As a licensed contractor by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), EcoTech is qualified to provide expertise with all tank related services.  Our skilled technicians are trained in finding buried underground storage tanks, soil testing, decommissioning and contaminated soil clean-up.

Heating Oil Tank Inspections

Heating Oil Tank Inspections

With over ten years experience in locating, decommissioning and soil sampling of underground storage tanks (USTs), EcoTech can provide you with qualified inspection services for your home whether you are in a real estate transaction or looking to switch to a new heat source.  We are determined to give you the confidence that your job will be completed on-time, accurately, with minimal impact to the home and within your budget constraints.

Tank Searches

Our technician conducts a visual inspection of the property, utilizes metal detector equipment, and Terra our K-9 detection dog, who is trained to smell and recognize petroleum products from buried underground storage tanks (USTs).

Heating Oil Tank Inspections

Heating Oil Tank Inspections – Terra, our K-9 detection dog, has sat down to indicate that she has sniffed out a tank.

Heating Oil Tank Inspections

Heating Oil Tank Inspections – The tank that Terra has detected has been marked out by the technician for soil sampling.

Soil Testing

Soil sampling is the process of taking soil from around an underground storage tank.  Sampling can be completed while a tank is still in service or samples can be taken and analyzed before or as part of a decommissioning process.  EcoTech uses an independent, DEQ certified lab for analysis with results available the business day after collection.

Soil Samples

Soil Sample and Tank Inspection

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning

Heating oil tank decommissioning is on the rise throughout the Portland Metro area. This is due to a thriving real estate market and concerns over the effects of human health and the environment.

As puzzling as it is, there is a reason there were so many USTs installed throughout Portland. New homes constructed during the 1950s and into the early 1960s that did not have access to natural gas, were often heated with diesel heating oil. This not only included rural areas outside the Portland limits, but subdivisions including Aloha, Beaverton and Gresham. An estimated 30,000 residential diesel storage tanks are still in use today, with most of those tanks being 65 years old or more.

Unfortunately, thousands of underground storage tanks have been abandoned, no longer in use and not yet decommissioned. The tanks are made of steel and are prone to corrosion and rust, which allows diesel fuel to leach into the soil and groundwater.

Decommissioning underground storage tanks can help to prevent potential contamination through on-going or future leaks, can minimize the impact of human health and can help to avoid costly clean-ups.

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning – Underground Storage Tank (UST) has been exposed for decommissioning via removal.

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning

Heating Oil Tank Decommissioning – Tank is decommissioned via removal.

Heating Oil Contaminated Soil Cleanup

Contaminated Soil Cleanup

The DEQ requires USTs to be decommissioned when contamination has been detected from a leaking tank, removing the risk of further pollution.  Following DEQ protocols and standards, EcoTech works with property owners to find the best fit for their clean-up by reducing costs, working within scheduling deadlines and minimizing the disturbance to the property.

When an underground storage tank has had soil samples taken and laboratory analysis has determined the tank has or is currently leaking, the DEQ requires that the site be remediated.  The clean-up of the leaking site is determined by the levels of the contamination and the risk it poses to human health and the environment.

When a tank has leaked above 50 PPM, the contractor will need to report the leak to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) within 24 hours of discovery.    Once the leak has been reported, the DEQ will send the owner of the tank a letter with information regarding regulations, report requirements, due dates and cost recovery.

Heating Oil Contaminated Soil Cleanup

Heating Oil Contaminated Soil Cleanup – Holes in a removed UST, indicated with the red arrows, these holes allow heating oil to contaminate the soil beneath the tank.

Heating Oil Contaminated Soil Cleanup

Heating Oil Contaminated Soil Cleanup – Contaminated soil from beneath the removed leaking underground storage tank. The petroleum contaminated soil (PCS) is indicated by the grey color.

The corrective action depends on the levels of the leak, listed below are the three different types of clean-ups:

Above Ground Heating Oil Tanks

Above Ground Heating Oil Tanks

Above Ground Heating Oil Tanks, also known as above ground storage tanks or ASTs are alternatives to underground storage tanks or USTs. ASTs store residential heating fuel the same as a UST, but they are not buried underground. ASTs can be located in basements, crawlspaces or outside the home on a concrete pad.

Like underground storage tanks, numerous above ground tanks are decades old and can also be prone to corrosion. However, when an AST deteriorates it does not necessarily leak, they can rupture or collapse when being filled. Another concern with ASTs is that they do not meet current earthquake requirements.

Despite the concerns over older ASTs, there are new types of approved corrosion-proof above ground storage tanks that are on the market today. If your home is still on oil heat and more than 15 years old, your tank may be a candidate for a replacement.

Above Ground Heating Oil Tanks

Above Ground Heating Oil Tanks – AST located at the outside of the home. However, this tank is not located on a concrete foundation, which allows for more stability of a heavy fuel tank.

For more information regarding above ground storage tanks, please visit our AST Common Questions page.

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program

When a homeowner in the State of Washington has an underground or aboveground storage tank, leaking or not, regulations overseeing those tanks are quite different from the State of Oregon. The most glaring difference is that WA does not have a dedicated Underground Storage Tank Program or a Leaking Underground Storage Tank Program (LUST), like the State of Oregon has through the Department of Environmental Quality (ORDEQ). Furthermore, Washington has additional requirements when performing soil sampling on underground storage tanks.

Soil Sampling, the goal of soil sampling, through the use of a site check or a site assessment is to collect sufficient data from a site to determine if a release has occurred and can adequately identify the presence of contamination where it is most likely to be present.  Please click on Soil Sampling in Washington to understand the States sampling requirements.

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program – Tank being decommissioned via removal in the State of Washington

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program

State of Washington Underground Storage Tank Program – Decommissioned tank via removal in the State of Washington

There are two governing bodies that represent residential underground storage tanks; the Department of Ecology and the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA).

The Department of Ecology, has a primary mission to prevent environmental impact spills. This is accomplished through the Spill Program, with a goal of Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response to protect Washington’s environment, public health, safety, and economy through a comprehensive regulatory and technical assistance program. Basically, they act as the reporting body of the State of Washington.

For more information on the State of Washington Department of Ecology, please see our information page.

Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA), has a primary mission of assisting owners with financial responsibility and environmental clean-up requirements for underground storage tanks.  The creation of PLIA was to make pollution liability coverage available to owners of heating oil tanks because:

  • Owners are responsible for cleanup of contamination if their tank leaks
  • Pollution coverage is often not available from private insurance companies

For more information on PLIA, please see our information page.