Residential Underground Oil Tank Removals
I had an oil tank removed because I switched to a heat pump system. The oil tank was in a mechanical room that was small so taking the tank out had to be done carefully. I wanted a professional local company that specialized in tank removals. I researched and found CommTank. I read through a lot of reviews and was very impressed. Santiago, the sales rep, came to meet me and he spent the time I needed to understand the process and give me confidence that it would be done right. I was again impressed.Today was the day of the removal and I am so happy. A team of three guys showed up and Santiago. They were amazing! Hardworking, professional, careful with all. And when done, cleaned the area - you would not even know an oil tank was there (and my oil tank was over 20 years old!)I wanted to add my 5 star review to all the other great reviews. I highly recommend CommTank for your oil tank needs. They are the best around!
Price was half the first quote I got. I was able to schedule the removal within a week. The crew was here on time and had the tank out in about an hour. No mess, no smell. Excellent work
I had a pinhole leak in my oil tank discovered by my HVAC company and needed to have it replaced. They recommended CommTank. They were quick to send someone out for an estimate. I also contacted a competitor and while both were within a few hundred dollars, CommTank was less expensive. I ended up choosing them not only for the price but for their reviews and for their many recommendations on my town fb page . I’m glad I did because they did a great job with the install/replacement of my Roth tank and left the place as clean as they found it.At least in my town, after you have an oil tank replaced the fire dept calls to schedule an inspection. When they came out it was very quick and I said something to that effect and the lieutenant said “I see it was installed by CommTank. They do a great job and we never have any problems with them.” If that doesn’t give you piece of mind I’m not sure what will!
CommTank came and removed our tank after we upgraded to a heat pump system. They were responsive and easy to work with when scheduling, showed up exactly when they said they would, and were quick and professional. They left the basement clean and even put some powder down so nothing smelled like oil. Payment was easy via credit card and they were done in about an hour. Great experience and would highly recommend
They removed my old oil tank from my basement for a very reasonable cost and did an excellent job. Great response, super fast to schedule and they got the job done so quickly. They cleaned up very well after the work was done, highly recommend!
Took care of old oil tank. Professional. Clean.
I've used this company twice now. They are quick and awesome
CommTank changed out my old leaking oil tank with a Roth lined tank and I could not be happier with the installation. The office personnel were very courteous and set up an appointment for visit. Santiago came for the initial site visit and Carlos was there for the installation. Both were very friendly and professional, they did a nice installation and left the worksite spotless after the install. I highly recommend them and like the safety of having a lined tank with a leak detector if it is ever needed.Thank You.Tom
We were extremely happy with the service provided by Commonwealth Tank. We had 2 residential tanks replaced and everything was very professional and well done.
Professional workers. Careful and competent. Great guys! Highly recommended
Replacing my oil tank. Loving my experience, this is great professional team, they keep you up to date with any changes and show up on time. Thanks commthank for coming out here in the middle of the snow storm 🙌!
Just had a new Roth oil tank installed. Customer service top notch. Francesco and Melvin came to my house on time. Clean neat installation. Wonderful work done by these to men. I recommend Commtank.
Used CommTank to replace our 30+ yr old tank. Work was done as promised, professionally and at a very good value. Highly recommend !
Sanny and Sergio just left the house, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work. Two large oil tanks, installed 20 years ago, are gone and it is like they never happened: the place is immaculate and there’s not a drop of oil anywhere - the tanks were carrying over 500 gallons of oil.Throughout the work, they were professional and careful, and very respectful. And these guys are strong and seem to love the work. Especially noted when it can be hard to find smart, dedicated people, Comm Tank nailed it.
We had Comm Tank replace our aging inside tank with a new Roth outside tank. They were personable, professional, prompt and cleaned up completely.They took care of installing a concrete pad for the outside tank and removed the old tank.We are completely satisfied and will highly recommend them.
They were very professional. Showed up on time and did a very nice job. Left the place very clean. I'm very pleased and would definitely recommend them!
Had an emergency situation and they were able to help me out ASAP. Very happy with the service and the job they did. I had issues finding a company in the busiest time of year for an emergency and yet I was contacted and helped immediately. 5 stars for great service.
Good people,good place for employment
Had to have two tanks removed from my basement. Old bulkhead was not accessible and only egress had 27 inches. They arrived on time. Cut the tank to fit the opening. No mess left behind or to clean off walls, stairs or doors. Thank you for outstanding service.
While getting a quote and booking the service was less than easy, the service was great. They were easy to work with, clean, and prompt. They got in and got out with the oil tank the previous owner abandoned in place. I highly recommend their services.
This company just replaced an old oil tank for us. True to the contract you agreed to with no surprises. The company has amazing service from the first call to the technicians who replaced the tank. They are a truly professional organization. The installation was neat and organized. They left my property inside and outside clean from all debris. If you need an oil tank replacement this is the company to call!
They were subcontracted by my mechanical contractor to drain and remove my oil tank. They were courteous and fast and cleaned up after they were done
Manny and his team were fast, thorough and professional. They pulled an oil tank out of our basement quickly and easily in about 3 hours, and left the basement cleaner than when they found it. We will definitely call them again the next time we need help.
CommTank saved the day for us, I can home from work and walked into the dreaded smell of heating oil filling my house. I went downstairs to see where the smell was coming from and discovered that our recently filled oil tank was leaking. With one call to CommTank they had someone out in under 20 hours to access the situation, Gui put our fears to rest and got us on the schedule for a replacement. When the workers showed up to replace the tank they were extremely professional and tidy. They treated our home like it was theirs and protected our rugs and floors from the messy job of pulling out a 50 year old oil tank. The workmanship and attention to detail that went into the installation of the new tank exceeded my expectations. They refilled the new tank with all of the oil from our old tank after double filtering it to make sure none of the sludge and gunk went into the new tank. I can't say enough about how satisfied I am that we chose them for the job!
CommTank replaced our old steel 330 gallon of unknown age with a brand new Roth 275 (with the 30 year warranty and $2M insurance). The quoting process was simple and included everything, and the people who came by to do the work were punctual, friendly, and accommodating, and they left the place neater than when they arrived. They made sure everything was running just fine before they left.Give CommTank a call when you'd like to replace your old steel tank, especially if it's of questionable age and condition like ours was. Why take the chance? We like the warranty and insurance on the Roth, not to mention the extra space!
Friendly people.
CommTank was an absolute lifesaver!We were faced with underground piping issues that needed repair and were told to bulldoze the rooms to remedy the situation.We were shocked thinking that this was our only solution.Fortunately, we contacted and hired CommTank. The crew excavated, repaired and replaced our underground plumbing with great efficiency and precision allowing us to return to our house in a short period of time. We highly recommend CommTank and are so thankful for a job well-done! They truly are miracle workers!!
Great overall, from Leury coming out to estimate, to timely installation by Francisco & Raphael. Tough job, we do not have bulkhead access. Neat, clean and efficient. Pitched fill pipes correctly. Thanks Again!
Amazing - came day after we called and removed an oil tank - Louis was amazing!!
Comm tank guys are great and a real Fast I recommend these guys. O and the oil tanks thay put in are cool
We were in need of getting a new oil tank after we had nursed ours for a couple of years. Call a couple of companies and had them come out and CommTank was truly the best! They were very proffesional, were timely and gave us more that one option of tank. Their price was good and every interactio I've had with anyone at the company has been amazing customer service. They came on time, worked swiftly and were done on time. And the bonus for us more floor space!!! Use CommTank if you need anything, they are great!!!
Our aging heating oil tank was need of replacement. So we did our due diligence and contacted (4) companies for quotes not estimates. (2) never called back. (2) responded. Leury from Comm Tank INC was the first to call us and we quickly setup appointment. Leury went over everything they were going to replace in great detail and answered all of my questions.The service crew showed up on time and were quick to remove and replace the tank and they were extremely clean and courteous.If I could give Comm Tank 10 stars I would. Not very often you find a company with this high of professionalism and caliber.So if you are looking for reputable companies to remove your old oil tank,I would recommend contacting Comm Tank INC first.
Fast, clean, professional, on time, and thorough. Not a job anybody really wants to do but they make it painless
I've hired these guys twice over the years. I had them replace an oil tank in a house that I was moving from in Framingham that was in a very tight spot in my garage. I was in the middle of selling my house and part of the inspection called for a new tank. They made an exception and came out right away, because of the circumstances; and replaced the tank with no mess and extremely fast and efficient. I was very pleased and so was my buyer. Thank you guys.My next experience with these guys was for a house in Marlborough. The house was built in 1959 and still had the original oil tank. Once again they came out did a great job replacing the oil tank, and its been working fine for 2 years now. I couldn't be happier. If you guys need an oil tank replaced I wouldn't go anywhere else. My only regret is that I didn't do this review earlier.See the pictures below. I only have one pic of the Framingham oil tank they replaced in my garage, and the rest are of the house in Marlborough. Note the neat job they did of installing the the oil feed line to my burner.
Everything about the experience with CommTank was awesome. The guy who did the estimate came in the evening so I didn’t have to miss work and the price was even a little less than I had expected( $2600 for new 330 gal. tank and removal of the old one/new burner line/new fill and vent pipes). On the day of my tank replacement the guys showed up on time and completed all the work in 3 1/2 hours and it looks GREAT!! Would definitely recommend to anyone.
Dealing with CommTank has been an absolute pleasure. Every employee I interacted with was professional, courteous, knowledgeable and helpful. They call when they say they will, show up early, and work efficiently. The work itself was meticulously done, and my basement was spotless when they left. Would 1000% recommend CommTank to anyone in need.
I just had my oil tank replaced by Comm Tank. The guys showed up on time, took out my old tank without any problems or mess. Installed new oil tank where we requested it saving us so much space for storage. Guys on the job were professional and respectful. Great job!! Highly recommend them to anyone needing a new oil tank. Thank you Kevin for fitting us into your busy schedule and getting this job done quickly.
Shaina who works there and her company are the best..They were on time and everyone who works there are outstanding .
CommTank did an amazingly professional, detailed, and incredibly neat job of removing our leaking 275 gallon oil tank from our basement, and installing a new one in our garage. We were so impressed with the non-stop emergency work Willy, Manuel, and Juan Francisco did for 6 hours straight into the wee hours of the night. They had a virtual workshop with them in their truck, and worked continuously under difficult circumstances drilling into cement to remove old, and then install new, pipes, and install bollards. They knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and when they were finished, they left the basement and the garage immaculately clean and beautiful. It was as if we'd never had the old leaking tank! We cannot recommend CommTank and these guys highly enough! This company gets 5 stars and then some....oh! And all this done for a very reasonable price!
5 stars for the quick, low-pressure sales process, as well as the workmanship. I took off 1 star because the crew that did the install didn't fully clean up the space and left a black mark on my otherwise pristine washing machine.
I needed to remove two oil tanks in my home and replace them. I contacted CommTank and they came out to review the job and provide a quote. After some review and shopping I found that CommTank was the best overall value and the most professional company.They showed up on-time, did an amazing job with the removal and installation of new Roth tank. The work was done extremely well and the area left clean.Thank you Kevin, Leury, Francisco and the entire team for a job well done!
Removed a 1000 gal in-ground Heating oil tank / and installed a 275 gal indoor tank. They did the whole job in 6 hours and at $3000 less than the other 4 Quotes I got.
Great work, very clean and well done. Very professional.
best company you could hire for tank removal.removed 3 6000 gallon under ground tanks. louis diaz was great to deal with. gave me a price and time line . crew showed on time and you could not ask for a better group of guys. everything went smooth and on time. i recommend this company 100%. dont bother looking any further. thanks again comm tank.
Comm Tank Inc. is 2nd to none I called them during a Christmas Holiday week as our waste water team discovered a damaged DAF tank. They cam out right away to inspect and put together cost and repair options for me. We were stuck... in this situation vendors normally try to mark up pricing. This was not the case with Comm Tank actually quoted a price and wound up working through the holiday and weekend to complete the task as promised after discovering it was worst than the original assessment. Kudos to these guys who were great to work with right through the entire process Kevin Hoag was very informative and knowledgeable and exercised great direction to his team. The guys that completed the onsite work provided great customer service. In all Comm Tank does what they say there going to do and stands behind there quality of work. They will be the 1st on my call list in the event we need a reactive repair like this in the future and also any preventative repairs as well. Thank you to everyone at Comm Tank INC.
Commonwealth Tank was recommended to me by the contractor that installed my new heating system. Their customer service/scheduling department was very friendly and able to easily work around my schedule. One the day of the removal, the team (2 men) arrived on time and were both very friendly. My basement was still pretty cluttered (recently moved into the house) and they were very careful when moving boxes out of the way. They were very professional and clean, and the job only took about an hour. When they finished, they had me look at the space to make sure I was happy with the work. The holes in the foundation from the fill pipe were removed and sealed neatly with cement, no oil had been spilled on the floor, and everything had been cleaned very thoroughly...they even used air freshener to remove the fuel oil odor. I highly recommend Comm Tank due to their on time arrival, quick yet thorough work, and good customer service.

Residential Underground Oil Tank Removals

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CommTank’s residential underground oil tank removal service is one of the more requested home property needs in our service areas throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and southern Maine.  Our tank removal system starts with determining your home oil tank condition and removal needs.

Our expert team has removed thousands of underground oil tanks.  This amount of tank experience enables CommTank to perform challenging and tight-space tank removals with quality results that people recognize and trust.

People benefit from all the information and tank service we’ve provided to home and business property owners since 1994. Our team successfully removes tank systems ranging from 275-gallon tanks to 2,000-gallon tanks.

"Jim and I will be the first to recommend, without hesitation, CommTank to anyone who needs your services." – Jim and Joan Sullivan, Chestnut Hill, MA

More Oil Tank Removal Services

Mini excavator is pulling an oil tank from the ground.

CommTank technician removes a 500-gallon underground oil tank.

Our area fleet of CommTank trucks provide oil tank removal of buried tanks to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Southern Maine. Throughout more than a quarter century, we’ve developed relationships with plumbing, heating oil delivery, and real estate companies. All of these people use and rely on our team for prompt reliable tank replacement for their clients. These service provider partnerships advanced CommTank’s growth as a successful aboveground tank removal and oil tank replacement company.

For new home owners who need information about buried oil tanks, we offer underground tank locating services.  These services use advanced active and passive transmission technology to determine the exact fuel vessel location. Soil and ground water testing systems also help home property buyers identify whether soil contamination exists at property. These services can also determine whether a buried oil tank was properly maintained and/or removed.

How much does it cost to remove a buried oil tank?

Home owners today have more options for underground tank removal services. The people at CommTank work as efficiently as possible to maintain fair and affordable prices. We use more advanced tools and technology, and follow proven methods driven by consistent standards.  These systems enable our team to complete projects in less time, which saves money and keeps customers happy.

The cost to remove a residential underground oil tank ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on size. Typical home use residential tank sizes are 275, 500, or 1,000-gallons.

"Your company is one of the best we have ever hired from start to finish." – William J. Lewis, Rehoboth, MA

How do you remove an underground fuel tank?

CommTank technician operating a Kubota while excavating an underground oil tank

Excavating an underground oil tank next to a foundation.

Successful underground oil tank removal necessitates information such as the fuel type in the tank, and proper handling of the tank’s vapors because they may be highly flammable. Prior to removing your underground storage tank, our licensed, knowledgeable technicians will inspect your property to determine what’s needed to prepare the site. If necessary, we obtain permits from your local fire department to make sure the property is “dig-safe,” since underground oil tank removals typically involve uncovering and removing the tanks with excavation equipment. Utility companies then mark the property to ensure safe excavating. Our crews pump out the remaining fuel, evacuate the fuel vapor, cut open the tank, clean the sediment from the tank bottom, hoist the tank out of the ground with an excavator, and place it on the trailer to be brought to a licensed tank disposal/recycler.

It takes about 4-6 hours to remove an underground storage tank, longer for very large tanks.

In ground oil tank is removed from the front yard of this home.

A buried oil tank is removed from this front yard.

We sample the ground water and soil around a tank before we fill the tank’s “grave” with clean soil and evenly grade and compact it. Your fire department will typically inspect the tank grave before giving approval to backfill. For underground tank removals in Massachusetts, the state requires that a measurement for contamination be taken within 24 hours of removing an underground tank. CommTank will field-test the soil surrounding the tank for no extra charge at the time of the tank removal.

After the project is complete, CommTank guarantees to leave your property as clean as we found it. Use of excavation equipment typically tears up grass, so we bring sheets of plastic or wood to cover the lawn to protect it. Furthermore, our crews are experienced with landscaping and mason work, so we can restore or limit damage to shrubs, gardens, rock walls and patios.


Permits are acquired by CommTank and filled out at the Fire Department Headquarters. In Massachusetts, the Form FP-292 is required for the underground storage tank removal and transportation to a disposal yard. The Fire Department sends a representative to witness the removal and inspect the tank.

In New Hampshire, individual cities and towns create their own permits and requirements.  Many specify that work conforms to minimum requirements as outlined by NFPA 1, NFPA 30, NFPA 326 and/or NFPA 327 editions as adopted by NH State Fire Code SAF-C-G000 and local ordinances. Before the start of each project, CommTank’s staff checks with your local building or fire department to see if additional paperwork is required.

Fire Department Permit Fees

City/TownAddressPhone NumberUnderground Tank Removal Permit Fee
Boston*1010 Massachusetts Ave, 02118617-343-3628$210
Worcester25 Meade Street, 01610508-799-1822$100 (up to 1,500-gallons)
Cambridge491 Broadway, 02139617-349-4918 $103
Brockton42 Pleasant Street, 02301508-583-2933$300
Malden1 Sprague Street, 02148781-397-7385$50.00 (up to 1,000-gallons)
Newton**169 Jackson Road, 02459617-796-2230$100 (oil tanks), $200 (gas tanks)
Waltham175 Lexington Street, 02452 $50
Attleboro100 Union Street, 02703774-203-1922$100
Quincy40 Quincy Avenue, 02169617-376-1015$50 (up to 275-gallons); $100 (over 250-gallons)
Danvers64 High Street, 01923978-774-2425$50
New Bedford868 Pleasant Street 02740508-991-6120$125
Manchester, NHBuilding Dept. City Hall Plaza603-669-2256$55
Bedford, NH55 Constitution Drive, 03110603-472-3838$50
Nashua, NH229 Main Street, 03060603-589-3460$50
Portsmouth, NH1 Junkins Avenue, 03801603-610-7243$7/$1000 cost per construction
Dover, NH3 Walpole St. 02030508-785-1130$25 ( plus $25 application fee)
Concord, NH115R North State Street, 03301603-225-8651$50 (275-gallon); $50.00 (500 to 1,000-gallons); $100 (2,000 to 5,000-gallons)

* Boston includes West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Allston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Brighton, Roxbury.

**Newton includes Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Lower Falls, Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Newtonville, Nonantum, Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Upper Falls, Waban, West Newton.

Underground Tank Closure Reports

In addition to ensuring the safe removal and disposal of the tank, contractors must measure for contamination at the time of closure. Service contractors must know the proper protocols for measuring and documenting contamination and be able to identify contamination conditions that are reportable. Regarding contaminated waste or soil management, closure reports are important because they show a potential purchaser, fire department, MADEP and NHDES that the closure was performed and managed properly.

Example of Soil Analytical Results

DateTimeSample IDSampleDepthPIDPID [background]SamplerNotes
(M/DD/YY)(0:00 AM/PM)(Feet)(PPM)(PPM)(Initials)
4/27/202010:10 AMSW1sidewall 113'0 ppm0 ppmJ.C.
4/27202010:12 AMSW2sidewall 213'0 ppm0 ppmJ.C.
4/27/202010:15 AMSW3sidewall 313'0 ppm0 ppmJ.C.
4/27/202010:18 AMSW4sidewall 413'0 ppm0 ppmJ.C.
4/27/202010:23 AMPBpit bottom14'0 ppm0 ppmJ.C.
4/27/202010:50 AMpiping areaJ.C.Located under patio. Piping passed pressure testing and capped.

The Cost of Maintaining a Residential Underground Tank

Testing a buried oil tank in Southbridge Ma.

CommTank technician tests a 1,000-gallon underground oil tank.

The state of Massachusetts does not regulate underground oil tanks; however, many towns have rules in place to ensure tanks are operating safely and limiting impacts on the environment. A common rule for underground tanks is to require tank tightness testing.  For example, the Town of Brewster requires residential underground oil tank testing 15 years after installation and annually after 20 years. The town also mandates that underground fuel oil tanks must be removed and properly disposed of after 30 years or prior to the title transfer of property where an underground storage tank exists. In order to protect groundwater and surface water from contamination, the Town of Natick requires tank testing at 15 years and annually after that. The cost of tightness testing an underground tank ranges between $800 and $1,300 depending on the size and location of the tank. Annual testing of an older oil tank may be cost-prohibitive.

Fluids Stored in Residential Underground Tanks

  • Fuel Oil
  • Kerosene (used in stoves and portable heaters)
  • Gasoline (typically found on farms or in homes built before filling stations were common.)

Whether you own a residential or commercial property, it’s important to know that most underground storage tanks will last between 10 and 50 years depending on site conditions, tank material, and maintenance. They may eventually leak, which could contaminate the property and cost thousands to clean up. Even larger tanks specifically designed for underground use can leak if they do not have adequate corrosion protection, that’s why underground tank removals make sense for many property owners.

"I just wanted to express my appreciation for the very professional job that you, Luis, and Carlos did in managing the removal of my UST." – Ray Cannon, Andover, MA

275-gallon oil tank that was pulled out of the ground

An example of a heating oil tank that was not designed for underground installation.

A Highland 1,000-gallon underground heating oil tank.

An example of a heating oil tank that was designed for underground installation.

You can find examples of our below-ground tank removal work at the residential project pages below.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is considered an underground storage tank?
  • A: “An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply only to UST systems storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances." Source (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Apr. 11, 2017)


  • Q: Do underground tanks have to be removed?
  • A: Massachusetts and New Hampshire do not regulate residential underground tanks but individual towns may prohibit their continued use. Contact the town or city in which the tank is located to determine if any local ordinances apply. Insurance companies and banks also place limitations on underground oil tanks installed at residential locations. Check with the lender and/or insurer to see what their requirements are.


  • Q: What is the life expectancy of an underground tank?
  • A: The answer depends on tank construction and the installation technique used by the contractor. Homeowners that install fiberglass underground tanks with proper backfill of sand or rounded pea stone can expect a long life from a buried oil tank. The tank must be secured using weighted bands to prevent it from moving during heavy rains. An underground tank must also have fuel lines that are rated for use underground. Unfortunately, many tanks that were installed underground weren’t designed for underground installation.  Aboveground rated 275-gallon steel oil tanks do not last more than 10-15 years when installed underground. Steel tanks designed for underground installation typically last 20 years. The manufacturer’s warranty is a good indicator of how long the tank is expected to last. Maintenance of underground tanks are another factor. Older compounds used to seal joints dry out and crack over time and may cause a leak through the pipe threads. Teflon tape does not dry out but is not widely used to seal piping of underground tanks. An ideal underground tank installation would have a double-wall fiberglass design, double-wall fuel supply and vent piping, with Teflon based pipe sealant. It would also have a leak detection system installed to monitor fuel levels and sound and alarm if fuel entered the secondary wall of the tank.


  • Q: Can you sell a house with an underground tank?
  • A: It’s unlikely a lending institution will approve a mortgage for the buyer. If the buyer finds a lender that will approve a mortgage then the lender will request a tank tightness test report to prove that the tank is safe. Testing an underground tank for tightness is one way to ensure the tank is sound. A soil test is also part of tank testing and it verifies that soil surrounding the tank is not contaminated. While this process provides reassurance about the tank’s condition, it is not infallible. Clay located beneath a tank will contain a leak and mask the location of a hole. Soil testing provides an analysis of the soil surrounding the tank but not the area directly beneath it.  The fuel supply line that connects the tank to the home’s heating system is difficult to test without excavating to the top of the tank.  Isolating the fuel line and pressure testing to the manufactures rating is the only way to ensure the line is liquid and air tight.


  • Q: Can you fill an underground tank with sand?
  • A: Yes, but the tank has to meet certain conditions. The fire department will approve a "tank closure in place" if the removal of the tank will cause structural damage to the home. An example of a property that met this condition can be found at our underground tank closure project in Marlboro, Ma.  Filling an underground tank with sand will also cost more than removing the tank, due to the extra steps needed to close it in place. A structural engineer must inspect the site and provide a recommendation to the Fire Department. The technicians have to drill borings beside the tank and cut a hole on the tank bottom to collect soil samples, to rule out contamination. We don’t recommend filling a tank with sand because additional labor is required to fill the tank and compact it. A flowable fill is preferred since it is less labor intensive and reduces the risk of compaction over time. 


  • Q: How deep are oil tanks buried?
  • A: We have found underground oil tanks installed at depths of 1-3 feet. Residential tanks are more likely to be buried at shallow depths whereas commercial tanks are installed deeper to prevent damage during floods (an empty tank will become buoyant as the water table rises and can pop out of the ground if not secured with straps connected to concrete underneath). The soil type and water table typically determine the depth that a residential tank is installed.  


  • Q: How do you determine if there is a buried oil tank?
  • A: Vent and fill pipes in the yard or near the house foundation frequently trigger investigations for an underground tank during a real estate transaction.  The buyer should check for a record of decommissioning if the homeowner is unsure of the existence of a buried oil tank. If a record does not exist then CommTank will use a utility locator to search for an underground tank.


  • Q: Should I remove my underground oil tank?
  • A: Approximately 50% of 275-gallon 12-gauge steel tanks are estimated to develop leaks within 15 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Many older underground home heating tanks were never designed to withstand long-term exposure to soil and water. Even steel tanks that were specifically designed for underground use can leak if they do not have adequate corrosion protection. Home heating oil storage tank leaks can be very damaging to the environment and leaking petroleum products may contaminate the groundwater. Toxic ingredients such as benzene, toluene or xylene threaten human health by poisoning the environment and may require costly cleanup.


  • Q: Can I convert an underground oil storage tank into a water storage tank?
  • A: We were asked this question by a client who thought a 5,000-gallon underground oil tank could be emptied, steam cleaned and used to store potable water. The short answer is ‘once a fuel tank, always a fuel tank’.  It should never be used for fluids that come in contact or consumption by humans. Removing leachable compounds (contact toxins such as benzene and TCE at the PPM and PPB level) in the molecular grain structure of the base metal would be very difficult.


  • Q: What do you do with contaminated soil?
  • A: Contaminated soil is stockpiled on site until it is approved for disposal. It is then transported to a licensed facility, where it can be recycled or used in waste oil burners.


  • Q: Do you have to be licensed to remove a buried oil tank?
  • A: Regulated tanks require a licensed contractor. Residential tanks are not typically regulated by the state, however, many municipalities in New Hampshire require certifications from the contractor. Certification demonstrates training in and knowledge of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) laws and procedures required for the removal of Underground Storage Tanks (USTs).


  • Q: Why would I remove an underground tank when I could close a tank in place?
  • A: Removing an underground tank is typically less expensive than closing a tank in place or tank abandonment as it's sometimes called. For more information about underground tanks closed in place please see our service page that compares the costs and steps required.