My Oil Tank Leaked, What Do I Do Now?

Do you have an oil tank that was removed?   Were you told that the tank leaked?   Were there no obvious sign of oil?  Were there small pin holes in the tank?   Were you told that the oil tank cleanup will cost $10,000.00 to $15,000.00.  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need a professional second opinion about your leaking oil tank.  80% of the callers we get that answer yes to every question we have found do not need remediation.

If your oil tank was removed and you have have no soil sample laboratory data with the Petroleum level in the soil (EPH or EXtractabe Petroleum Hydrocarbons) then you do not know if the tank leak requires remediation.  The NJDEP allows a limited amount of oil to remain from a leaking tank if the
levels are within the specified range and can also pass two additional analysis.

removed oil tank testing

The above photos shows an area where an oil tank was removed.  The sandy fill encompasses the tank grave.   Five soil borings were advanced within the tank grave (four sidewall borings and 1 center boring).  The boring locations are represented by the orange cones.

The NJDEP allows EPH (Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbon) levels above 1000 ppm but below 5100 ppm to remain in place if certain criteria and site specific factors are right.   Based on the EPH levels found in the tank excavation testing can be performed to present a case that although petroleum levels are present in soils, the petroleum compounds will not leach out from the soils.  

NJDEP soil standards are as follows:

 <1000 ppm for EPH:  No remedial action required

1000 to 5100 ppm EPH, contingent Naphthalene (6ppm maximum allowable) & 2-Methylnapthalene (5ppm maximum allowable).  If samples exceed for either compound, Synthetic Precipitation Leachate Procedure (SPLP) analysis required, results to be below 390 ug/L

>5100 ppm EPH: Soil remediation is required.

* samples must be stored at 4 to 2 degrees Celsius until analyzed.  Samples must be extracted within 14 days and extracts must be analyzed within 40 days of extraction.

If you want to evaluate a removed tank location to determine if the tank leak occured to the extent that remediation is warranted, you would aquired samples from the former tank area.  To thoroughly a tank ecavtion all your borings must be INSIDE the area.  For a 500 gallon tank location, you would advance soil borings within a rectangle size area measuring 5.5" by 48" wide.  To Compliance Sample your former tank excavation, you must not have any EPH levels above 5100 ppm and you must obtain additional samples from the tank area to confirm that all EPH levels are below 5100 ppm.   In essence you are obtaining soil samples from the four sidewalls of the tank grave, as well as deeper samples to prove that the tank release was small and petroleum levels are within permissible concentrations. If these samples (typically six soil samples) are within standard, then Curren Environmental  can submit a report to the NJDEP asking for closure. This is what is called an NJDEP UHOT (Unregulated Heating Oil Tank) submission.  The submission includes a detailed report of the procedures followed to investigate a removed tank location as well an an NJDEP UHOT questionaire.  The report and questionaire are submitted to the NJDEP with a $400.00 fee.   Upon the NJDEP's review of the submission, the property owner will receive a No Further Action (NFA) letter for the tank leak, which closes the tank leak out as an issue as it provides approval from the NJDEP that the site is in compliance with the applicable environmental regulations pertaining to the tank.

Tank excavtion testing

 Compliance sampling a removed tank location is sigificantly less expensive than performing remediation (contaminated soil removal). 


Home heating oil tank leak