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Regulatory Requirements

  • For an abandoned heating oil tank (HOT), the State regulation is that in a real estate property transaction that the tank be emptied of heating oil, the oil properly managed (reused or recycled), and documented
  • There is no regulation requiring a property owner to collect soil samples or decommission their HOT
  • Registering a decommissioned HOT with the DEQ, that was not found to be leaking, is voluntary. Samples must be collected to register a decommissioning with the DEQ
  • The only entities that can perform HOT work are the homeowner or a licensed DEQ HOT Services Provider
  • Any Heating Oil Tank with soil sample results of 50 ppm or higher must be reported to the DEQ by the licensed Service Provider within 72 hours
  • Even if samples are not collected or analyzed, but contamination is obviously present, it still must be reported as a leaking tank
  • The DEQ does not distinguish between an overfill and a leaking tank
  • If a tank is found to be leaking, the DEQ requires the tank be immediately pumped out to stop the release
New regulations in March of 2000 had two major changes:
1. The Licensed Service Provider became responsible for certification and future liability. Unlike all other leaking underground storage tanks, the DEQ longer issues “Nor Further Action” letters (NFAs) for HOTs
2. From a regulatory standpoint, a tank is not considered to be “decommissioned” unless soil samples have been collected. You cannot certify a HOT as being decommissioned without soil samples
The certification for heating oil tank decommissioning and cleanups are now provided by DEQ Licensed Service Providers

  • In Oregon, soil samples are usually part of the buyer’s due diligence
  • If the tank is abandoned, HOTs are usually requested to be decommissioned and certified according to DEQ standards
  • The buyer or lender may sometimes request a decommissioned tank be registered with the DEQ. To register a decommissioning with the DEQ requires the following:
  • Generally speaking, before March of 2000, unless specifically stated in a certification or report, samples were usually not collected.  A buyer may request the tank be certified in these instances
  • If a tank has leaked, it must be reported to the DEQ
Underground tanks that have been reported to the DEQ (includes reported leaking tanks and registered decommissioned tanks).

TIP – You many want to try just putting in the street number only (ex: 11080) and then hit “Lookup.”  A list of tanks with that number will appear; then simply look for the street name.

If tank has been removed, there are ways to determine where the HOT may have been located (tracing lines, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), look for fill material, etc.)

Request any documentation and if there is no documentation or record of soil samples, we recommend:

  • Performing a search (if necessary)
  • If tank is found, verify if filled
  • Collecting samples

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