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Apr 17
how to dispose of old heating oil tanks

The Problem With Heating Oil Tanks

What Are Heating Oil Tanks & Why Are They An Issue?

An estimated 100,000 properties in Oregon contain heating oil tanks, according to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in an article published by KATU News. Heating oil tanks, which hold oil used to heat homes or buildings, have been found to be a potential source of contamination of soil and groundwater, according to These tanks can pose a fire and explosion hazard and heating oil for leaking underground tanks may impact human health. According to KATU, heating oil tanks can also cause exposure to “potentially cancer-causing substances.”

How Do Harmful Substances Escape Heating Oil Tanks?

If heating oil tanks are underground for too long, they start to corrode. If you have or suspect you may have a heating oil tank on your property, several services and options are available. Since 1995, Alpha Environmental has provided services on all phases of Underground Storage Tanks in Portland, Oregon, successfully closing every contracted project.

Heating Oil Tank Investigation & Decommission

Alpha Environmental’s heating oil tank investigation and assessment services include a thorough investigation using a Schonstedt magnetic locator, line-tracing, and visual evidence. We also have a number of databases with underground storage tank documentation.

Once a tank is located, we proceed with an assessment of the tank to find if there are issues from the tank resulting in contamination of nearby soil. Depending on the finding of the assessment, remediation & decommissioning tasks are completed accordingly.

HOT Cleanup Options

If an issue is found when inspecting a heating oil tank, there are multiple tank cleanup methods that Alpha Environmental utilizes:

  • Soil Matrix Cleanup: This process often removes most, if not all, of the contaminated soil at a heating oil tank cleanup site or covers low impact closures where limited contamination is present.
  • Risk-Based Decision Making Cleanup: This process potentially allows closure with some of the contamination on a property if it can be proven by DEQ regulations that leaving the pollution from the heating oil tank will not impact human or environmental health. These types of tank cleanups are often used when removing contamination would impact structures or when costs are too high or cannot successfully remove all contamination.
  • General Remedy Cleanup: This is a limited risk assessment closure for lower-risk sites.

If you are in need of heating oil tank investigation, decommission or cleanup services, or would like to learn more, give us a call at 503-406-6686.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.