How to remove an old oil tank

Updated April 17, 2017

Part of keeping a house well-maintained is the removal of worn-out fixtures. Many old homes once used oil tanks for heating fuel. The oil tanks have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. After that, leaks are common, which can result in serious environmental and safety issues. Old oil tanks should be removed to prevent any potential fire damage or leaks, if they still contain oil, and to update and modernise the house to current environmental standards. The removal should be done by a professional, in most cases, as there are heavy legal restrictions and fines for improper removal and disposal of an oil tank.

Call your local town hall or city hall to determine your area's regulations for proper removal of oil tanks. In most cases, they will issue a permit for the tank's removal and advise you to have the job done professionally.

Obtain estimates from oil tank removal companies, which your town hall or city hall should be able to recommend.

Schedule a professional to inspect the oil tank to determine that it is without leaks. Leaks will require further professional intervention and proper cleanup, according to local government regulations, in order to ensure the future safety of the home.

Have the oil pumped out of the tank, if there is any remaining fuel in the tank, and the tank itself removed by the professionals.

Obtain the necessary paperwork proving that the oil tank was removed according to local regulations.


Having paperwork to prove that an oil tank was removed properly may be essential in the event that you try to sell your home.


Do not attempt to remove an oil tank unless you are a professional. This can lead to dangerous oil fires or environmental damage. If a leak occurs while the tank is being removed, report the issue as soon as possible (most jurisdictions require notice within 2 hours) so that proper cleanup can occur right away, preventing a potential health and environmental hazard. Again your town hall or city hall can guide you to the proper agency.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil tank
  • Official permission, possibly including a permit.
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About the Author

Gail Logan is a magazine editor and freelance writer based in Atlanta, AL. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Patrick Henry College. For the past four years, she has written home design, travel and food features for national magazines, including "Coastal Living," "Texas Home and Living," "Log Home Design," and "Country's Best Log Homes." When not writing, she mentors inner-city children.