Home Appraisal FAQs - Appraisals How can a property owner identify a potential oil storage tank leak?
How can a property owner identify a potential oil storage tank leak?

Storage tanks containing home heating oil – whether they’re located underground, above ground or in the basement – can rust and leak over time, posing a number of environmental and health risks. In the event of a storage tank discharge – where heating oil comes into contact with soil or ground water – New Jersey requires homeowners to take prompt action to minimize those risks.

The following could be signs of a leak in your home heating oil tank:

  1. Any unexpected/unexplained fuel oil consumption increase that doesn’t appear to be caused by additional use of your heating system (such as during prolonged periods of cold weather).
  2. Water in your underground storage tank.
  3. Consistent problems with your oil burner.
  4. Changes in or loss of vegetation in the area over and around the tank.
  5. Oil odors in areas other than around the oil burner.
  6. Tastes, odors or other problems with your drinking water, if obtained from a well.
  7. Staining on basement walls or floors adjacent to the tank.
  8. Presence of oil or sheen in the basement sump or French drain.
  9. Oil or sheen in any nearby culverts, drainage ditches, storm drains, streams, or ponds.

For 1, 2 and 3, first contact the company that services your heating system to rule out a maintenance problem. To determine whether any of the above problems are caused by a leaking fuel oil storage tank, contact an environmental contractor. Your local health department also may be able to provide you with guidance in determining the source of the problem.

Source: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/




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