For some, oil heating is indeed a sustainable solution. However, the contamination, which can be caused by the 40,000 abandoned tanks in Quebec, represents a real "time bomb" for new buyers.
Gradually, people converted to electricity and other methods of heating. The fuel oil was left behind as was, in many cases, the tank that was used to store it. Several of these tanks were at the time buried in the ground and were abandoned without thinking too much about it .
What makes an oil tank problematic?
It is only a matter of time before a hole forms and the toxic sludge contaminates the surrounding soil. In some cases, the oil tank being buried near the house, contaminants find their way to the drains of the residence. The smell will be very strong for visitors although the inhabitants of the house may be used to it. A certified building inspector can pinpoint the problem with certainty and advise you of your choices for decontamination.
How do I find a buried fuel oil tank?
It is also possible to detect them with ground penetrating radar or an electromagnetic survey.
What if my soil is contaminated with fuel oil?
Most of the time, sanitation is done by removing the soiled soil as well as all the mechanical components present. Depending on the extent of the spill, the work can be done manually or with a power shovel.
Some non-excavation methods are currently in development:
- Biorestoration (the injection of biological agents into the soil)
- Phytoremediation (the use of plants to neutralize contamination)
- Chemical oxidation (treatment with oxygen è not that stimulates biodegradation)
- Biorespiration or multi-phase extraction (simultaneous suction of liquids and pumping of air)
- The injection of air into the water (promotes the degradation of hydrocarbons)
Who is responsible for decontamination?
It is also possible that you want to sell your land but are not sure if it contains a buried oil tank . In this case, if a buyer later discovers soil contamination, they could take legal action against you.
Whatever the situation, it’s important to be informed. A home inspector is the best person to guide you through this process.
Can the soil be contaminated with other materials?
- Fires and ashes of all kinds
- Everything related to oil and petroleum
- Chemical manufacturing
- Food production
- Animal husbandry
- Extraction of minerals and metals
- Wastewater treatment and snow deposit
- Car repair
- Cement and asphalt manufacturing
- Pulp and paper manufacturing
- Improper storage of hazardous products