Meadowvale Home Inspections Services
UNDERGROUND OIL TANKS
Underground Oil Tanks Matter
Why does it matter?
Financially, it is important because the cost of removing an underground oil tank and rehabilitating contaminated soil can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars if the tank has leaked.
And the homeowner is responsible for the entire cost!
Is a property likely to have an underground oil tank?
Are there any records of underground storage tanks anywhere?
How Meadowvale finds tanks.
What equipment does Meadowvale use?
In addition to GPR, two additional pieces of equipment are used to assist in locating underground tanks:
A Magnetic Locator is a device which detects ferrous metals exclusively. It will not detect non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, brass or copper. The benefits of a ferrous metal locator is that it will not register ‘false positives’ caused by non-ferrous metals and will detect ferrous metals to a much greater depth than an all-metal detector. Depending on its mass, the magnetic locator will detect a ferrous metal target to a depth of 30 feet or more. Targets are limited to ferromagnetic materials—iron, steel and alloys.
An Inductive Pipe Locator is a device which passes an alternating electric current to a pipe, creating a magnetic field around the pipe. An electromagnetic sensor above the ground detects the induced magnetic field and allows the operator to track the location and depth of the pipe under the ground. This is particularly helpful when an oil fill line is present, but it can also work by inducing a current even if no direct connection to a pipe is possible.
These three pieces of equipment, when used by an experienced operator, enable the inspector to detect and locate underground oil storage tanks with a high degree of accuracy.
How does Ground Penetrating Radar work?
Use of ground penetrating radar will provide the most accurate results when searching for underground oil tanks. Other devices, while helpful in a search, all have serious limitations which do not allow them to provide the high degree of certainty possible with GPR.
GPR has many other uses as well (archeological exploration, construction industry, forensic searches, etc.) For more details, check out this Wikipedia page.
How deep can GPR “see” below the surface?
Can you find oil tanks buried below asphalt and concrete?
The GPR signal penetrates those surfaces and the tanks can be detected by the operator.
Is GPR the same thing as an X-Ray scan?
The terms “Ground Penetrating Radar” and “X-Ray” are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably. But they are not the same thing and they do not describe the same process. For example, the construction industry may use X-Ray scans when examining concrete slabs in multi-story structures such as apartment buildings and parking garages. But X-Ray scans require physical access to both the top and bottom of the substance being scanned. Therefore it cannot be used to find underground oil tanks.
What happens next?
What are the municipal regulations for underground oil tanks in Victoria?
City of Victoria
Municipality of Saanich
Oak Bay Municipality
Town of View Royal
City of Colwood
How soon will I know if you found an underground oil tank on the property?
Should I be concerned if a buried oil tank used to be on my property, but was removed?
The tank may have leaked prior to removal. If the Seller can provide you with a report documenting the tank removal and soil testing for contamination was completed, then you should be fine.
If a tank is found, can Meadowvale remove the tank and test the area for contamination?
Meadowvale Home Inspections does not remove tanks or test the area for contamination. We will be pleased to point you in the direction of reliable companies who are experts in removal and soil remediation if a tank is found on your property.