South Island Environmental (SIE) is an environmental consultant specializing in the cleanup of properties contaminated from leaky underground oil tanks.
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South Island Environmental
Q. What should I do if my underground heating oil tank has contaminated my property ?
A. If you are selling the property you may have to satisfy the buyer and their financial institution by having the contaminated area remediated. If the contamination area is migrating off-site then you have to notify the Ministry of Environment, not to mention the affected off-site property owner as required by the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR).
Q. How do I know if my underground heating oil storage tank has contaminated my property ?
A. If the tank is no longer used or has been abandoned years ago, SIE recommends that you have the tank decommissioned and assess soil conditions below the tank. Soil samples would be submitted to an MOE-approved laboratory for analysis. The results of the analysis would be compared to applicable standards outlined in the BC Contaminated Sites Regulations and would determine if the tank area is contaminated. If the tank is still in use it may be possible to complete a soil assess adjacent to the tank by drilling into the ground at a predetermined depth and past the underside of the tank. Soil samples (and potentially groundwater samples) would then be submitted for analysis and compared to the applicable CSR standards. With this in mind, this method this may not identify impacted soil directly below the tank.
Q. What do I do with an old underground heating oil tank I found on my property ?
A. If it’s an underground tank you should consider removing it as it may cause future liability (i.e. off-site contamination). SIE can have the tank removed to meet BC Fire Code requirements and remove any impacted soil and potentially groundwater resulting from a tank leak or from potential historical overfilling. If it’s an aboveground tank SIE can have it removed and also inspect the area beneath the tank for potential contaminated soil. Aboveground heating oil storage tanks can contaminate soil and groundwater just as underground tanks do.
Q. I can smell heating oil in my house from my basement where my underground heating oil tank is located, what should I do ?
A. You should vacate the residence if the odour is bothersome and have the tank emptied and then removed immediately. SIE would recommend having a new tank placed outside of the home with proper containment and ventilation per BC Fire Code. The removal and installation of a new tank should be completed by a certified tank installer.
Q. What do I do if a spill of underground heating oil is released on my property ?
A. If the spill volume is over 100L then you must contact the Ministry of Environment Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) at 1-800-663-3456. They will get the details of the spill from you and contact the local municipality. You will be asked to contact a qualified professional environmental consultant, such as SIE, to look after the cleanup/remediation of the spill. SIE has completed several emergency response cleanups in the past three years.