Step 1: Inquiring Authorities about Laws on Tanks
At the very first knowledge or sight about an underground leaking tank in your property, you need to approach your local fire prevention officer or your environmental department head about laws and regulations regarding tanks. You also need to seek requirements for underground tank removal.
Step 2: Hiring a Tank Removal Contractor
There could be a removal contractor in your city or state. You need to seek referrals from your neighbors, industry peers, the oil companies, public works department or the local fire department. You can also look into the Internet, the yellow pages or into the registry of your local business board.
When you get your lists, contact them and seek a free estimate on their service. Compare costs as fees are higher for large or difficult to reach tanks. Compare service too.
Ask them to come over to your place so they can inspect your tank. That way, they will tell you what needs to be done and that you would know how much you would spend. Don’t forget to check references too.
The contractor you hire should understand the local or state laws or regulations governing the removal of underground storage tanks. He should be able to check your tank thoroughly and identify the possible signs of contamination. Moreover, he should be licensed and insured to perform the job.
Step 3: Overseeing the Removal Process
In the part of your contractor, he should be able to perform the following functions:
• Obtain the necessary permits for the removal
• Empty or arrange for someone to empty the tank of its oil and clean out all the residues
• Excavate the tank system including its piping
• Dispose the tank system, residues, remaining oil and soil at authorized disposal sites
• Check for signs of leaks
• Separate clean soil from contaminated soil
• Provide documentation of the entire removal process and disposal
• Report the findings to you
As your contractor is undertaking the process of removing your tank, make sure your local fire department is present to observe the removal. Aside from that, they should:
• Make sure the tank and surrounding area are free of hazards
• Make sure a measurement for contamination is carried out
• Record the condition of the tank and assess whether any contamination took place
In your part, you just can sit around while the work is going one. You should observe the process from a safe distance and take notes and pictures to document the process. Take note of any problems which the removal crew may encounter. However, if any structure of your home or property is compromised during excavation, do not allow your contractor to so.
Step 4: Contamination Measurement
Within 24 hours at the time your tank is removed, you contractor or someone form the environmental protection office should perform the measurement for contamination. You should observe the measurement inspection, take note of the events and obtain reports on the measurement from your contractor and fire officials. The people in charge of the measurement should observe and record the condition of the tank and soil and test soil samples.
Step 5: Reporting Leaks or Spills
If ever there is a leak and any other sign of contamination or threats of leaks, you should report the incident to the fire department and any other concerned officials. They will advise you on the follow-up cleanup work. You should also consult an environmental consultant on this matter. Furthermore, you should check up with your insurance company and ask if your insurance coverage covers oil spill or leak at your property.
Step 6: Maintaining Complete Records
You should keep complete records of the underground tank removal process, inspection and cleanup. In the event when you sell your property or file insurance claim, you will need them. Your records should include results of the measurement, photos and notes and reports from the contractor and fire department.