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Oil Storage Tanks in Richmond

Background Information

Pre-1957, before natural gas was widely used to heat homes, many residences had Oil Storage Tanks on their property, loaded with furnace oil. These tanks, some buried underground and some above ground, would hold up to 1,000 gallons of oil. Once natural gas became widely available, the homeowners of the time simply filled up the tank with sand and/or having them capped. If this was done without them being properly emptied, there would be massive environmental risks.

The tanks are subject to rust and corrosion over time, resulting in the leakage of the corrosive oil onto the property and potentially the neighbouring properties and nearby waterways. In addition to the environmental impact, market value of the property may be negatively affected, and violations to statues and bylaws may have occurred.

Signs that May Indicate the Presence of an Underground Oil Storage Tank

If there is filler cap somewhere on your property, likely the yard, or a vent pipe going up the side of your building, there is a chance that a tank is buried on the property. Another sign could be the presence of copper lines feeding through to the furnace.

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What Needs to be Done?

According to the BC Fire Code, all underground oil tanks should be removed, and all affected soil be checked for contamination. If the oil tank is located underneath a permanent structure on your property, or it would significantly damage or affect the neighbouring buildings, a “fill-in-place” method may be used.

With the recent series of leaks into waterways, the matter is more top of mind for most homeowners. The rule is…if you are thinking about selling your property, then you should have your property swept for buried tanks. One sign that there is a buried tank could be the present of a fuel pipe. Even if you have an above-ground tank, it does not automatically mean that you do not have an underground tank. If no tank is detected, please ensure that you get documentation stating this.

Information if you are the Seller

If a tank is found, the seller has three options, lower the price to adjust for the removal cost, removes the tank prior to sale or come to an agreement about cost sharing for the removal. In addition, if the tank has leaked, the ground surrounding the tank will be tested for contamination, and if found, the soil must then be remediated.

Information if you are the Buyer

As a buyer, the offer should be subject to an inspection to confirm the absence of an OST or contamination. Another condition of the contract should address the possibility that an OST is found. In that case, the condition should state that the seller will arrange for the removal of the OST and if there are contaminated soil or ground water, the seller is responsible to have those issues re-mediated as well.

While we strive to provide current and up-to-date information, please do not rely upon the information without talking to a qualified Realtor.

Contact Information:

Fire Prevention Division
No. 1 Firehall
6960 Gilbert Road
Richmond, BC V7C 3V4
Telephone: 604-278-5131
ostrichmondbody

With the recent series of leaks into waterways, the matter is more top of mind for most homeowners. The rule is…if you are thinking about selling your property, then you should have your property swept for buried tanks. One sign that there is a buried tank could be the present of a fuel pipe. Even if you have an above-ground tank, it does not automatically mean that you do not have an underground tank. If no tank is detected, please ensure that you get documentation stating this.

Information if you are the Seller

If a tank is found, the seller has three options, lower the price to adjust for the removal cost, removes the tank prior to sale or come to an agreement about cost sharing for the removal. In addition, if the tank has leaked, the ground surrounding the tank will be tested for contamination, and if found, the soil must then be re-mediated. The price to render a tank inert is approximately $550, and if there is contamination as a result of the tank, charges can go up to about $2,000-3,000.

Information if you are the Buyer

As a buyer, the offer should be subject to an inspection to confirm the absence of an OST or contamination. Another condition of the contract should address the possibility that an OST is found. In that case, the condition should state that the seller will arrange for the removal of the OST and if there are contaminated soil or ground water, the seller is responsible to have those issues re-mediated as well.

While we strive to provide current and up-to-date information, please do not rely upon the information without talking to a qualified Realtor.

Contact Information:

Fire Prevention Division
No. 1 Firehall
6960 Gilbert Road
Richmond, BC V7C 3V4
Telephone: 604-278-5131

By Grace Cheung

June 22, 2015

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  1. Teto 2 years ago.

    I’ve been a plumber for a lot of years now, in Britain, and I’ve never yet found a glass float, I think these might have been U.S. only, it would be inneiestrtg to hear if other countries used them. Old floats here in britain were usually made of two copper hemispheres, soldered together. I’ve found some from the 1890s, they polish up pretty well. Old flush cisterns were usually made of wood, with the manufacturer’s name branded on with hot iron, they were lined with zinc, with often a cast-iron siphon.Rescued ones are popular repurposed as planters.