How Oil Tanks Are Tested For Leaks

Estimates claim there are more than 400,000 oil tanks in Virginia, both above ground and below ground. According to Virginia law, if an oil tank is present on the property of a home at the time of sale, the new homeowner assumes responsibility for the oil tank, any problems associated with it and ultimately the oil tank removal. Several factors determine the best method of handling an oil tank, most of which depend on whether it is leaking and the condition of the oil tank. Typically, if an oil tank is leaking – above or below the ground surface – it must be removed. Oil tanks are tested for leaks by using pressure-testing and electronic testing. To determine if water is present in a buried oil tank, most oil tank removal companies can complete a simple test using a probe. If water is found in the oil tank, chances are great the tank is not in suitable condition and will most likely have to be removed.

Working with a professional oil tank removal company, a test will be performed using a low-psi pressure-testing method, which determines the strength of the tank and identifies weak spots or already-formed holes.

Another method of testing an oil tank involves testing the soil around the tank. If evidence is present of oil contamination, then obviously there is a problem with the condition of the oil tank. A proper soil test uses soil borings from a depth below the bottom of the oil tank.

An ultrasound screening program also is available to test the oil tank. This method is used on above-ground oil tanks, by scanning the bottom of the tank to determine the thickness of the steel. Usually, an oil tank that passes an ultrasonic screening can be insured against future oil leaks.

For more information on testing an oil tank, or to discuss other solutions to an oil tank on your property including oil tank removal, contact Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. Serving the Northern Virginia and Washington DC residential and commercial markets since 1987, Soils and Environmental Services, specializes in testing and safely removing above- and below-ground oil tanks.

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