It is occasionally necessary for inspectors, owners and property buyers to inspect various parcels of land to determine if a buried oil tank is located on the grounds. It may also be necessary to find out if bunded fuel tanks, self bunded diesel tanks, above ground or underground oil tanks are currently in use or were previously in use on the premises. Finding these tanks is essential for avoiding potentially expensive cleanup procedures down the road. Oil storage tanks that are underground present a very real danger of contaminated soil caused by an oil leak. Let’s take a look at the most effective ways for you to locate and deal with oil tanks:

In an ideal situation, an oil tank that has been buried outdoors should be excavated at the top of the tank. After this has been done, it should then be carefully opened in a manner that is not haphazard. In other words, be prepared for possible spillage, as you can never be 100 percent sure how much oil is remaining in the tank before you open it. The safest method would be to connect a siphon hose to the top of the tank and remove any remaining oil this way. If you attempt to make a hole in the side of the tank, your hole could be under the line of the oil, causing it to spill out. Position an adequate amount of oil collection trays around the hole to handle any spillage that might occur.

After the tank has been completely emptied, it will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Examine the tank carefully to find any areas where leakage may have occurred. You can then begin the process of filling it with an approved material. A special foam or sand are commonly used for this purpose. These materials will stop the tank from being used again and also prevent it from collapsing. Make sure this test is performed by a company that specializes in abandoned tanks. You should get documentation that clearly indicates how the tank was filled, what tests were performed, when it was done and who performed the work.

If a property being purchased does not have the necessary documentation about the land, you should arrange for soil testing and an inspection of the site. You will be looking for any signs of leakage. Testing the surface soil is not necessary. Instead, the soil borings at the depth close to the tank’s bottom are more critical to test for contamination because this is the area where any serious leakage would have happened. Use the same soil testing procedure for self bunded diesel tanks and bunded fuel tanks.

If the person selling the property won’t allow any oil leakage testing to take place, there is a good possibility that the owner is aware of oil contamination that currently exists on the premises. Therefore, in situations such as these, it would be a wise decision to avoid buying any property where testing is not allowed prior to the purchase being completed. If the seller does not want you looking for an oil leak, it is usually to conceal a leak they know about.

This post comes courtesy of fueltankhire.com.au, a Sydney based company that does sales and rental of tank equipment.

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