If you think the scariest thing lurking in your backyard is a skunk or a bear, you may be surprised to find out that there are things that are far more common, and far more dangerous back there than wandering wildlife. Underground oil tanks are very common throughout the North Shore and Metro Vancouver, and while you can’t see them, they do pose a significant environmental, health, and safety risk to you and neighbouring properties.
Oil tanks were very common vessels for storing oil used in residential and commercial heating up until the 1960 s when oil was replaced with more efficient natural gas. However, as many homeowners have discovered, these underground oil tanks were very rarely removed and have been sitting there deteriorating ever since – and given that the estimated life span of these tanks is 25 or so years, they are way past their expiry date.
Oil that leaks from an underground oil tank seeps into the soil, can contaminate nearby water sources, and, in worst case scenarios, could pose a fire or explosive safety hazard. Because of the liability risk, it is very difficult to buy or sell a home that doesn’t have documentation to show that underground oil tanks have been removed in compliance with municipal regulations.
Now that you know about the dangers, what should you do if you have, or suspect that you have, an underground oil tank located on your property? Your first step should be getting confirmation of the size and location of the tank through a reputable contractor. Specialized scanning equipment will be used to confirm the presence and location of an underground oil tank, and a plan for oil tank removal can begin.
Oil tank removal in West Vancouver must be done in accordance with environmental and municipal regulations, and construction permits are required. Once all the necessary documentation is in order, removal can begin.
Depending on the location and size of the tank that needs to be removed, there could be some significant disruption to your property. In addition to the equipment that needs to be brought in to dig up and remove the tank, there could be contamination and remediation issues that need to be dealt with. Contamination of the soil occurs if there has been oil leaking from the underground tank and can be very costly to remediate, however remediation and testing of the soil will be required by district bylaws.
Before hiring a company to take care of your oil tank removal, do a little research and do not feel afraid to ask specific questions about the process. You have the right to make a well informed decision when it comes to protecting your investment and the health and safety of your family.