The Dangers of an Underground Oil Tank

The Dangers of an Underground Oil Tank

In the United States, 542,000 underground oil tanks store petroleum or other hazardous substances. Storing these materials underground may be convenient, but it can pose several other dangers you should be aware of.

Knowing the risks and potential problems involved might save you a world of trouble if you have or are considering a property with an underground oil tank. What are the dangers of an underground oil tank? We’ll fill you in on some of the main problems.

What is an Underground Storage Tank?

Underground storage tanks are primarily used for petroleum products. Under Federal law, they are classified as any tank with connected piping that has more than 10% of its combined volume underground.

What are the Dangers of an Underground Oil Tank?

Storing materials underground often presents an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, but you should be aware of the risks. Knowing what can go wrong will help you determine whether you should keep your underground tank.

Poor Maintenance

Some underground storage tanks are older than the projected 20-year lifespan, but they weren’t regulated until sometime around the 1980s. Oil tanks for homes put in before this date may not have followed today’s protocols or kept up with proper maintenance. This results in more corrosion, potential leaks, and damage.


Leaks are one of the most dangerous things about underground oil tanks. What happens if an underground oil tank leaks? Oil seeps into the soil, contaminate groundwater, and spreads into surface water, impacting any homes in their vicinity.

It even affects farming when water used for irrigation becomes contaminated. Oil vapors from leaks also cause health effects, such as headaches and drowsiness.

Costly Repairs

Removing contaminated soil and groundwater adds up to extensive repairs. In most cases, it costs at least $12,000 to remedy the situation, but it may cost as much as $100,000. In this instance, it’s best to have the tank removed by a professional environmental company that specializes in underground tank removal.

Removing Oil Tanks

When removing an oil tank from your property, you should always seek the help of a professional. It usually requires special permits to perform the tank removal process, but removal laws vary from state to state.

Before removing oil tanks, they must be emptied of their contents and cleaned. Once it’s ready for removal, it will be excavated and hauled from the property. The tank is then disposed of, reused, or recycled safely.

Underground tank removal is most often much cheaper than repairing leaks and ground contamination. Prices can range from $1000 to $3500, but it all depends on each situation.

The Dangers of an Underground Oil Tank

We’ll Remove Your Underground Storage Tank

What are the dangers of an underground oil tank? Now that you know, you may find it in your best interest to have the tank removed. At Stewart Environmental, we provide expert handling in the removal of underground tanks to bring you peace of mind.

Are you ready to speak with a professional storage tank removal company? Contact the environmental professionals at Stewart Environmental to get started.

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