Underground Heating Oil Tanks - Environmental Works

Underground Heating Oil Tanks

Tank Locating, Removal & Excavation,
Decommissioning, Soil Testing, & Cleanup

Licensed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), Environmental Works provides knowledgeable and professional expertise in all phases of oil tank related services. Our staff of licensed environmental scientists is unmatched in the industry. Unlike most heating oil tank service providers who specialize in excavation, our in-depth knowledge allows us to provide site-specific solutions for each project. This translates to lower costs and quicker turnaround.

As of January 1st 2009, the ODEQ implemented new regulations regarding Heating Oil Tanks (HOT). These new, more stringent requirements make it even more important that the service provider you choose knows how to properly handle HOTs under the new guidelines.

We specialize in working closely with realtors and homeowners to meet strict timelines and ensure a successful transaction.

Tank Services Include

  • » Underground Tank Locating
  • » Tank Removal & Decommissioning
  • » Soil Sampling, Cleanups, & Remediation

Locating Underground Heating Oil Tanks

Any home built before 1965 is likely to have used oil heat at one time. Heating oil was most often stored in underground tanks located adjacent to the home. Often signs of an underground heating oil tank are simply the presence of a vent or fill pipe on the exterior of the home. Additionally, supply lines are commonly found in the home’s basement or crawlspace. If you suspect your home has used heating oil, you may want Environmental Works to perform a tank search for you, available for only $110.00.

Soil Samples

Soil samples are most often requested by a purchaser of a property when an underground oil tank is present and has not been decommissioned and certified under the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) Heating Oil Tank (HOT) Program. Soil samples are taken in an effort to determine whether a tank has released heating oil to the surrounding soil. Soil sampling procedures are defined by DEQ regulations, which dictate the sample location, collection method, handling, and laboratory analysis. Please keep in mind that clean soil samples do not guarantee that a tank has not leaked.

Environmental Works offers soil sample results within 24 hours, and one of our licensed heating oil tank supervisors will call you with preliminary results within minutes of the soil samples being taken.

The ODEQ requires that any site with a confirmed release of heating oil be reported to them within 72 hours.

Tank Decommissioning and Removal

"Decommissioning" means to remove an underground heating oil tank from operation by an approved ODEQ method, such as abandonment-in-place (cleaning of the tank and filling with inert material) or by completely removing the tank from the ground. A site assessment including soil samples must also be conducted to determine if a release of heating oil has occurred. If contamination is not detected, the decommissioning can be voluntarily certified, with a decommissioning report submitted to the ODEQ for approval.

If contamination is detected that exceeds confirmed release levels, the decommissioning is then considered a cleanup project.

Cleanup Options

The ODEQ offers three methods by which sites with confirmed heating oil releases may be cleaned up: Soil Matrix Cleanup, Generic Remedy, and Risk Based Decision Making.

ο Soil Matrix Cleanup

The soil matrix cleanup levels are the most stringent set of cleanup standards set by the ODEQ. They were developed to be protective of human health and the environment under all conditions. There are three cleanup tiers based on the evaluation of five criteria: depth to groundwater, rainfall amounts, soil type, use of uppermost aquifer, and proximity to receptors. Soil matrix standards almost always involve the excavation and removal of petroleum contaminated soils.

ο Generic Remedy

The generic remedy cleanup levels are less stringent, and under most circumstances allow for less or no soil removal. In order to qualify for generic remedy standards the following criteria must be met:

  • » The release is from a heating oil tank
  • » The only product released is heating oil or diesel #2
  • » Contamination is limited to soil with no groundwater detected
  • » No free product is present as a result of the tank leak
  • » There are no ecological risks posed by the release

If these criteria are met, then sufficient soil samples must be taken in order to determine the amount, location, and concentration of heating oil to be left in place.

ο Risk Based Decision Making

The ODEQ allows sites to be closed where contamination remains in place that exceeds soil matrix and generic remedy cleanup levels. The risk based decision making process requires that heating oil contaminated soil remaining in place pose no threat to the environment or human health, and:

  • » The source of the contamination is removed
  • » There is no free product present as a result of the leaking tank
  • » The vertical and horizontal extent of the contaminated soil remaining in place is delineated
  • » The soil sample representing the worst contamination left in place is analyzed for BETX and PAH
  • » Constituents of concern pose no human or environmental health threat and all possible exposure pathways have been explored

Due to the new, more stringent regulations adopted by the ODEQ as of January 2009, a smaller portion of petroleum-contaminated sites qualify to meet risk based decision making criteria.