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Removing Oil Tanks

Oil tank removal projects can raise many questions for homeowners.

Get the answers here.


Oil Tank Removal: How long should it take to remove an oil tank?  How will it affect my property?

Oil Tank Abandonment:   Is this a more difficult & costly option?

Oil Tank Removal Costs:  What should you expect to pay?

Oil Tank Replacement:  What type of tank should you install?

Oil Tank Leaks:  How long & how much should it cost to clean-up?

Oil Tank Grants:  Unfortunately, NJ is no longer reviewing new applications.

Oil Tank Removal NJ: Tips to find a reputable oil tank removal company in NJ.

Free Oil Tank Removal:  Beware!  Get the real facts behind these offers.

Flat-rate tank removal & soil cleanup: Fixed pricing makes it easy to anticipate costs!

Oil Tank Removal – How to get started?


Find an oil tank removal contractor: It can be difficult finding a reputable company.  When it comes to a homeowners underground tank, most states do not require a contractor to get a state certification.    New Jersey is an exception.  NJ oil tank removal companies must be certified by the state and must buy a license.   A homeowner would be wise, in any case, to review the oil tank removal company’s testimonials and recommendations.

Oil Tank Removal – Step by Step Process

Step 1: Find the oil tank.

A typical oil tank removal first involves identifying where the tank is located.  If the homeowner is not familiar with the location of the oil tank, a brief site visit will be necessary to determine the oil tank’s location & what type of equipment is needed to complete the job.


Step 2:  Determine whether a backhoe can be used to remove the oil tank.

The location of the oil tank will determine whether a backhoe can be used to remove the oil tank.    If the underground oil tank is in a tight area or in an area where a backhoe cannot be brought,  hand digging is the only option to uncover the oil tank.  Hand digging involves more time and is often more costly than using a machine during the oil tank removal process.

Step 3:  Get a Permit


After the scope of work is determined, the homeowner or the contractor must file permits with the town before the oil tank removal work can begin.  The towns usually charge a fee which can range between $75 or $200 depending on the municipality.   In some areas, the local utilities must be contacted to insure that power & sewer lines are properly identified and are not physically obstructing the tank.

How does removing an oil tank affect my house & property?

Removing an underground tank has minimal impact.

Homeowners  are  concerned about the impact an underground oil tank removal will have on their property.  Undertaking an oil tank removal project isn’t as invasive as you think.  In almost all cases the property can be returned to its preexisting state.

Read on & you will get answers to the most common questions we hear from homeowners.

Tank removal & installation: How much time will it take- start to finish?

A few hours -not days & weeks. You should not anticipate much more time than this.  Here’s the breakdown of the time it takes to complete each step.

1. Installing a new tank takes  3 to 5 hours.

If you are replacing your oil tank with an above ground one, many tank removal companies will schedule the new installation the day before the oil tank removal.   The placement of the new tank will be determined in advance either by homeowners request or contractor’s recommendation after a site visit.

The most common places for the new tank are in the basement, garage or outside the home.  During the oil tank installation, the contractor will install the new above ground tank and connect it to the oil burning furnace.  The contractor may have to run new piping from the above ground tank to the furnace, which is not a complicated project.

After the lines and oil tank are connected, the contractor will disconnect the underground tank and make sure the oil flow is adequate and the furnace is operating properly.   The homeowners should make sure heat and hot water (if heated by the oil burner) are functioning properly.

2. Removing  an underground oil tank takes 3 to 4 hours.

Most home heating oil tanks can be completely removed and the property restored within 3 to 4 hours.

* First, you can expect a pump truck to arrive and completely remove all fuel from the tank.  Your tank removal company usually owns the pump truck or subcontracts these services as part of the removal project.

* You should expect any oil removed to be completely captured within the vehicle’s containment system.  There should be no oil spilled on the property.  (Can the oil be re-used?)

* Next, a crew of 3 to 5 men will locate the underground tank and use a backhoe to unearth the top of the oil tank.   If the tank is not machine accessible, the crew will have to hand dig the tank top.  You should expect an extra two or three hours if hand digging is necessary.

* When the tank is exposed, a hole is cut in the top and the tank interior is cleaned.  After the cleaning, the tank is removed from the ground and ready for inspection.

3. Town may require an inspector to examine the work.

Many municipalities &  towns will require their building inspector to examine the tank for leaks and visually examine the soil for contamination.  The tank removal company should arrange for the the town inspector’s visit the same day so that the tank can be removed from the property.

If the inspector is satisfied there is no contamination, the hole can be back filled and restored to grade.   The tank removal contractor will have additional soil ready on-site for the back fill process.

How long will I be without heat & hot water?

  • There should be no downtime.   Many homeowners not only heat their homes with the fuel from their underground oil tank but also heat their hot water from the same source.    Needless to say running a household without heat and hot water can be extremely inconvenient and many homeowners delay getting their tank removed for this reason.   The reality is that the home’s heat & hot water should function properly throughout the tank removal and installation process.   Even if the removal and installation occur on separate days, the contractor should make certain the home has heat and hot water during the project.

What can I expect the property to look like after the tank removal & installation process are complete?

Tank removal companies should have the capability to restore the property to its original condition. Since some site excavation is necessary to remove the tank and at the very least, you should expect the tank removal company to provide clean back fill and restore the property to its original grade.

  • Tanks buried in the yard: Most often, tanks are located in the yard under ordinary soil and grass.   At the time of the removal, the contractor should have adequate back fill on hand to make sure the the property is restored to its original grade.   In fact, you may want the excavation slightly higher because the ground may settle further after a significant rainfall.
  • Grass: After the tank removal, you should anticipate having to plant  new grass or sod in the excavated area because the machinery used will usually rip through its roots.  We recommend having the tank removal contractor or your landscaper seed or sod the area immediately after the tank removal.
  • Shrubs & bushes: Any shrubs and bushes located on top of the tank can be restored to its original location after the excavation.   The tank removal contractor should have the capability to carefully remove the shrub and transplant it after the property grading is complete.
  • Driveways & sidewalks: Sidewalks, driveways & patios located on top of  buried tanks will need to be repaved and repaired.  Many tank removal contractors will give you the option of using their subcontractor for this work.   Often,  homeowners will hire their local mason or paving company who may have previously performed the work.
  • Decks: If the tank is located directly underneath a wood deck, the wood deck must be disassembled and rebuilt.   Unfortunately, there isn’t a less drastic way of handling these situations.
  • Impact of equipment: The contractor’s equipment used to excavate the tank should not impact your yard.   If  necessary, the contractor will use 4×8 supporting boards to make sure the machinery does not sink into the yard.

What happens to the old oil tank?

The tank will be removed from your property. Assuming the tank did not leak,  the contractor should transport the tank to a state licensed salvage facility immediately after the completing the removal.   This means in most cases the tank should be removed from your property the same day.

What happens to the fuel from the old buried oil tank?

Every effort should be made to transfer most of the old fuel to the new tank. The 30 or 40 gallons of  fuel resting at the tank bottom should not be transferred.   Usually the fuel at the bottom is caked with sludge and microbial bacteria that can be harmful to the new tank.  Tank removal contractors are usually mindful of this problem and separate good fuel from sludge.  The sludge fuel  is disposed of and transported to a fuel recycling facility, which will blend the sludge fuel with additives so it can be used for commercial purposes.

Get a fixed price to remove your underground oil tank.

What you are quoted is what you pay!


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POSTED BY ats_admin ON December 22nd, 2014

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