Home Appraisal FAQs - Appraisals What are the typical steps to clean up a home oil tank leak?
What are the typical steps to clean up a home oil tank leak?

The following are some of the steps a contractor will take to clean up fuel oil contamination. All cleanups will differ depending on individual circumstances. These steps are described here to help you better understand the general cleanup process.

  • If the storage tank is underground and must be removed, it will be removed according to local codes and the American Petroleum Institute’s recommended practices. Local construction permits will be required from your municipality.
  • The tank will be thoroughly cleaned and properly disposed of or recycled at a scrap metal facility.
  • Once the tank has been removed, the contractor will excavate any soils believed to be contaminated above the DEP’s cleanup criteria. Soils over the tank may be separated from the contaminated soil and used as fill material, which will save on disposal and fill costs.
  • Once contaminated soil has been removed, soil remaining in the excavation site will be sampled to document the effectiveness of the cleanup. A certified laboratory will analyze the soil samples, and the results will be compared to the DEP’s soil cleanup criteria to determine whether additional cleanup is needed. Soil disposal may represent the largest part of cleanup costs. Therefore, it is important that your contractor accurately determine which soils are suitable for reuse.

What occurs during the tank removal will determine what additional work, if any, will be needed. If ground water is encountered during the excavation a ground water investigation will be necessary. If there is fuel oil or a sheen floating on the water, the floating fuel oil should be recovered and a ground water cleanup will be required. A ground water investigation will also be required if Bedrock is encountered while excavating. If these situations arise, the cleanup may become more complex.


Source: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/publications/brochures/homeowner/#cleanup



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