The History of the Oil Tank ~ Oil Tank Removal Duncan BC

Do you need an oil tank removed in Duncan, BC? Many homes on Vancouver Island built before 1957 were originally heated with furnace oil. When natural gas became available, the oil storage tanks, which were normally located underground in backyards, were filled with sand or capped however many left undetected or forgotten, however, as these unused buried oil tanks start to corrode and rust, the remaining oil can leak out and flow onto the owner’s property or worse the neighbour’s property, storm sumps and waterways, resulting in contamination of soil and water. Apart from the negative financial impact on the market value of the property, the owner can face substantial legal liability under various statutes and bylaws for such contamination.
The B.C. Fire Code and bylaws essentially require that out-of-service underground oil storage tanks (USTs) be removed and that all contaminated soil must be removed and replaced with clean fill if identified.

hot water tank installation cowichan
hot water tank installation cowichan
hot water tank installation cowichan

A 250G buried steel oil tank was discovered and required removal to complete a real estate transaction.

A concrete patio area required removal for access to the UST. This tank had been previously decommissioned and filled with sand. Access was created for sand removal which was carefully transported to a proper contaminated materials site for disposal. This project was completed under permit as well finished in one full day.

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First identify your oil tank, you will not a single filler neck however often 2 pipes will be located the second representing the breather vent.

hot water tank installation cowichan

Excavation begins following a BC one call to verify all yard services, permits obtained and all oil and tank contaminants removed.

hot water tank installation cowichan

This picture demonstrates a careful dig fully exposing the oil tank. No oil leakage or ground saturation has been noted around the oil tank. All remaining lines either removed or capped.

hot water tank installation cowichan

This picture demonstrates the use of a crane service to carefully remove the tank between two buildings.

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Strapping and Hauling of this tank to an approved disposal facility. A final municipal inspection will follow to complete the permit process.

Exceptions ~ Oil Tank Removal Duncan BC

A very limited exception may be granted by the fire authority where the removal of the UST is impractical because it is located under a permanent structure or its removal would endanger the structural integrity of nearby buildings, in that case, the owner would still have to render the UST “inert” in accordance with “good engineering practices.” That would include arranging, at their own expense, for the remaining oil to be pumped out, for the tank to be filled with sand and all piping to be capped, as well as arranging for the removal of contaminated soil around the tank area as well saturated and contaminated areas within the vicinity of the oil tank. The responsibility for the removal of the UST and remediation of any contamination falls on the current property owner.

Underground Oil Tank Removal Process ~ Oil Tank Removal Duncan BC

To determine if you have an underground oil tank on your property a preliminary site and smell investigation will be conducted. More advanced Ground Radar Penetrating equipment may be used if a property is suspect of having an oil tank but not visibly located. Obvious signs of an onsite oil tank and failure would be smell often permeating from the homes perimeter drainage systems. As oil tanks fail and leaching occurs, often oil will migrate to the homes drainage system which may be connected to floor drains within the home, oil smells will be noted within the rooms of the home where these floor drains exist, oil may also be observed at the homes drainage disposal location, often these drainage systems dispose into creeks, or daylight onto the property and signs may be visible. If an underground oil tank is found and has to be removed the following demonstrates the legal process required.

– Permits acquired prior to excavation.

– A BC one call is placed to determine all underground services before excavation start.

– Remaining oil has to be pumped out and taken to an approved recycling/ disposal facility if still in the UST.

– The UST removal begins with excavation services.

– The soil must be assessed for contamination. If contamination is present, soil and groundwater must be properly remediated, which may include complete removal and passed to a third party company specializing in soil analysis.

– UST strap and removal.

– Disposal of the oil tank is taken to an approved facility.

– You will receive a copy of the permit as well final inspection.

What Can New Buyers Do to Protect Themselves? ~ Oil Tank Removal Duncan BC

If there is a suspicion that there may be a UST and the seller will not or can not confirm either way, the buyer should be advised to make the offer subject to a satisfactory inspection that satisfies the buyer there is no buried oil tank and that the property is not a contaminated site. It would be prudent to engage the services of a specialized UST inspector to conduct a magnetic survey to detect a UST and then, if located, the integrity of the tank can be examined and surrounding soil can be checked for the presence of contaminants, Often the oil tanks are still intact and solid and no indication of seepage or leaking evident.

Many mortgage lending institutions now inquire about buried oil tanks and require verification before releasing financing and prior to registering a mortgage over the home. Insurance companies have also become aware of the liability surrounded by buried oil tanks and often request documentation verifying tank removal has been completed.

A buyer should be strongly advised, even in the face of competing offers for a property, to not remove any conditions without the UST and remediation work having been completed properly by the seller. Similarly, the buyer should not agree to take on the responsibility of the removal of the UST and the remediation of any contamination in exchange for a price reduction without fully realizing the potential liability that would ensue upon becoming the new owner.

For more information or for an onsite consultation give Vortech a call.

What our customers say:

  • "I cannot say enough good things about my experience with Charles and the crew at Vortech. I have used their services on two separate occasions and both times I was impressed with their professionalism and excellent customer service. This is a professional, trustworthy, and reliable company that I highly recommend to everyone. They give upfront and honest quotes. They come prepared and their work is fast, efficient, and dependable. Based on prior experience, this is not a given in this industry. So before you go with the big name alternative, consider giving Vortech a call instead. I will never call anyone else."

    Nissa Bell
    Victoria B.C.
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