What should you know about tank decommissionings?

All underground heating oil tanks which have been out of service for a one-year period, need to be decommissioned according to 2015 IFC 3404.

At the time a residence or commercial property is sold or refinanced, the bank will require proof of decommissioning.

Each city and county within the State of Washington has its own guidelines for decommissioning and its own pricing for the required permits.

A typical heating oil tank lasts thirty to forty years before corrosion causes leaking; however this varies widely depending on the properties of the surrounding soil. A leaking tank will contaminate your soil and possibly your neighbor’s soil. These oil leaks can migrate into ground water, which may serve as a source of drinking water. It is also possible that old or unused heating oil tanks will cave in, causing sink holes.

Property owners can be held liable for contamination caused by a leaking tank on their property. In fact, past or present ownership of contaminated property may result in liability.

Any cleanup that needs to be done at the site should follow the amended 1996 edition of the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), Chapter 173-340 WAC.

If you have an active heating oil tank, you may be eligible for coverage through the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA).