Heating Oil Tanks

When your underground storage tank is used for heating oil:

There are no underground storage tank regulations mandating removal or testing of home heating oil tanks. Home heating oil tanks are considered "unregulated" tanks under the State and Federal Underground Storage Tank laws administered by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP).

Heating oil tank installation, removal, and in-place abandonment may be coordinated by your local fire jurisdiction. You should also contact your local building department to see if they have any further requirements to meet.

The State has no special requirements regarding who can remove, test, or abandon a heating oil tank.

The State's Petroleum Fund" may reimburse the owner for certain clean-up activities if a leak, or release, is discovered. The Petroleum Fund does not reimburse for removal or up- grading of tanks.

State law requires releases of petroleum products greater than 25 gallons, or with greater than 3 cubic yards of soil affected, or in any quantity on or in groundwater, be reported to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Spill Hotline at 775-688-2830 or toll free within Nevada 1-888-331-6337, within 24 hours, or the first business day, of the discovery.

Contaminated material, greater than the minimum reportable quantities (above), should not be removed until samples are collected to determine the oils concentration. If the concentration of oil in the soil is below 100 mg/kg TPH (milligrams of oil per kilogram of soil for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons) no excavation of material will be necessary. If the concentration is over 100 mg/kg TPH then the contaminated area may be required to be cleaned-up and the material properly disposed of, with regulatory concurrence by the NDEP.  See the Site Cleanup Program for additional information.

Removal of a heating oil tank on residential property may be done directly by the property owner, or the owner may choose to hire a contractor for portions, or all, of the task (see local codes). A consultant who specializes in these type of projects can also be hired to lead you through the process. NDEP has a list of Certified Tank Handlers as well as Certified Environmental Managers for all areas of the State, however certified specialists are not required for residential heating oil systems.

There is no way to know if your tank is truly leaking unless a site assessment at the property is done. Since there is no Federal or State requirement to conduct an assessment of the material surrounding the tank, the decision to find out is up to the property owner.

In some cases lending institutions may require some form of documentation be available to prove the tank has caused no environmental contamination before a loan for a property transaction can be approved. This requirement varies depending on the lending agency and is not a State or Federal regulatory mandate.

In-place abandonment (i.e.- filling the tank with an inert substance) or removal of a tank prior to assessing the area for contamination would preclude your property from receiving State Fund reimbursement should a problem be discovered at a later date. By State law, if contamination exists, it may be required to be cleaned up. However, since the tank may have been previously filled, or removed, the tank would not be eligible for reimbursement from the State Petroleum Fund. The total clean up cost would be the responsibility of the owner for any situation in which closure is initiated without a site assessment.

If you have any further questions contact us at (775) 687-9368.

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