil tank is located, as well as any other buried objects that are on the property (such as fill pipes, vent pipes, and more).

Analyze the Data

After the oil tank sweep is done, it’s time to look at the data to determine whether the tank needs to be removed. The data is reviewed to determine whether there is a risk of an oil leak. It does so by showing us whether the tank has weak points or areas where the oil might already be leaking. 

Make a Decision

If it’s determined through oil tank scans that your tank is leaking oil, then it’s important that you take action as soon as possible. Learn about the environmental and health impacts of an oil tank leak, and you’ll see why you don’t want to delay tank removal. These issues can pose serious threats to your property and loved ones. Even though it is a cost to remove the oil tank, it’s worth the investment to avoid even bigger issues in the future.

Do You Need an Oil Tank Scan on Your New Jersey Property?

Are you wondering if you have an oil tank on your property? Or, maybe you know there is a buried oil tank, and you want to make sure that it isn’t leaking. If you need oil tank scans, then Mikula Contracting is here to help. We offer full-service solutions for residential and commercial properties. Call today for a consultation and estimate.

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