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Who Reports a Tank Leak?

Feb 14, 2019 8:15:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne

What is the process of the Notification of Requirements when an Underground Oil Tank Leaks (Discharges)?

There are many conflicting concerns regarding who makes the phone call for the notification of discharge to the NJDEP (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) when an Underground Oil Tank in the state of New Jersey is found to be leaking.  Is it the homeowner, or contractor who removed the tank?  Could it be the nosy neighbor watching from kitchen window in the next yard over?

Historically, the reporting of a discharge was the responsibility of a knowledgeable party.  Meaning if you knew you were supposed to report a leak, you were the individual who should do it.

 reportable tank leaks

The NJDEP amended and updated their Heating Oil Tank System Remediation Rules on August 6, 2018. According to those rules, "Upon discovery of discharge, the owner shall immediately notify the Department by calling the Department hotline at 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337)".  The owner of the property where the underground oil tank is located, and where the leak (discharge) was discovered is legally required to call in the discharge to the NJDEP at time of discovery of the discharge. (7:26F-1.6 Notification Requirements).

There are other processes and concerns as well. That nosy neighbor may be concerned if your property is leaking oil onto theirs which is highly unlikely.  But the NJDEP has rules and regulations and in 7:26C-1.7 Notification and public outreach - "Immediately after discharges commences a person or persons responsible for a discharge who knows or should know of a discharge shall IMMEDIATELY notify the Department".  It is also noted that the person responsible for providing the remediation will notify the NJDEP if any of the of the following is identifiable on the site:

  1. Contamination caused by a discharge that has not been already known to Department
  2. An immediate environmental concern
  3. Contamination, that was previously reported to Department has been determined to have migrated onto the site from another site.

(If the discharge occurred from an historic fill site the person is not required to notify the department regarding b and c above.)

What the NJDEP amended regulations are providing, is the owner of the underground oil tank, if the tank is to discharge oversees making the phone to the NJDEP (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) and providing the Department with the proper information regarding their tank and the discharge of the oil into the soil.

So when a property owner finds a leak that has occurred on their property, the leak should be reported by the owner. If you are buying a property and do testing and find contamination the contamination must be made aware to the owner so it can be reported. 

Bottom line discharges are required to be reported, if you know of a discharge and that it is not reported you need to report the discharge. 

Please don't hesitate to call Curren Environmental


 and we will answer any questions you may have regarding your Underground Oil Tanks.


Tiffany Byrne

Written by Tiffany Byrne

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