Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Do you know the condition of your heating oil fuel tank?

We all use some sort of energy to provide heat for our homes. Over the years we have become more conscious about pollution and its effects on the environment, both below and above ground. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tightened regulations on everything from coal and wood stoves to oil fired boilers and the storage tanks that fuel them.

On Martha’s Vineyard, prior to transferring a property to a new owner, it is mandatory that an underground oil tank be replaced with an above ground storage tank, preferably installed in a basement, shed or garage. Massachusetts DEP and DPS do not require abandoned oil tanks to be replaced if they are not leaking. However, Martha’s Vineyard local governments require that all abandoned oil tanks be removed. The procedure begins by notifying the fuel oil provider who in turn contacts the local fire department for a Permit to remove an Underground Heating Oil Tank.

About 15 years ago I represented the seller of a summer home close to the water. The home was heated with oil and there were two 275 gallon oil tanks in tandem above ground behind the house. The house was not occupied and they did not have a caretaker. One day when I was about to show the property I smelled a strong odor. I discovered that one of the 275 gallon oil tanks had sprung a leak. If that wasn’t bad enough, as it was emptying it siphoned out the contents of the other 275 gallon oil tank. To make a long story somewhat shorter, I can tell you that it cost over $20,000 to remediate the effects of the oil spill. The insurance company would not cover one dime of the cleanup because the house was not occupied and there was no caretaker. When I was investigating the cause and having new tanks installed, I learned that the fuel oil supplier had purchased inferior tanks from off shore sources. Because of inconsistencies in the wall thickness, the tank rusted through prematurely. I think you will find the following article very interesting because if you heat with oil, aging oil tanks can pose costly risks.


Post a Comment

<< Home