Underground Storage Tank Removal: What to Know?

When you need to have an underground storage tank (UST) closed or removed, you should know what may be involved. This is a hazardous undertaking involving combustible, flammable liquids, confined spaces and excavations. In this process, the preservation of public and work safety is extremely important. An out-of-service tank can harm the environment, and for this reason, they must be properly closed and removed when possible.

What to Expect?

Different provinces have different regulations regarding UST closure and removal. In general, you should always work with an experienced, properly licensed remover. There are many forms, notices, and other procedural requirements that have to be followed and tests that need to be conducted, and your tank service provider will be able to assist you with these tasks. Failing to complete all tests and submit all the proper paperwork for your tank removal or closure could result in fines and other legal action against you by the province, local or even federal government.

In cases where you want to temporarily close your tank, you will still have to take certain actions. If, for example, you have concerns about the hydraulic pressure on your tank, you may be allowed to fill it with a non-hazardous and non-corrosive liquid for closure. Venting that is required is allowed; however, piping, access and fill locations will likely need to be sealed the correct way using approved items, such as concrete plugs or locking caps.

You will likely need to disconnect all power service to pumps that are associated with the use of your underground storage tank, unless that power is being used for other equipment that is staying open. You’ll also need to be able to pass any compliance inspections required in your area and may need to carry some type of insurance against pollution liability. The insurance is required because it may be discovered that your closed tank is harming the local environment in some way later.

Tank Abandonment

In some situations, you may be allowed to close a UST and leave it in place afterward. If, for example, your tank is underneath a building’s foundation or professionals have determined that removing the tank would compromise another building’s structure, you might receive a variance and be allowed to close the tank but leave it where it currently is. However, as with temporary tank closure, all regulations and rules still must be followed, or you risk legal liability, fines and other punishments.

Removing an underground tank that is no longer used is always ideal because this reduces the risk that the tank will contaminate any soil or groundwater nearby and can help boost your property’s value. When you have your tank closed and/or removed by a professional service, you’ll receive proper, well-documented reports about the tank’s removal and/or closure, which will allow future real estate transactions involving the tank’s previous site to go more smoothly.