Is There A Heating Oil Tank Underground On The Property You're Buying?

Posted on: 27 July 2017


Once you've seen a house and plan to place a purchase offer with a buyer, you are probably already committed to the property in some way. If you can, you should head back to the place with your realtor to give the home a closer look. One thing you may want to check for, particularly if the house is an older one, is whether the property has an old underground heating oil tank. The tank may not be used these days, but knowing about it is important because the property's soil and groundwater could be affected. Oil tank removal is the best option. How can you tell if there's a tank? Look for these three clues.

Bald Spots

One signal that an old heating oil tank could be an issue is that you look out into the beautiful green backyard--and see bald spots in one area. While lack of grass doesn't always mean that any tanks were ever in the area, bald spots can be the result of a spill of some kind. If you see a pipe jutting out from the soil, that's a more definite sign that there was--or is--a tank somewhere in the vicinity.

Unconnected Pipes

If you see random piping peeking out from a wall or floor and it no longer connects to anything else, a heating oil tank was likely near there. This is particularly likely if the pipes are in the boiler room, water heater closet or basement. It is possible the tank was removed by a professional years ago, but you should still get more information; it is also as likely that the tank was moved beneath the ground for other reasons and later abandoned.

Permits Office

Your permits office can be a fantastic source of information about the house you'll soon be the owner of. They should have information about any permits that were applied for, approved and rejected. One of the permits they should have data about are any heating oil tanks that were located on your property site. You may also be able to gather information about spills or cleanups. The documents present in the office files may have information that can assist you in tracking down the location of a tank and the manufacturer.

An underground heating oil tank on a property you're trying to buy is something worth knowing about. You can discuss the old tank with the current buyer or a professional who can tell you what you should be doing next.