Dangers of Underground Oil Tanks

Underground Oil Tanks NJWhen you own a home, the land the structure sits on is just as important to maintain and keep safe as the home, itself. While there are issues that homeowners face that are visible and obvious, such as land cracking, drainage problems, sinkholes, and lack of fertile soil, there are also dangers lurking below the surface which can pose serious risks to the environment and your personal health; namely, soil contamination.

Soil Contamination

Soil contamination occurs when an underground oil tank has begun to leak. For years, when new homes were constructed, they were heated with oil, which was stored in underground tanks. These tanks were sturdy, but they weren’t expected to last forever. Unfortunately, because many tanks are out of sight, they also fall out of mind, as homeowners cannot conduct regular, visual checks of the equipment. While an oil tank can remain safely underground for years, the longer the tank remains, the higher the chances for leakage. Tanks installed before the late 1990’s have a life expectancy of 15-20 years and the majority have reached their expiration date. Even a small leak can cause serious damage if not discovered for a long period of time.

Inspecting Your Property

engineer testing soil near an underground oil tanks for signs of contaminationHomeowners can conduct visual inspections of the property to look for clues to the possibility of an underground tank, or for evidence of a previously removed tank that may have left contaminated soil and water in its wake. Prior to any visual inspection, homeowners can consult with local oil companies to uncover any previous deliveries to the address. In the basement of a house, homeowners can search for old oil tank fillers, vent pipes, gauges or valves which may be hidden under stones, cans, or other debris. A look at foundation walls and floors can demonstrate evidence of oil stains left behind when tanks were removed. Outside, a homeowner can look for areas of the property where there is no growth, areas that appear to have been excavated and refilled, and, more drastically, small pools of oil.

Oil that seeps out of the tank, even one drop at a time, can infiltrate the soil, rendering it largely infertile and poisoning any plants which are able to survive the contamination. This can cause a problem for wildlife in the area who feeds on local fauna, as well as for larger wildlife who feeds on the smaller creatures or humans who eat what grows. A larger concern is that the oil can spread and infiltrate the groundwater. This poses a danger to anyone living near the contaminated water, and poses a great concern for those who rely on well water for their consumption. Consumed contaminated groundwater can cause immediate effects, such as stomach discomfort, which can lead to larger issues and continued ingestion can lead to cancer and reproductive abnormalities.

How We Can Help

These dangers are why ERC is committed to providing your family with thorough detection, removal and remediation of your oil tank and soil. With our flat rate, you will never be charged hidden fees while keeping your family safe. That is our peace of mind guarantee.