How to Dispose of an Oil Tank

Many Americans have heated their homes for years with fuel oil. But if you have switched to a different heat source, the tank remains unused. All states have rules and regulations for the safest ways to dispose of old oil tanks. Follow the steps outlined below and be sure to consult your state's environmental protection agency to properly dispose of an old oil tank on your property.

Empty the tank and any cap pipes. The heating oil company can pump the tank dry.

Enlist a professional to clean the tank prior to removal. Look under "Environmental and Ecological Services" in your local yellow pages.

Hire a tank excavation company to remove a buried tank. It can obtain any necessary permits from local authorities.

Fill the tank with an inert material such as gravel or cement, if you cannot remove the old oil tank without damaging nearby structures. Choosing this option may affect the value of your land. Future buyers may not wish to have a filled tank on the property.

Blind flange the basement tank's fill pipe. Insert a solid disk into a pipe joint to prevent any oil from leaking from the tank as you remove it from the basement.

Remove the tank from your property. Take it to a salvage yard for recycling. If a salvage yard is not available, contact your local landfill for more information on disposal.

Report any oily stains or gassy smells to your state's environmental protection agency. Tanks do rupture when you move them, regardless of how carefully you handle them. Follow instructions on cleanup procedures.


Working on an underground oil tank can be dangerous. Contact a professional excavator for this task.

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