WORKING HEADLINE: Silent hazard in your basement? Remove the Risk! Tips on recognizing a problem with your oil tank.

July 26, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Damaged or leaking storage tanks are a primary source of hazardous substance release, and strict government regulations are in effect concerning fuel storage tanks.

Many home owners aren’t sure if they have an unused or leaking fuel storage tank, how old the tank is, or what condition the tank is in.

Not many property owners are aware that fuel storage tanks that are 15 to 20 years old are significantly more prone to leakage, resulting in costly oil leaks with the potential to cause widespread environmental damage, requiring a clean-up that is not covered by insurance and which is the liability of the owner.

What’s a property owner to do? Kevin Hoag, President of CommTank in Wakefield, MA offers some helpful tips on what a property owner should look for to determine if there is a problem with their oil tank.

Recommendations for above ground tanks (ASTs):
1. Check the exterior of the tank for signs of rust or pitting. If the tank appears to be very rusted or pitted, the tank walls may be getting thin and replacement should be considered, particularly if the tank is 15 years old, or older. If the tank appears solid and rust free, then continue to monitor the tank on a regular basis.

2. Check for signs of dripping oil from the bottom of the tank.

3. Check for leakage around the fill or vent pipes.

4. Check to see that the legs of your fuel storage tank are solid and stable, not corroded or uneven. The tank should be resting on a solid, level, non-combustible surface—not on wooden legs or supports, or on raised or stacked blocks.

5. Check to see if the fuel oil gauge for the tank is missing, broken, or faulty.

6. Check the floor near the tank. Be aware that a spot of oil on a concrete floor can be a sign that the fuel oil line for the tank is leaking and oil is seeping upwards, particularly if the line runs under a concrete floor, or is encased in concrete.

7. Monitor your fuel oil consumption. If it’s higher than usual it could be due to undetected seepage or leaking.

8. Use your nose as well as your eyes—a strong smell of fuel oil near your tank may also point to problem leakage.

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)
1. Seriously consider removal of an underground fuel storage tank if it is over 15 years old. Leaks are much more difficult to detect in an underground tank – don’t let a liability linger.

2. Consider contacting a certified tank inspector for annual tank tightness testing of underground storage tanks.

If you think you may have detected a problem with your tank and are unsure of what to do next, call your local fire department, (which in Massachusetts regulates the installation, maintenance and removal of tanks), or a tank specialist for a free evaluation of your fuel storage tank, including how to proceed with fuel storage tank removal and replacement if needed.

About CommTank
CommTank, located at 84 New Salem Street in Wakefield, MA, specializes in solving the problems of residential and commercial customers in need of environmental services. Founded in 1994, CommTank, in addition to removing and installing aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks, also provides site remediation including: emergency spill response, site assessment, laboratory analysis, excavation, and site closure.

Having removed thousands of aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks from residential and commercial sites both large and small, CommTank always strives to find the most environmentally sound solution possible.

CommTank’s services are available Monday through Saturday, with emergency service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CommTank’s service area includes most areas of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. For further information please visit, or call 1-877-66 TANKS or 1-800-628-8260.