Residential Tank Soil Testing

If your home or the home you are buying is currently heated with oil then there is a tank on the property to store the oil. Heating oil may be stored in either an aboveground or underground tank. When the heat is turned on, oil that is stored in the tank flows through copper or steel pipes to the furnace where it is burned. Aboveground tanks can be easily be monitored for leakage, whereas underground tanks are out of sight so are not as easily monitored. Issues of environmental concern and potential liability dictate that every operational underground heating oil tank be checked for leakage. Usually this occurs during a property transaction. For sellers, proof of a non-leaking tank releases you from future liability. As a buyer, if the tank has been leaking you may want the leaking tank decommissioned, an appropriate Department of Ecology or DEQ cleanup performed, and a new tank installed before the purchase is completed.

Checking to see if an operational underground tank has leaked can be done without any disruption to your heat. A crew of two personnel will arrive at your site and will locate the tank area. Then they will use tile probes to pin point the ends of the tank and record information about the size, contents, and access to the tank area. Sample locations are then determined. Using hand operated augers or Geoprobe equipment, one soil sample is collected from each end of the tank approximately 12-24" below the tank bottom. The soil samples are field screened to identify visual or olfactory indications of heating oil. This data is recorded and the samples are placed in laboratory provided sample jars. The samples are transferred under chain-of-custody to a state-of-the-art independent local laboratory for analysis. Lab results are available by early afternoon the following business day. Your project manager will call as soon as the results are available.

The laboratory analysis will identify whether there is heating oil in the soil. If no heating oil is found in the soil then you can be assured the underground tank has not leaked and you can continue using the system. If heating oil is found in the soil the tank will need to be decommissioned and a Department of Ecology or DEQ certified cleanup must be performed. Additionally if the leaking is located in Oregon, the DEQ requires the oil inside the tank be pumped out to prevent further release to the environment.

Residential Tank Project Inquiries

Testing Quick Facts

Standard tank testing in the Portland metro area will cost $195. Typically samples are collected within 2 business days of your initial call. All samples are collectd by DEQ licenced technicians and analyzed by an independent local laboratory. Sample results are always available the next business day.