Underground oil tank removal costs

I have a rough idea of what it costs to have an underground oil tank from a residential property when it is not leaking and there are no complications. I also hear horror stories of it sometimes costing many thousands of dollars when the tank was found to have leaked (stories like 50K, 75K, or even more). I know that it costs a lot more when a leaking tank is near a house or structure that needs to be jacked up or supported so contaminated dirt can be excavated from underneath and around the structure.
My real question is, if an underground oil tank on a residential property needs to be removed, and it is found to have been leaking, -- and it is NOT near any structures and is out in the open -- is the cost of removal more or less self-limiting? In other words, is it mostly the cost of removing the tank and removing and disposing of the contaminated dirt around it, and then refilling the hole with clean soil? If so, would a situation like that tend NOT to cost in the 10's of thousands of dollars, and be more like under 10K to get the job done?
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You'd be wise to ask some folks in City Hall about the rules and regulations as they apply in your locality. A call to your state EPA would also be a good move. Then when you talk to excavators or removal firms, you will be able to determine who are the competent ones and which are flim-flam artists. With respect to your price concerns, a straightforward removal should be well under $10K. If it takes a two man operation two days at $200 an hour, you're out $6400. IMO a small backhoe and truck should be in that ballpark most places. With construction work getting slow as it is, negotiate well and it will work out. Good luck,
Joe
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Why not get cheap out of work laborers and save many thousands, if you notify agencys they will be a calling you. I took out mine. A neighbor even took the tank for a fire pit.
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-snip-

Unless you're in Manhattan I can't imagine a simple job costing more than a couple thousand. But there can be so many mitigating factors that asking folks on a newsgroup who don't know where you live and can't see the local conditions is kinda like asking 'how much does a car cost'.
Also check your state tax code. NY has offered a tax rebate of several hundred dollars for removal/replacement of residential oil tanks. They've done it at least twice in the last decade for a couple years at a time.
Jim
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RonABC wrote:

the top open and fill it with sand, landscape over it and plant grass. Of course you should pump out any petroleum products in there and dispose of it at a facility.
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wrote:

Before anyone thinks they can remove an oil tank without any permits and make it go away, they should consider the disclosure laws for the state they live in. Many states have real estate disclosure laws and specific check list forms which must be filled out by the seller prior to sale. So, if you remove a tank without the proper permits and procedures, the next step in many states would be that you have to lie about it when you sell the property. Also, it's customary today for many buyers and mortgage companies to ask specific questions about whether the property ever had an oil tank. And if you lie about it you open yourself up to not only civil suit from the new owner, but potential fines and action from the state/municipality. If the tank is not leaking, the proper and legal removal process is not all that expensive and is the right thing to do.
To answer the OP's question, which no one here has really addressed, in the case of a tank removal where it has been leaking, but a structure isn;t involved, it still could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. It all depends on how much oil has leaked out and the extent of the resulting cleanup. That could be anything from a couple trucks of dirt for a small leak, which probably would be under 10K, to many loads followed by groundwater pumping and cleansing, etc. if the plume has spread and even worse if it's spread to a neighbors property, etc.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Or, As Thomas Huxley so aptly put it:
"There is no right way to do the wrong thing."
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It would be a cold day in hell if I payed tens of thousands of dollars for something that somebody else put into the ground. If it was disclosed by the prior owner then it's up to the buyer to have it removed by the seller before accepting a contract. As a matter of fact I think it's the real estate brokers responsibility to see that these things get done.
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Yes and no.
I had a tank removed by an environmental services company. One of the soil samples taken from below the tank indicated minor leakage. A test of the well water came back clean. The information was submitted to the state EPA who decided no action needed to be taken. Case closed, oil tank gone, and I have the paperwork to show that it was done right. (This all cost $1500 or $2000 - don't remember which.)
But, what if there'd been oil in the well water? How can that be cleaned up for any price?
The guy who did the work told me about one of the local oil suppliers who somehow dumped 500 gallons of fuel oil into somebody's backyard. The cleanup cost was so high that the oil company ended up buying the whole property.
Research your local regulations. My state has a fund that reimburses homeowners for heating oil tank cleanup costs. You might find something like that. The government really doesn't want to bankrupt homeowners. They're after the big offenders - the gas stations that pump thousands of gallons of fuel into the groundwater.
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Why not dig it up yourself? (Of course get proper permits, etc.) Might take several months, but do a little work each day. You will feel fit and trim by the time this project is done!
P.S. Might want to wait until spring if you live up north!
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Thanks all for your ideas and suggestions. I'm on the East coast where permits, testing, etc. are required for underground tank removal and no one even dreams about taking tanks out on their own.
I was mostly wondering what the general maximum exposure might be if an underground tank was removed and was found to have leaked, but was not near any structures. Apparently, the cost "could" turn out to be very high if the leak spread to any underground water supply.

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When I lived in Levittown, PA the oil delivery company insured the furnace and the underground tank fairly cheap. The policy included an annual cleaning and 'tune up' of the furnance. There was an inspection required to start the policy but it was only a visual of the furnace to make sure it was not 'modified' and putting a stick in the tank to check for water.
Luckily I never needed to test the warranty on the tank but it included all removal costs including cleanup.
Disclaimer, the Levittown houses are all slab houses so no structural concerns and it was PA so not CA wanna be laws like NJ, NY, etc.
I would start with your oil company, they probably have the most experience with your area.
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In my state (VA), a homeowner can remove an underground oil tank on their own. A permit is required. A visual inspection is required. A soil test is -not- required.
If you call a professional, all of the above is required plus a soil test.
Since what you don't know probably isn't going to hurt you, there is some incentive to DIY.
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I am an oil tank contractor on the East Coast. If you are within my territory, an oil tank decomission cost starts at around $ 1,050.00 There are other incidental costs such as permits costs and disposal fees. The name of my company is MH Tank Co Inc. Please feel free to contact me. My telephone # in NJ is 973-390-5356 and my NY # is 845-544-2330 my web address is mhtank.com
Respectfully,
Mike Hoensch
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Thanks. I am in Southern New Jersey. As I wrote, I do have an idea of what a typical tank removal can cost if there is no leak. But, what I'm wondering about is how much it could end up costing if a tank is not located near a building but is found to have leaked when it is removed. Can you post any information about what your experience has been in terms of the cost when tanks that you removed turned out to have leaked? I know you can't say for sure without seeing each specific situation, but I do hear stories every so often about the cost being 50K or more once a tank has leaked.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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Call Steve Rich, he'll remove it for FREE http://www.steve-rich.com/services/free_tank_removal.shtml
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I'm a little skeptical of anyone who says they will do it for free... there are a lot of costs associated with it, especially if it is an ISRA issue in NJ. I work in this industry too. We'll be happy to answer your questions if you call! We're at 723-384-9506, and a http://www.bluestonecorp.net/UST.html . Good luck!
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the company gets paid from state grant money or a loan if the homeowner doesnt qualify for the grant.
program makes sense better to remove old tanks properly rather than DIY folks mucking around filling a rustingf tank half full of oil with concrete, making clean up much worse and contaminating ground water
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http://www.steve-rich.com/services/free_tank_removal.shtml
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