Underground Storage Tanks
Underground storage tanks (USTs) open the door to a variety of residential risks, including public health hazards, environmental contamination, and legal and financial liability. NORCON Environmental tests and remediates underground storage tanks on a routine or emergency basis.
UST Investigation Process
Our experienced team helps property owners and real estate buyers determine whether a property currently or previously housed an underground storage tank and performs tank removal or spill remediation as needed.
NORCON’s UST investigation process includes:
- Review of public records and local construction permits
- Locating undocumented underground storage tanks by searching for subsurface anomalies with a magnetometer
- Inspecting low spots where a tank may have been removed
- Conducting soil borings in suspect areas
- Performing laboratory analysis to test for petroleum hydrocarbons
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s involved with removing an underground oil tank?
Removing a residential oil tank is a fairly simple process. Once Norcon obtains the construction permits, we excavate the tank from the ground, cut it open, pump the surplus fuel and sludge, and manually clean the tank. The entire tank is then taken away to a steel recycling facility. If corrosion holes are observed, we will typically conduct a soil test. If soil test results are in excess of New Jersey cleanup standards, the NJDEP must be notified.
Do I need a permit to remove an underground fuel oil tank?
Yes. Construction demolition, fire and/or plumbing permits are required and must be issued by your municipality’s construction office. Norcon will take care of the permitting process for you.
How long does the tank removal process take?
Obtaining the permit is the first step to tank removal, and that generally takes about a week (depending on the municipality’s construction office). Once Norcon has the permits, the removal process, cleaning, and backfill takes about a day.
Is there some type of certification issued after the tank is removed?
Yes. Norcon provides clients with a UST removal report, along with photographs, receipts, and copies of all permits obtained for the project. The removal will be inspected and approved by the town construction official, and permits and approvals are on file through the town’s construction office.
Is a cleanup required every time a tank is pulled?
No. Oftentimes when underground storage tanks are removed, they are in excellent condition and the only action necessary is getting a local construction inspection and backfilling the excavation with clean soil.
How can I tell if there is a problem?
In most cases, there are no indications of trouble with your underground tank. Most leaks are not big enough to notice an increase in oil consumption. For example, you would not notice if your tank leaks 10 gallons a year. However, that large of a discharge can cause significant contamination.
If you are having trouble with your tank and have noticed that you often need to call for service, you may have a leaking oil tank. Indicators of a leaking tank are water or excessive sludge in the tank. If you live in a development with houses built around the same time and you notice remediation activities in your area, it would be advisable to remove your tank.
What happens if my tank leaks?
After the tank is removed and it has been determined the tank has leaked, the following steps are taken:
- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is notified and a case number is assigned to your property.
- Your homeowner’s insurance should be notified of a possible claim. In many cases, your insurance will have coverage for third-party liability claims. The third party in the case of a homeowner can be either your neighbor’s property or the State of New Jersey if the ground water is contaminated.
- Norcon will check the soil directly under the tank and a minimum of three feet below the bottom of the tank to make a preliminary determination about (1) the extent of contamination, and (2) whether groundwater is contaminated.
- The open excavation is then lined with plastic and filled to grade until a remediation work plan is determined.
- We will help you through this process, speak with your homeowner’s insurance company on your behalf, and answer all of your questions about the process. If you have coverage, Norcon will work with and for your insurance company to design and execute a plan to remove contamination from your property and file the reports necessary to obtain a No Further Action Letter from the NJDEP.
What is the state’s role?
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Unregulated Heating Oil Tank, or UHOT program, allows fully remediated, unregulated residential and commercial heating oil tanks to move expeditiously through the DEP review process. Under the UHOT program, the DEP relies on environmental professionals holding a Subsurface Evaluator Certification to certify that all cleanup activities associated with a leaking unregulated tank are completed in accordance with DEP regulations, and that any existing contamination is remediated to the most restrictive cleanup standards.
Call NORCON Environmental for Residential UST Services
NORCON Environmental has been serving NJ residents for over 30 years. We’re a trusted name in environmental consulting, and our team has extensive experience in the location, removal, and closure of underground storage tanks. If you require tank assessment or remediation, call 908.852.6046 or submit a secure, online information form. We look forward to partnering with you!