July 13, 2024


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The Hidden Risks of Underground Oil Tanks

Buried Oil Tank - a previous owner's risk? | Oldford Team

Underground oil tanks were once a popular choice, but by the 1990s most households stopped relying on them. While they are less common now, some homes still use them, and many homes still have unused underground tanks on the property. These tanks present several risks that homeowners and potential home buyers should consider.

Underground Oil Tank Risks

Underground tanks do not last forever. Eventually, rust and corrosion will cause the tank to leak. While some buried tanks have been decommissioned, rendering them stable, others have been abandoned with oil remaining inside.

When considering residential oil tank removal Ulster County NY homeowners often worry about the cost. However, removing the tank can prevent even costlier problems from occurring in the future.


While any oil tank can leak, buried tanks have the potential to cause much more damage than above-ground tanks. Oil leaks can contaminate the soil and even the water supply. With an underground tank, leaks can be difficult to detect, although patches of dead grass are a telltale sign. A soil sample can tell you for sure whether you have an oil leak.

Insurance Issues

Generally, homeowners insurance does not cover damages caused by an underground oil tank. Some insurance policies allow you to purchase additional coverage for these situations. Most of the time, however, you must pay the expenses out of pocket, so it is worth the cost to have the tank removed before problems occur.

Legal Repercussions

Some states have laws pertaining to unused underground oil tanks. In some states, you can leave the tank in the ground as long as it has been properly decommissioned. In others, homeowners are required to completely remove unused tanks. If you ignore your buried tank, you may be in violation of state law or local ordinances.

Resale and Financing

If you plan to sell your home, you may have a difficult time doing so with an underground oil tank in place. Not only do the potential issues make many buyers wary, but some lenders will not even offer financing for a property with a buried oil tank.

Underground Tank Removal

Removing an underground tank is not a job you can do yourself. You must contact an oil tank removal service. A technician will access the tank, drain and clean it. The tank will then be dug up and removed for proper disposal. Old tanks are reused and recycled whenever possible.

Underground heating oil tanks were once considered a convenience, but now they present many problems for homeowners. Proper removal makes your home safer and protects the environment.