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Oil Tank Insurance:
Do not be misled by fuel oil companies offering underground oil tank insurance. These supposed insurance policies are really oil tank service plans. These alleged insurance policies have a $2,500.00 deductible. They require you to use their limited staff of overpriced contractors, and they also require you to have one of their adjusters on site at a fee of $500.00. These policies also require you to stay with fuel oil for 14 months after your oil tank removal.  We strongly urge you to research any of these oil tank policies. Contact the insurance company direct and ask what the procedure is concerning these plans. The State of New Jersey offers excellent grant and reimbursement programs at little expense to the applicant.

Why should you investigate your home heating oil tank?
Without the proper oil tank closure and cleanup documentation, potential home buyers may be afraid to buy your property. Property buyers and the realtor's that represent them are becoming increasingly aware of the problems associated with buying properties that are contaminated with heating oil. An unresolved oil tank situation can complicate and slow property transactions and may devalue your property. Even if you never used a buried heating oil tank or even knew it was on site, there may still be one buried on your property for which you could be legally responsible. If the oil tank was removed at some earlier date, but the associated contamination remains, an educated buyer may not be willing to purchase your property. Potential property buyers, mortgage companies, and the State of New Jersey will require you to document that you have properly closed your oil tank and that you have cleaned up all associated contamination.

“When it comes to Underground oil tanks, it’s not a matter of IF they will leak, it’s a matter of WHEN.”
The property I am buying has a buried oil tank that was decommissioned.  The tank is filled with sand, gravel or foam and contains no oil.  The seller has provided permits and reports from the town building inspector stating that the tank was properly abandoned and decommissioned.  Is it still necessary to test the soil surrounding the tank to determine whether contamination exists?


If the seller cannot provide any written reports about soil testing, you should evaluate soil as part of your inspection. In recent months, many homeowners have discovered soil contamination exists around their buried abandoned oil tanks that their town or municipality considered properly decommissioned. These homeowners originally purchased property based strictly on the municipality or town building inspector's approval and ignored the fact that soil testing was not performed at the time the buried tank was backfilled with sand, gravel or foam. Now these homeowners are selling their homes and are providing the buyer with all the municipality's documents about the buried oil tank on the property. Since the homeowner provided no documents about the soil's condition, the buyer tests the soil and discovers high levels of contamination in the area around the buried tank. Even though the homeowner has all the supporting documentation from the municipality, the responsibility for cleaning up the contamination rests solely with the unsuspecting homeowner. Remember, cleanup costs may range anywhere from $8,000.00 to $100,000.00+. Don't let this happen to you! If there is no written report certifying the soil's condition, make sure you test the soil around any abandoned or "properly closed" oil tank before you take possession of the property.


How do I know if there was an underground oil tank on my property? What should I do?

Aboveground oil tanks and clues for the presence of buried oil tanks are not usually examined during a pre-purchase home or building inspection unless specific prior test arrangements have been made. Oil tank inspection, other than casual visual inspection for obvious leaks is not performed by such inspectors. Oil tank tests for leaks, soil tests for oil contamination, soil tests for corrosivity, screening for evidence of prior or abandoned oil storage tanks, as well as oil storage tank removal or abandonment require that you use an appropriate expert.

Home heating oil tanks are excluded from federal regulations about oil storage tank reporting and monitoring; but in almost every U.S. state, storage tanks are addressed by state or local board of health agencies and regulations. In any case, should a home heating oil tank cause a release of oil into the environment the owner of the tank is not exempt from the other provisions of the state or federal regulations. The leak needs to be reported (often within two hours of observation), the source of leak/spill would have to be stopped, a site characterization would have to be completed, and appropriate corrective action (cleanup) would have to initiated.

Buried oil tanks raise increasing environmental, safety, legal and economic concerns for homeowners and home buyers because oil leaks underground, or even within buildings, can lead to both environmental damage and very costly cleanup operations. Having to install a new aboveground oil storage tank involves significant expense. To remove the old oil tank and install the new one could cost perhaps $2,000.00 to $4,000.00. Removing a filled (sand or foam) buried oil tank is more costly. If an oil tank has leaked, the cost to clean up contaminated soils can be very significant; so much so that a property buyer should not complete the purchase before questions about the condition of oil tanks (past or present at the property), and the chances of leaks from buried oil storage tanks have been answered satisfactorily.Under  New Jersey law(N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.14 / Building Sub code / Bulletins 88-3 and 91-4BFPC/90 F-2806.11) all fuel tanks under 2001 gallons that have been taken out of service must be safeguarded( or removed) within 90 days.

The following photos show examples of abandoned UST's that passed  prior local inspections. One was foam filled and other one was sand filled. The tanks were previously pumped out and cleaned without entering the tanks. Both tanks were decommissioned as per local laws at the time of abandonment. However, as you can see, there was still oil that was left in the tanks after pumping and abandonment. Both tanks after being removed failed inspection for structural failures(holes). Both property's had contamination caused by the abandoned tanks. As policy Statewide Environmental Services LLC. never recommends abandoning a tank in place. Removal is the best option. On rare occasions a tank must be abandoned in place when it cannot be removed due to structural concerns of adjacent structures.






A Sand Fill UST That Passed A Prior Inspection
Sand filled oil tank.jpg
Sand In Tank Was Contaminated

Abandoned Foam Filled Tank
Foam filled oil tank.jpg
Note Oil Leaks Around The Bottom Of The Tank

Leaking Sand Filled Oil Tank
Water Entered The Tank Due To Improper Closure

Open Sand Filled Oil Tank
Sand Removed From Oil Tank By Hand