Oil Tanks (Home Heating)
Residential heating oil storage tanks have been installed and used in Canada for over 60 years. There are two types: above ground tanks (typically found in basements or outside of homes) and underground tanks (buried). Many of these tanks are now abandoned or unused, as alternative heating sources – such as natural gas, propane, and electricity – have become available.
Oil tanks are a concern because they are a potential source of contamination of soil, waterways and nearby flora and fauna. They also pose a fire and explosion hazard under certain conditions.
Oil tanks are metal, and as such, must be recycled once they are safely decommissioned.
How do I go green?
Consider solar, electric or other more environmentally sound sources of heat.
Do not re-use oil tanks for home heating oil because the tank may be compromised. It might look good on the outside but could be corroded on the inside. We strongly recommend contacting a professional tank removal company. This is not a job to do yourself. We also recommend against attempting to re-use the tank as a planter or pond because the process of cleaning out oil tanks renders toxic oily water that must be disposed of as hazardous waste - do not pour this oil down the drain. The companies you purchased the oil from may take back any un-used oil. We accept small residential quantities of home heating oil at the Hartland recycling area as household hazardous waste.
Once emptied of all oil and oil residue, home heating oil tanks can and must be recycled as scrap metal. Be sure to cut a hole in the tank that is at least 12 inches square so the metal recycling facility staff can have a look inside to ensure the tank is empty. Go to Metal for a list of metal recycling facilities.
Hiring a professional tank company for removals and clean-ups is strongly recommended. Find them in the yellow pages under Oil Tanks – Installation, Cleaning and Removal.
The BC Fire Code requires the removal of buried tanks which are of no further use, or have not been used for two years. Once a tank is removed, the surrounding soil must be assessed for contamination. Any contamination must be cleaned up by a contractor. You will need a permit from your local Fire Department to remove a buried oil tank.
If the tank is unused or abandoned, any remaining heating oil should be removed by a qualified contractor and taken to an approved facility such as Tervita Waste Management for disposal.
A&P Disposal & Recycling
6620 Marilyn Road
Alpine Disposal & Recycling
1045 Dunford Avenue
Brentwood Auto & Metal Recyclers
7481 West Saanich Road
DL's Recycling Centre
6844 Oldfield Road
Enter at 524 David Street
H.L. Disposal & Lawn Services Ltd.
334 Hillside Avenue
Hartland Recycling Facility
# 1 Hartland Avenue
1943 Millstream Road
3-6785 Veyaness Road
307 David Street
The Environmental Story
Recently the media has reported oil tank leaks causing major spills in Colquitz Creek and other local water bodies. To avoid a leak on your property, it is a good idea to get your oil tank and any connecting pipes inspected regularly for any damage or deterioration. The District of Saanich has some excellent information on oil tanks at Fuel of Pollution Spills , and Home Heating Oil Tanks: what you should know .
The Ministry of Environment also has some excellent information at Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks In case of a spill or leak, contain the spill as close to the source as possible, call the Provincial Emergency Program (P.E.P.) immediately at 1.800.663.3456 and contact your insurance company for clarification about your policy. Do not flush oil down a house drain or municipal drain as this can have a devastating impact on the environment.
Did You Know?
Homeowners are potentially liable for any costs associated with spills or leaks which can add up to thousands of dollars. Insurance companies may not cover oil spills from home heating oil tanks; check with your insurance provider. Inspections cannot catch all possible problems, so be sure to safely remove any tanks you are not using and replace the in-use tanks at least every 14 years. Most insurance companies will not provide coverage for tanks older than 15 years.
Thanks to the District of Saanich and the Ministry of Environment for much of this information.