Hot Environmental Topics

Should you be concerned an oil tank was replaced?

Jun 28, 2022 11:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock

It is not uncommon that Curren receives phone calls regarding a person purchasing a home with an in-use oil tank.  The common question is that even though the house has a new tank and should they be concerned about any other tanks on the property?   Another question asked is how long the new tank will be expected to last?

Should I be concerned a tank was replaced?

But our reality for the real concern is why was the old tank replaced?

In our culture we rarely replace an item before it breaks, newer and better cell phones excluded.

As an environmental company, we find that the replacement of an oil tank is because there was an issue with the old tank, but what was the issue with that old tank? Perhaps water entered the tank and the heater shut off or perhaps they noticed a loss of oil.    Maybe sludge built up in the tank and the heater could no longer pull oil from the tank for fuel.

Not to be a pessimist, but in our 30-plus years in business, we have found most people replace tanks because they had to, meaning the tank had a problem.   Think about yourself, have you replaced a heater or water heater before it had a problem?  How about a dishwasher or washer and dryer?  Well, the same reasoning occurs with oil tanks.

Replaced oil tanks are a red flag

Whatever the cause we have found that we have an approximate 70% probability of finding contamination from the old tank.  This means if the old tank is still in the ground we remove it and find contamination.   We find the tank was removed from the ground sometime in the past, we do soil borings and find contamination.   This also relates to Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs).  We find contamination may have leaked from AST both outside and inside the home.      Tank owners for sure hope no one looks for contamination, but when we have a client buying a home or even selling a home, we have "the Talk" about tanks leaking and contamination associated with the leak.  The expense of a clean-up?   Well on average you could buy a new Tesla with the money spent to clean up a tank leak. 


The photo below was a leaking tank and yes the cost was equal to a Tesla.

why are new oil tanks a concern?

We had a young couple buy a home that had an in-ground tank (UST) and an in-use AST.  Curren removed the tank before purchase and bingo it leaked.   We returned to define the contamination and yes it migrated to the neighbor's property (just by a few feet).  Clean-up was budgeted at $42,000.   Now the parents of the young couple and the attorney want a conference call, to discuss the cleanup.  A posed question was "Is this a large cleanup"?   Our answer is no.   SILENCE.   The family and attorney for the buyers were taken back since that much money could redo a bathroom or kitchen or both, which by the way the house needed.    So they were surprised a tank leak could cost so much and they were also taken back by thinking a newer tank was better.

Look, if you manage tanks in three states for over three decades and you become an expert.

Call the experts  at 888-301-1050

*Oh and yes the photo below is from one of our projects in the 1990s.




David C Sulock

Written by David C Sulock

Subscribe to Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

see all

Recent Posts