UST Tank Search for Sellers – Common Questions
As a homeowner, you may be thinking about or are preparing to put your home up for sale. For some homeowners, you may want to perform a tank search to prepare yourself for any unforeseen surprises during the home inspection period. On the other hand, you may know that there is a tank on your property that was decommissioned and never registered with the DEQ or that there is an abandoned oil tank, but you don’t know where. These are some of the most common questions that we are asked regarding the tank inspection process and important information you should know before you sell.
What is an underground storage tank (UST)?
Homes, apartments, farms and some businesses that are currently or were previously heated using diesel heating oil, used an underground storage tank (UST) to store the heating oil. The USTs were usually buried in the yard, and copper tubing or steel piping was installed to deliver the diesel from the tank to the furnace. In Oregon, an estimated 100,000 USTs were installed for home heating.
Why should I worry about an UST?
Underground storage tanks are made of steel, which are selected for their strength, not for their corrosion resistance. Therefore steel USTs rust through, given enough time. Like a roof, steel storage tanks have a life of about 25 years, and like a roof it is cheaper to replace the tank or convert to another heat source before it leaks and the damage is done.
Performing the UST tank search
How do you find an abandoned UST?
The best way to determine if there is an abandoned oil tank on the property, is to conduct a tank search. As the homeowner, you may also look for these tell-tale signs of an abandoned oil tank:
- An Oil Fill Pipe, these are usually close to the ground and near where the furnace is located in your home. The lid itself will usually indicate OIL in the center of the cap.
- A Vent Pipe, this is usually attached to the home, about two to eight feet up the side of the house and it is 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter with a small vent cap on it.
- Product lines, may be found sticking out of the ground in the yard, in a crawlspace or basement floor. Product lines may still be attached to a basement or crawlspace wall next to water or gas pipes.
- Patching, will be present on a basement floor, it appears as though a pipe has been removed and covered with concrete. The patching may appear as a bad “patch job” with numerous bumps and grooves.
How do you perform a tank search?
EcoTech first will perform a Tank Background Search, this entails a detailed examination of state and local databases, as applicable. Besides years of on-the-job experience, our technician conducts a visual inspection for product lines and fill or vent pipes, utilizes metal detectors and Terra, our specially trained Petroleum Detection K-9.