Pumping out Underground Oil Tank

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I have an underground oil tank that is almost full of home heating oil. I believe it is a 500 gallon tank. It is for a heating system that is decommishioned. I'd like to get the tank emptied to avoid the possibility of future problems if the tank fails. So far, the one oil company I called wants abouit $500 to take away the oil. I was really expecting that they might pump it out for te value of the oil they would get, or maybe even give me 50 cents a gallon of something.
Any suggestions? Should I bother calling a bunch of other oil companies, or would I do better advertising it as free for the taking on Craigslist or similar? I think this initial estimate is crazy.
Bottom line: Even if I have to pay to have it pumped out, I still feel I need to do it. I'm just hoping to do it on the cheap, and don't really understand why the company I called would need so much money for this. It sure wasn't $500 labor for these guys to pump the oil into the tank!
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On Fri, 18 Sep 2009 09:45:13 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote:

Ever feel like those who can do a pumping job, got you by the balls?
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On Sep 18, 8:45 am, snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote:

You are wise to get it pumped out, and the sooner the better in terms of the usability of the oil and avoiding leakage. I don't know what your chances would be with oil companies. I am guessing you could easily give it away via Craigslist or a note at the local supermarket; country folk are enterprising and thrifty, and a load of heating oil for free would be a godsend for somebody. Would take multiple trips for someone with a pickup truck; 500 gallons of heating oil is about 3500 lbs. Will you have the tank pulled out after that? -- H
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wrote:

I'd post on craigslist. Also might want to check any websites for folks using biodiesel for autos. They are enterprising and have equipment to pick up oil. The heating oil would work fine for them.
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On Fri, 18 Sep 2009 07:56:06 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

For now, I'm just interested in having it emptied. I expect to put the involved property on the market in a few years, and I may opt to remove the tank before that if it looks like a potential sticking point. If I can render it environmentally safe in-situ, I may just leave it for whomever buys the property. They will be tearing down old buildings and doing plenty of excavation work no matter what they use the property for.
I used to know a guy that had a diesel Mercedes. He had extra oil tanks in his barn and used to buy contents of home oil tanks from people converting to other fuels. He made many trips with his collection of 5 gallon jerry cans! Yes, he knew it was illegal.
Properly stored diesel oil can be kept perfectly usable for decades.
If the property were closer to my home, I'd consider using it up myself, via the jerry can system. It's too far away for that to be practical.
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on 9/18/2009 9:45 AM (ET) snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote the following:

Check with other oil companies in your area. Your 500 gals of oil is probably worth $1000 or more depending upon where you live.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote:

-snip-
Keep calling. Or post on Craigslist. There are guys that are making a killing picking up used oil.
A few years ago I changed my tank. My oil company came and pumped the old one out at no charge- and credited my account for the 200 gallons of oil at the going rate. 6 weeks later I called them and told them the new tank was ready to fill. The delivered the oil- 10 cents cheaper than the oil they took in the spring.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote:

As with any work around the house check out a number of possibilites, get prices from several, they will all vary to some extent.
In some cities, there are charity organizations that will arrange to have the oil removed to supply welfare cases with heating oil for the winter. With winter on the way, they will probably be looking for some supplies.
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On Sep 18, 9:45 am, snipped-for-privacy@mickymall.com wrote:

you're about to be lucky to have new friends at the local farms, just make some phone calls and make some trades for fruits and vegetables etc. (i'll think aloud that) it needs to be tested for water leaking into the tank or sediment if it has not been in use during your ownership. other possibility: a close neighbor of yours uses oil for heat or drives a diesel.
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What difference does it make with regard to testing if he did or did not use it? There are plenty of tanks that have been in use continually with no problems noted until one day they are tested and found to be leaking or oil shows up in groundwater, etc. If he's going to do anything with the tank, the first step is to either go with a professional removal company or go talk to the code officials and find out the local ordinances. In many places you need a permit and certain steps must be performed, one of which is a leak test, especially if the tank is going to be filled and left in place.

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On Sep 19, 8:19�am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Since owner MUST disclose tank at home sale time, and government requires proper licensed removal and disposal with all the proper permits etc.
owner far better off to bite the bullet and do it the legal way now!
lets say he gets someone with a backhoe to remove it no paperwork at home sale time the tanks existence will likely show up and owner will be forced to explain how tank was removed lack of perpaperwork and dig up area to prove its gone and no oil found.
may cost more to do removal twice on the cheap now, and later meet all the rules.
new homeowner will be unable to get homeowners insurance without proof tank is gone no contamination.
no homeowners means no sale since no one can get a mortage:(
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Since owner MUST disclose tank at home sale time, and government requires proper licensed removal and disposal with all the proper permits etc.
owner far better off to bite the bullet and do it the legal way now!
lets say he gets someone with a backhoe to remove it no paperwork at home sale time the tanks existence will likely show up and owner will be forced to explain how tank was removed lack of perpaperwork and dig up area to prove its gone and no oil found.
may cost more to do removal twice on the cheap now, and later meet all the rules.
new homeowner will be unable to get homeowners insurance without proof tank is gone no contamination.
*********************************************************************************
I'm not so sure. Why do you have to disclose something that is not there? Hiding the tank, yes, that would be a violation, but if it was removed 15 years ago, who care? Who knows?
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

*********************************************************************************
Oh, it's just Haller scattering his own insecurities and FUD again... :(
Other than it would be better to remove/fill-in before there's a leak and actual contamination there's little to nothing in this post has an basis for it other than irrational fear of the far-off "what if?" syndrome.
If all his "no insurance" tall tales were true the insurance companies would be out of business for lack of anybody they could underwrite... :)
--
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A suggestion:
Besides companies who specialize in pumping out tanks (of all kinds, oil, septic etc. etc.) there are companies who test, remove, renovate under ground piping to such tanks etc. The brother of one of my neighbours owns such an outfit. And I understand that he has recovered some oils, and filtered it. And in fact ran/runs one his (diesel) pick ups on recovered oil.
Such an owner might be good source of advice and be a person would also be able to tell you what is the law relating to leaving the tank in the ground, or not!
We have had some dramatic and expensive accidents here due to older tanks and domestic oil installations leaking into the ground and despite our had soil and rocky conditions the oil travelling hundreds of feet onto and under other properties.
In one such instance the hole that had to be dug was large enough to add a large basement and home addition on top of that! The addition then became rented in order to try and recover, over a period of time, some of the costs of the 'clean up'!
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Besides companies who specialize in pumping out tanks (of all kinds, oil, septic etc. etc.) there are companies who test, remove, renovate under ground piping to such tanks etc. The brother of one of my neighbours owns such an outfit. And I understand that he has recovered some oils, and filtered it. And in fact ran/runs one his (diesel) pick ups on recovered oil.
**************************************************************
Good idea. Check waste oil companies. We use one (EPA registered, etc) that takes our used hydraulic oil for 10¢ a gallon)
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you are taking the other discussion and trying to apply it here.
Pennsylvania has that same form has anything ever broke?
my neighbor ignored and didnt report her bad terracotta sewer pipe. after selling the home the new owner had old owner pay 15 grand for line replacement, driveway replacement, yard and wall restoration.
laws have changed a lot.
people like bud havent experienced how things have changed
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I'm sure the laws vary significantly from state to state. But many are very strict about oil tanks. Ed, you live in NJ right? NJ has a real estate disclosure form with a series of questions that every seller must fill out and sign. One of those asks if there is now or has ever been any underground storage tanks on the property. And if you say yes, then an explanation is required.
The form is actually pretty stupid and looks like a high school student could have done better. Among the more stupid questions is whether the roof has ever had any repairs. And if so, then again you have to explain. I can understand if they asked if you did any repairs in the last 2 years, or if you know that the roof leaks. But what roof hasn't had some repairs at some point in time. To comply with all this nonsense, each house would have to have a maintenance log like an aircraft from the time it was built.
I have to agree with Bob. To sell the property without a lot of trouble and potential buyers walking, he's very likely going to have to deal with the tank. And like Bob said, it's much better to spend a couple thousand and do it right instead of opening up a whole different can or worms.
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2009 06:55:44 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

This tank is a very tiny issue for this large property. The ONLY isssue I am concerned about is the difference between a 5 gallon oil leak and a 500 gallon oil leak. This property has structures on it that are going to be demolished by whomever buys the property. They will have to deal with lead, asbestos and whatever else lurks there. There will be a lot of earth moving, too. Having to remove a mostly empty tank will not upset any potential buyers in this case. The price of the real estate will ultimately reflect all of these issues.
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bob haller wrote:

"We went away for the weekend to visit a sick aunt whom the doctors diagnosed with Chastic Fibrosis (a disease usually found in Star-Faced Moles) that limited her ability to tie her shoes even though she mostly wore thong sandles and when we returned home, exhausted yet somehow invigorated, possibly because we spent the week breathing the ammonia cloud from the hundreds of chickens our aunt kept pinned next to the house because she ate at least two dozen eggs every day which the doctors were certain had no bearing on her disability, we found this big honkin' hole in our backyard!
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On Sat, 19 Sep 2009 05:19:46 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

All I am doing right now is looking to get the excess oil out of the tank. If I eventually decide to have it removed, the professionals I hire will be taking care of getting a permit, etc.
My thinking is that a 5 gallon oil leak is cheaper to clean up than a 500 gallon leak.
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