What you need to know about underground storage tank removal

What you need to know about underground storage tank removal

What you need to know about underground storage tank removal What you need to know about underground storage tank removal: An unused underground stor

What you need to know about underground storage tank removal

What you need to know about underground storage tank removal: An unused underground storage tank should never be abandoned or forgotten. If the tank has a leak, any material inside the tank can seep into the surrounding soil. This exposes the landowner to significant environmental liability. Removing the tank is a better option.

Federal and state regulators have strict requirements for removing underground storage tanks. These regulations are to prevent accidental spills or contamination. Hiring a professional to handle the removal minimizes these risks.

Before you hire someone, it’s important to understand the citation removal process.

Steps taken during removal of common underground storage tanks

#1 Notify government agencies of eviction

Before you can remove an underground storage tank, you must notify federal and state agencies at least 30 days before the work. You may also need a special permit at the county or city level.


#2 Hire a licensed contractor

Look for a contractor with experience removing such tanks. Many states require a contractor to have a special certificate or license to work. A licensed contractor shall obtain the proper permit and comply with regulations for tank removal.

#3 Remove the remaining material from the tank

Almost all tanks have some left over. Before anything can be done with the tank, the contents must be removed. The contractor must follow strict protocols, especially with flammable or toxic materials.

#4 Transfer the oxygen to the tank

The oxygen inside the tank is, in some cases, prone to explosion. Before excavating and removing the tank, the air inside the tank must be inert. This involves removing oxygen and replacing it with a non-explosive gas such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen.

#5 Remove the soil around the tank

The contractor will first remove the soil around the top of the tank, exposing the fittings and lines. This needs to be removed before digging the rest of the tank.

#6 Clean and drain the tank

Some jurisdictions require that the tank be cleaned of contamination before it is removed from the job site. Others allow the tank to be removed to another location for cleaning. In either case, the contractor shall clean the tank and remove it.

#7 Prepare tank settlement

Once the tank is lifted out of the ground and cleaned, the contractor must follow strict guidelines for disposal. Some jurisdictions allow the tank to be cut on site, while others allow it to be left intact. The contractor will identify safety hazards, remove vapors, dispose of residues and clean the system.

#8 Do the necessary sampling

After the tank is gone, the state requires a contractor to take samples of the surrounding soil. This is to identify if contaminants have leaked. In some cases, the state may also require groundwater sampling.

#9 Remove and dispose of contaminated soil

If contaminated soil is found, it should be removed. Contractor shall remove and dispose of in accordance with federal and state requirements.

#10 Report results to appropriate agencies

Once work is completed and samples are taken, the contractor must report the results to the appropriate agencies. A general report provides the following documents:

  • Results of soil and groundwater sampling
  • Map where samples were taken
  • Documentation of disposal of underground storage tanks
  • Soil removal document

#11 Filling the hole

The last step is to fill the hole left after removing the storage tank. Any uncontaminated soil can be used from the initial excavation. Off-site soil can also be used to fill it.

Removal of abandoned underground storage tanks reduces the risk of environmental pollution. It also increases the value of the property as buyers do not have to deal with this issue. Sales can be made without the need for expensive investigations and treatments.

If you have an unused underground storage tank, talk to an expert before doing anything. Know what your options are and make an informed decision.