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Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning & Removal in Portland, Oregon

Man performing an oil tank location in Portland, OR

Heating Oil Tank Removal

Heating oil tanks are containers that hold oil (diesel #2) to heat homes or buildings; however, they have many negatives and should, therefore, be decommissioned in place or removed altogether. Not only can they pollute the soil around the tank, but they can contaminate groundwater and pose a fire or explosion hazard. This is caused by tanks that are underground for too long and start to corrode.

Alpha Environmental, based in Portland, Oregon and serving surrounding areas, has become a go-to when it comes to heating oil tank decommissioning, investigation, assessment, decommissioning, and cleanup proven by on-call service contracts with the City of Portland and TriMet, as well as for many developers, real estate agents, and professionals in the industry. We are an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) licensed Heating Oil Tank (HOT) Service Provider.

Oil Tank Cleanup Options

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning Process in Portland, Oregon

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

  • Soil Matrix Cleanups – This process often removes most of, 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 Cleanups – 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 – a limited risk assessment closure for lower-risk sites.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Heating Oil Tanks

A tank that utilizes Diesel #2 for the purposes of heating a house/building. 

Heating oil tanks, more particularly, the underground storage tanks often leak and pose risks to human health.

Historical documentation can be found with local city/counties or potentially with Oregon DEQ but if no record is found a “tank search” can be conducted to help determine the presence of an abandoned tank. 

The DEQ has specific guidelines that must be followed for a tank to be considered “decommission”, mainly the tank must be cleaned, filled with an inert material and samples taken beneath the tank to determine if it has leaked.

The DEQ has specific guidelines that must be followed for a tank to be considered “decommission”, mainly the tank must be cleaned, filled with an inert material and samples taken beneath the tank to determine if it has leaked. 

A clean decommission can take 1-2 days on-site, depending on the difficulty of access to the tank area. 

Typical costs for decommissions can range from $1,200-1,800

To obtain decommission certification, two samples are required to be collected per DEQ. The tank certification is often required during the sale of a property and is accepted as proof of due diligence. 

Soil samples to show if the tank has leaked can be scheduled typically within 2-4 business days, depending on demand.

In the industry, utility locates are the marking by spray paint or chalk of underground utilities, such as gas lines, water lines, power lines beneath the earth. Marking these utilities are required by state as a safety precaution.

Clients often are not on property, only if access into the house is there someone home. Most of the time the activities are outside and do not need someone present. 

DEQ does not provide certification, these are provided by the service provider that has conducted the decommissioning process. 

This refers to a tank that has not based on the samples taken beneath. 

A LUST is a tank that has been confirmed to have leaked, therefore requiring a report that addresses the contamination and decommissions to be submitted to the DEQ.

A certified service provider is a company that DEQ has approved to provide the service of clean-up. It is recommended a service provider be contacted for advice. 

In order to obtain certification and closure with the DEQ for the tank decommission the leak must be addressed through a report, otherwise only “decommissioning” the tank is an incomplete project.

Closure letters from the DEQ may vary depending on when reports are sent to them and how busy the DEQ is. This process can be several weeks to over a month depending on the difficulty of the project. 

If a tank is not present on the property and believed to have been removed, there must be evidence of the previous placement of the tank, otherwise, the service provider may not be able to provide certification.

Only if it can absolutely be determined the previous placement of the tank. 

Samples often have an odor or are discolored from the contamination. 

If there is a certainty of the tank location a search can still be conducted to ensure that there is no additional tanks on the property.