Homeowner’s Guide to Underground Oil Tank Removal

Homeowner’s guide to underground oil tank removal

Am I compelled by regulation to remove my underground oil tank?

The simple answer is no there is no regulation that we are aware of which states you must remove your underground tank. So if you are heating your house with oil and the tank is underground you are not required to remove it.

What Is the Life Expectancy of an Underground Oil Tank?

Now, having said that, you should also know that according to the American Petroleum Institute, underground steel tanks will corrode after about 20 years. This means they will leak into the ground causing an environmental issue.

So, while you are not obligated to remove the underground oil tank by regulation, there could be an issue leaving it in the ground. Since underground tanks will corrode and leak at some point in time when is the right time to replace an underground tank with an above-ground tank? The best time to remove an underground oil tank is when you don’t have to!

Perhaps you can see the logic, when you are forced to take an underground tank out of service, there is a problem like sludge build-up or a leak, maybe water getting into the fuel line.

If you are planning to sell your house, houses with an underground tank are much more difficult to sell than homes without. No one wants to purchase an unknown liability, especially a liability that is totally unknown. There are buyers for anything, but it is almost always reflected in the price.

The buyers’ attorney will always ask for the tank to be removed or some documentation of the removal.

In the final analysis, if you have an underground tank servicing your house, and you are planning to sell, it might be in your best interest, although not mandatory, to have the tank replaced with an above-ground tank as soon as possible.

Why Should You Remove an Underground Oil Tank?

It is a documented fact that underground oil tanks last about 20 some say 25 years but not very much more. Having said that we have removed some perfectly good underground tanks in service for over 50 years. Who knows the answer, better steel, great geological conditions, perfect exterior coating.

Knowing that underground tanks are eventually going to leak and cause a financial and environmental problem, why would anyone wait?  Well, you might say I can afford to do the tank removal (should be about $1500) but I just can’t deal with the cost of a leaking tank.

Perfect situation, remove the tank and wait for the state funding to come into place. This may take years or more, but it’s a grant, not a loan. This is a no-brainer.

Your homeowner’s insurance premium will go down, your home will be worth more without an underground tank.

The state leaking tank program remains open for people with a taxable income less than $250,000 and a net worth of less than $500,000 not including your primary residence. Some other requirements apply and you will need to provide quite a few documents to NJEDA (administrator for the fund) but would you rather have to pay a $25,000 bill or more?

We have processed hundreds of applications for homeowners over the years, only 2 have been denied for having an income of more than $250,000,   Oh How Awful!

Do You Have Any Questions About Your Underground Tanks?


If this has some interest or you might require additional information contact us online or call us at 732 534 4892.


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Peter Lordy

Peter Lordy is a seasoned environmental expert with over 30 years of experience in Superfund, industrial/commercial, residential site evaluations, and regulatory compliance including RCRA and CERCLA. He is a trained asbestos removal supervisor, holding various licenses from NJDEP for closure, subsurface, and tank testing. As a Rutgers-trained hazmat trainer, he possesses the required 40 hours of training for annual certification, alongside being Roth Certified. Peter is also a voting member of ASTM International and a Radon Measurement Specialist, demonstrating his broad expertise and commitment to environmental safety and standards.