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Oil Tank Inspections

Oil Tanks Are Estimated To Be Responsible For 20,000 Spills Each Year In Canada.

At Pacific West Environmental Inspections, you will receive the following professional service and more:

  • Provide A Complete Detailed On-Site Visual Assessment Survey
  • Provide A Detailed Narrative Report With Photos Of Survey Results
  • Fully Explain The Details Of The Report And Answer All Your Questions
  • Provide You With Recommendations
  • Meet The Requirements For Your Insurance Company

All Regions of British Columbia have buildings that are heated with fuel oil and to assure and minimize any type of oil spillage and that the systems and related components are in good condition and functional, a visual survey should be undertaken.

To Book Your Inspection Or For More Information,
Call (866) 966-8751
Understanding Oil Tanks
Real estate transactions can be put at risk if a client purchases a property with an underground fuel oil tank and is denied homeowners insurance. If a client finds that an existing tank has not been registered, remedial action may cost them thousands of dollars.

Homebuyers have expressed concern over home insurance policies being denied or being unable to obtain home insurance as a result of underground storage tanks. A number of transactions have fallen through on closing as a result. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a home with an exterior oil tank older than 15 years or an interior tank older than 25 years will not be insured.

The Problem
The problem is that many oil tanks are corroding from the inside out, so the failure is not readily visible. This often occurs from condensation that builds up inside the tank. Since oil is lighter than water, the water goes to the bottom of the tank and causes corrosion. The first sign of a bad tank could be an odor of oil in the air. There might be rust or corrosion where the legs are welded to the tank. Other symptoms could include a leak in the fuel filter or the nozzle becoming plugged.
Insurance companies are concerned that an old oil tank can leak and spill hundreds of liters of heating oil into the home, or into the ground. Spilled oil can quickly contaminate soil and ground water. If the leak finds its way into a sump pump or floor drain, the spill will undoubtedly make it a very expensive clean up. With outside storage tanks, where rust and corrosion are more common, a spill can contaminate the soil or make its way into the nearby streams or rivers. What may seem like a simple clean-up can in fact be a complicated task to replace the leaking tank and supply lines, remove contaminated soil, replace the foundation and treat groundwater. The cost to repair a leaking oil tank can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Underground Oil Tanks
Many underground oil tanks have reached the end of their useful lives and are beginning to corrode, rust and leak. Increasing homeowner insurance claims resulting from leaking oil tanks are very expensive and can lead to high insurance rates, or even refusal of coverage. It is a homeowner’s legal responsibility to properly maintain the oil tank and clean up any spills or leaks that may occur. Leaking underground storage tanks may create several hazards including:

  • Products and product vapors can generate a potentially explosive mixture;
  • Products can enter surface water;
  • Products can enter drinking water;
  • Products can contaminate surrounding soil;
  • Products can damage property.

Problems with underground oil tanks may complicate the process of applying for homeowner’s insurance and, in extreme cases, may adversely affect real estate transactions themselves.

What Consumers Should do when Buying or Selling a Home with an Oil Tank?
Prior to closing, contact the fuel oil supplier for the home and determine if the basic or comprehensive inspections of the tank and oil-heating appliance have been completed. The fuel oil supplier and/or heating service contractor should have information about the servicing and inspection program that is in place for the home.
Selling a Home with an Oil Tank?
Realtors should expect questions regarding the age of the tank, location and proof that the tank installation meets safety requirements. Purchasers should expect to be asked, by their insurer, to provide this type of information when applying for insurance.

In British Columbia, The B.C Fire Code now requires the removal of any underground oil tanks that have been out of service for more than two years. Licensees who are involved with the sale of a property that contains, or is thought to contain, a buried oil tank should be aware that this is a concern and should also be aware of their duties with respect to disclosure.

Additional Information

Office of the Fire Commissioner
Ministry of Community Aboriginal and Women’s
P.O. Box 9491 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9N7
(250) 356-9000


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