Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks
Residential heating oil storage tanks have been installed and used in Canada for over 60 years. Many homes built between the 1920's and 1960's used oil as a heating fuel. Tanks have an average life of 20 to 25 years, after which they can begin to leak hazardous materials. There are two types: aboveground tanks (typically found in basements or outside of a home) and underground tanks (buried). Many of these storage tanks are now unused, as alternative heating sources such as natural gas, propane, and electricity, have become available.
Homeowners selling homes who are aware of a residential heating oil tank on the property are obligated (in BC) to disclose this fact on the PCDS (Property Condition Disclosure Statement) when they sell their home.
Delta Fire processes all storage tank decommissioning permits. For information on the removal and decommissioning of residential heating oil storage tanks (underground or above ground) please contact the Delta Fire's Fire Protection Department at (604) 946-8541. The Corporation of Delta and the Fire Department do not have records of which properties have heating oil storage tanks. They are only able to keep track of the tanks that have been removed or decommissioned under permit.
Overview of steps in removal and decommissioning of residential heating oil storage tanks:
- Hire a competent and authorized contracting company to do the tank closure and removal
- Obtain a permit from Fire Department ($200.00)
- Fire Department will inspect the site prior to removal
- Contractor will remove/decommission the tank
- Fire Department will inspect the site after removal
- Contractor will send in a completion report to the Fire Department
- Fire Department will sign off the report and removal/decommissioning and register the property in their database.
In BC, it is the Homeowner's Legal responsibility to properly maintain the oil tank and clean up any spills or leaks that may occur. All underground storage tanks, and above ground storage tanks over 2500 L, that supply oil burning equipment on properties under provincial jurisdiction are regulated by the BC FIre Code.
Although, the Ministry of Environment does not specifically regulate residential heating oil storage tanks, all property owners in BC under provincial jurisdiction are legally responsible for complying with the provincial Environmental Management Act (the Act) and the Contaminated Site and Hazardous Waste Regulations. For more information please read the Ministry of Environment Fact Sheet 32: Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks.