Signs of an Underground Oil Tank and What to Do if You Find One

Even though residential underground oil tanks are out of sight, they should never be out of mind. If they’re leaking, underground oil tanks can potentially be very harmful to the environment and local residents. For the average homeowner, it can be difficult to know if one of these tanks sits below the surface. Care Environmental Remediation Services in Northern New Jersey specializes in identifying underground oil tanks and safely removing them. Here, we discuss the telltale signs of underground oil tanks and what you should do after finding one on your property.

Fill Valves

One of the first signs is the presence of fill valves, which once were used as part of the tank’s fill system. As a property owner, you can simply browse your yard or home for one of these valves. If found, an underground oil tank is most likely nearby. These valves can be installed both indoors and outdoors and are characterized by the following differences:

  • Indoor fill valves: Often found in the basement, an indoor fill valve typically looks like a pipe sticking out of the floor.
  • Outdoor fill valves: Usually located within a 10- to 12-foot radius of your home, outdoor fill valves are situated a few inches above the ground. In some cases, the fill valve may be flush with the ground and difficult to spot at first glance.

Vent Pipes

Another telling sign that an underground oil tank is present is the discovery of a vent pipe. If an underground oil tank once was part of your home’s heating system, vent pipes provided the tanks with proper ventilation. These pipes are easy to identify based on the type of cap on top. Like fill valves, vent pipes can be found both indoors and outdoors, as detailed below:

  • Indoor vent pipes: When searching the interior of your home for a vent pipe, examine your basement floor. It will be sticking out of the ground.
  • Outdoor vent pipes: These typically sit approximately 6 to 12 inches above the ground and are about 2 inches wide.

Closed-Off Copper Piping

Homeowners should also examine the area around the furnace inside their homes. If you notice any copper pipes that appear to have been pinched or closed off, this might be because your home was once heated with an underground oil tank. These pipes may either be sticking out of the ground or protruding out of your basement wall.

What Should You Do Next?

If you have noticed any of these signs inside or outside your home, the next step is to contact a fully licensed environmental remediation professional. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), Care Environmental Remediation Services can safely and efficiently take care of your underground oil tank and evaluate the area for potential contamination. Our services include:

  • Fuel tank removal
  • Oil tank removal
  • Heating oil tank removal/abandonment
  • Waste oil tank removal
  • Previously abandoned tank removal
  • Gasoline/diesel tank removal 

We serve residential and commercial clients throughout Northern New Jersey, including Somerset, Morris, Warren, and Sussex counties. To find out more about the signs of underground oil tanks and how to spot them on your property, contact us today.