3 Important Steps To Take After Discovering Your Underground Oil Tank Is Leaking

Posted on: 9 December 2015

If you've observed some of the signs of a leaking underground oil storage tank (UST), like a rapid drop in the amount of oil in the tank or smelling or seeing oil in your yard, then you might want to look into the history of your home to see when the tank was installed, since the age of the tank could indicate if it is suffering from corrosion or not (tanks as young as 15 years old can suffer from corrosion). On the other hand, if you're having excavation work done on your property and your dig team finds a hidden underground oil storage tank and ruptures it, you could be in similar trouble. Soil contamination can cost thousands to remediate, so it is of the utmost importance to nip the issue in the bud ASAP. Here are three important steps to take after discovering a leaking UST in your yard. 

Report the Leak

Hiding your leaking tank from local authorities can land you in serious hot water if the leak persists and gets worse or if it is discovered by a third party. In Canada, the proper authority to notify is Environment Canada, who will have additional information and resources available to help you through the next few steps in the process. Knowing what to expect is important in these situations, however, since time is of the essence.

Pump Out the Liquid

Your first move should always be to get as much of the oil or oily water out of the tank so that it doesn't contaminate surrounding soil. While this isn't a viable option given the resources of a typical homeowner, hiring a contractor to perform this work is quick and easy. To pump out the tank, contractors usually dig to the surface of the tank and then cut a hole in the metal  through which they can pump the remaining liquid into a vacuum tanker truck which can then safely transport the waste to a disposal or recycling facility. 

Clear the Area

Depending on how much liquid can be extracted quickly and how bad the leak is, you may need the tank excavated quickly. Thus ensuring that the appropriate equipment can reach the tank is a necessity. Typical tank equipment includes flatbed trucks for transporting the tank, a backhoe or similar digging vehicle, and a small crane to lift the tank up from what becomes known as the "tank grave" after the tank is removed. Moving cars and potentially even fences or bird baths can be greatly helpful in removing your leaking UST in a timely manner, which can save money on remediation costs. 

For more information, talk to a professional like Elite Waste Disposal.


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When was the last time that you had your water tested? If you have well-water supplying your home with the water that you drink, use to cook and bathe in, it is important that you have the water tested from time to time. So, how often should the water be tested? What could cause what was once perfectly safe water to become contaminated? Is there anything that you can do to protect your well from these potential contaminants? My blog is all about the environmental dangers that are posing risks to your water well. You will find out all about what is going on that could cause your water to become unsafe.