Having been installed and used for the purpose of house heating for over 60 years, after other heating sources such as gas and electricity have become available, many underground oil tanks are now abandoned and left buried in place. In order to satisfy a buyer, a lender, or an insurance broker, it’s always a good idea for the homeowner to remove it when there is an unused oil tank buried under the property. The BC Fire Code provides all rules needed to be followed when removing.
One more good reason for removing the existing underground oil tank once it’s discovered is to minimize the risk of leaks and spills. All tanks have their limited life spin; the longer they stay underground, the higher the chance they start to corrode, rust, and eventually leak. Therefore, a big concern has grown among the public and authorities because of potential contamination of soil and underground water mainly caused by leaking oil tanks.
Under the provincial Environmental Management Act, the current owner, or the previous owner may be responsible for cleaning up a contaminated site. Believe it or not, if you buy a home with an underground oil tank, you become potentially liable for any future cleanup costs. Some costs can be extremely high if the soil is contaminated, which can reach up to hundreds of thousands.
Although not a requirement, but again for the peace of mind, a homeowner may obtain a letter of “Certificate of Compliance” from the Ministry, which states that the site has been remediated and no longer is considered contaminated.
A good article regarding this subject can be find online at http://www.perimeterltd.com/oil-tank-faqs.html