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OIL STORAGE TANKS - home
ABANDONING OIL TANKS
ABOVE GROUND OIL TANK (AST) GUIDE
BURIED OIL TANK (UST) GUIDE
HEATING OIL TYPES & PROPERTIES - home
HOME BUYERS GUIDE TO OIL TANKS
OIL SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE
OIL TANK INSPECTION & TROUBLESHOOTING
OIL TANK LEAKS & SMELLS
OIL TANK PIPING & PIPING DEFECTS
OIL TANK REGULATIONS
OIL TANK REMOVAL COs
OIL TANK SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
OIL TANK LEAK TEST METHODS
OIL TANK TESTING & REMOVAL COs
OIL TANK WATER CONTAMINATION
Spot these signs of a buried oil tank:
This is a photo guide to visual clues spotted first outdoors and second indoors to help detect and locate abandoned or buried oil tanks or the detection of evidence that an underground (or even an above ground) oil tank is or was in use at a property. The article and photographs used to show the reader ways to find buried oil tanks include examples of clues leading to the discovery of "nearly hidden" buried or underground oil tanks which were found at residential properties and which avoided very costly surprises later for the new owner.
Underground oil storage tanks, or UST's, whether still present or previously removed, involve a risk of costly oil leaks and soil contamination which may need to be addressed. Here are some investigation methods that any home buyer, owner, or home inspector can apply to reduce these risks by looking for evidence that a buried oil tank is or was at a property.
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SIGNS OF BURIED OIL TANKS- A Photo Guide to Visual Clues for Finding Buried Oil Storage Tanks - Part 1, Outdoor Clues
How to find buried oil tanks: Evidence that a buried fuel storage tank exists at a property may be direct and visually obvious, or the evidence may be subtle. Mark Cramer's photo (left) shows a pair of painted-over copper pipes penetrating a building foundation wall close to ground level - a strong suggestion of a buried oil tank at this property.
Often a series of small observations, individually not apparently very important, can add up to an increased probability that a buried fuel storage tank is or was at a property.
While environmental investigators and oil tank test companies may use magnetic scanners or even ground scanning radar to locate buried steel tanks, an astute visual inspection can often discover the presence or probable presence of a buried fuel storage tank at a property, thus suggesting that further testing is definitely in order. Here are some clues to the possible current or past presence of a buried tank at a property.
Visible oil tank fill or vent pipes protruding from the ground or flush with the ground anywhere on a property.
Mark Cramer's photo (above right) shows an oil tank fill pipe cap (rust-colored round object closer to the building wall) and an oil tank vent pipe cap (silver colored object) . Placing the oil tank vent pipe cap at ground level was probably a cosmetic decision by the homeowner, but if that area of missing leaves marks a spill line from roof runoff, we're also asking for a problem with water in the oil tank at this home.
Age and type of property: often older buildings, farms, and commercial buildings will have had a buried
tank installed even if more recently the fuel has been converted from oil to gas. Our photo shows a red pump control in front of the mowing tractor to the right of this barn.
Oil Fill and Vent Piping Location:
Amateur oil piping installations may be found still in place. Is a buried oil tank still present or not?
This undersized oil filler line indicates either that the installation is quite old or that the plumbing was not done by a professional.
Continue reading at OIL TANK FAILURE RATES or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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