Heating Oil Tanks

When your underground storage tank is used for heating oil:

There are no Federal or State underground storage tank regulations mandating removal or testing of home heating oil tanks. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s (NDEP) storage tank program has no requirements regarding who can remove, test, or abandon a heating oil tank.

Heating oil tank installation, removal, and in-place abandonment may be overseen by your local fire jurisdiction. You should also contact the local building department to see if there are further requirements to meet.

The State Petroleum Fund may reimburse the owner for certain cleanup activities if a leak, or release, is discovered from their heating oil tank. The Petroleum Fund does not reimburse for removal, up-grading, or replacement 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 may be necessary. If the concentration is over 100 mg/kg TPH, 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 by the property owner, or the owner may choose to hire a contractor (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.

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

In some cases lending institutions may require some form of documentation 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 without concurrent assessment of the area for contamination would preclude your property from receiving State Fund reimbursement should contamination be discovered at a later date.  If cleanup is required under State regulations, the total cleanup costs would be the responsibility of the owner.

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

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