heating oil tank leak

What To Do If You Have A Heating Oil Tank Leak

If you suspect you might have a heating oil tank leak here is some very important information that you need to know.

Heating oil tank leaks are dangerous and should be dealt with as soon as they are detected. The oil and sludge spilling out of the tank contain chemicals that contaminate the soil, water, and air. A heating oil tank leak usually occurs when the oil escapes through a hole in the tank and seeps into the floor or soil around it. It can also occur if the valves are not closed tightly or loosened by rust.

Because heating oil tanks are often buried underground or installed in the basement where the floor is dark and damp, they are prone to corrosion. Over time, water and chemicals present in the soil eat into the metal or plastic covering, creating holes from which the oil seeps out. Often, an underground oil tank leak is not detected in their early stage because most homeowners rarely check their tank.


Call A Certified Contractor

If you suspect that your heating oil tank is leaking, do not try a DIY detection and repair. The soil near it may have been contaminated, and your fiddling with the tank can spread the contamination further. You may even damage the tank and exasperate the leak. Therefore, the first thing you should do is call a certified contractor for a tank and soil test.

An oil tank test is necessary to detect whether a leak has occurred or not. A soil test is needed to determine if there has been a soil contamination and to what extent, if any.  If the results of the tests are positive (i.e., oil leak and contamination are detected), then it must be reported to your state’s environmental protection agency. The affected tank must be removed, and the contaminated soil must be remediated.


Oil Tank Leak Test Methods

There are several methods to find a heating oil tank leak. They include low-psi oil tank pressure testing, soil testing for oil tank leaks, electronic testing for oil tanks, and water testing in oil tanks.

Low-psi oil tank pressure testing involves sealing off the tank, pressurizing it to a low value, and monitoring it for 24 hours for a drop in pressure. Soil testing involves examining the soil around the tank for evidence of an oil leak. Electronic testing includes scanning the tank for leaks and damages using an electronic sensor. Water testing involves checking the oil filter canister for the presence of water, which is a reliable indication of an oil leak.


You Are Likely To Have Soil Contamination From The Oil Tank Leak

Soil contamination almost always accompanies a heating oil leak. Soil testing for oil tank leaks involves collecting soil samples from the area surrounding the tank and testing them in a laboratory for the presence of contaminants like lead, mercury, and hydrocarbons. A high concentration level of lead hydrocarbon is a good indication of soil contamination from an oil leak.


Oil Tank Removal And Soil Remediation

Once oil leak and soil contamination have been determined, the affected tank must be removed and the soil remediated (cleaned). The leaking oil tank cannot be repaired. It must be dug up (or uninstalled if it is above ground) and disposed of in an environment-friendly method. Then the affected soil must be cleaned or remediated. There are several remediation methods. Your contractor may employ one or more remediation methods as deemed necessary.

Oil tank leak cleanup cost depends on the area of contamination, the extent of the contamination and soil remediation required. If you have reasons to believe that your heating oil tank is leaking, then call a professional right away.

Are you in need of your heating oil tank leak to be serviced right away? Call All American Environmental in NJ.  One of our certified and licensed representatives will be happy to assist you immediately.

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We service commercial and home heating oil tank leaks throughout New Jersey in the counties of Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Bergen County, and Essex County NJ