So often times a local permit of a tank removal or closure in place of an oil tank incorrectly gives people the opinion that the tank did not leak.

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In New Jersey the governing agency is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, (NJDEP) not the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) which is a Federal agency and does not have immediate jurisdiction for these types of incidents.

If a heating oil discharge has occurred at your home, regardless of the quantity, the owner is required to report the leak to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

Should a home heating oil tank release oil into the environment, then at that point the owner of the tank is no longer exempt from the provisions of environmental regulation governing uncontrolled discharges or releases into the environment.

At the time it is discovered that an oil tank has leaked, the property owner would need to take reasonable measures to address the source of the leak/spill and prevent it from spreading and the incident reported to the appropriate agency.

Answer: This is a really common scenario, we have a separate page to answer this question that can be reached at the following link: What do I do when my oil tank leaks? These steel tanks have a finite life expectancy (rust never sleeps) and when corrosion holes breach the tank shell or the welded seams of the tank fail, petroleum will leach into the environment.

In response to both state and federal environmental requirements and emerging technology’s, replacement of single wall steel UST's have become a growing trend in order to remove the environmental liabilities associated with Leaking Underground Storage Tanks, (LUST's).

In addition if a buyer fails to investigate a tank and later (after the purchase) finds that the tank has leaked, the cost for cleanup will be the responsibility of the new owner. To investigate for the presence of petroleum, three to four soil borings are advanced around the perimeter of the buried tank.

If you have an oil tank that is not in use, it should be removed as it serves no useful purpose other than being a concern to a potential purchaser of the property. Each soil sample is evaluated on the site for petroleum and the sample indicating the highest field screen reading is submitted to a New Jersey certified laboratory for testing.

Any of these physical signs is a good indication of a tank that has been removed or, there is still a tank in the ground.

To be more certain hire an environmental professional who is trained to look for this evidence as well as other key signs and who can also be equipped with a metal detector and a radio frequency locator or ground penetrating radar unit to evaluate a property for a suspect tank (UST). If the house was built between the 1930's and the 1990's, there is a good chance the property had oil heat at some time.

BACK TO TOP We found an underground fuel oil tank, what do we do now? The phrase let the buyer beware should be listened too and an appropriate investigation of the tank should be performed.