Heating Oil Tank Program in Oregon

Oil tanks were very common between the 1920s and 1960s to store the relatively cheap heating oil for the oil furnace. If the home has exchanged hands a few times a hidden underground tank may not be known about. The presence of hidden underground oil tanks is an issue that can rear its ugly head on a home inspection every now and then. Thankfully the Oregon DEQ is doing something to help.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) here in Oregon, has a program to help keep track of those oil tanks that may have been forgotten.

The site is:http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/tanks/lust/LustPublicLookup.asp

There is a trick to using the search engine however: You must just enter the address number only!!

If you enter the street name it will not work.

If excavation or redevelopment is planned you can find information on known and suspected Heating Oil Tanks (HOT). Information on: if the site has received a closure letter for the decommissioning, assessment and certification of a HOT is available.

If a HOT is present there may be contamination of the surrounding area and a cleanup may be required. Decommissioning, assessment, and cleanup must be performed by a DEQ licensed HOT Service Provider.

For you agents out there check out this publication: What agents should know about underground oil tanks.   http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/pubs/factsheets/tanks/hot/BuyingSellingHomeHOT.pdf

I posted this information a few months back and the links were not functional (my own mistake for not checking for myself). But last week I actually found two little copper line in the crawlspace on a home in Silverton. These lines are a great indicator of underground storage tanks so I raised a bright orange flag and alerted my client. The home had been owned by 4 different people in the last 20 years and the current owner had the home for the last 6 months. There was very little chance the current owner had a clue about oil tanks and whether proper decommissioning had occurred.

So I tried the search myself and by entering the address numbers but not the street name found documentation that the tank had leaked and had been removed and cleaned up in 2003! That is info that can now be linked to the home no matter who owns it.

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13 comments

  1. Jim I always wondered how to figure out whether or not their might be an underground tank on the property.

    The copper lines is that missing piece! This is great information.

  2. Thanks Melina. That is one peice of the puzzle that might still be visible after the other indicators have been removed.
    Thats #29 of the 3 dozen things home inspectors look for………

  3. I was wondering what is a good in ground pool inspector as well as a fuel tank inspector. There is a Diesel and Gasoline tank on the commercial property I am interested in. Also, what is generally the cost for such?

      1. Thank you I will look them up. Now, the only other thing I will be looking for is someone that does inground pool inspections. Can you use a infared on a ingorund pool? I know it will work on the surface for top side view but how deep will it go to reveal possible leakage?

  4. generally infared will show leakage up to a pool unit but I am not sure how deep it will show leakage. In Arizona infared is one of the best things for a pools because you can follow it to/from the pool but I am not sure if someone can use it for depth

    1. Infrared only shows surface temperature. In Arizona, the air and soil surface temps are high and when water is introduced you can see the cooling. Around here, things are all around 52 degrees in and around the soil so there would not be much of a temperature difference. I would ask some of the pool installation/service places around here if they know of someone that does that type of inspection. I have heard about a company that uses a sonic listening device to “hear” leakage. “American Leak Detectors” I think is their name.
      With all of that being said, I am continually surprised at what my fancy little camera can detect and sometimes things “light-up” that I never expected. Keep me posted if you do find a good pool inspector.

  5. Thank you for the current update I will contact them. Also, I will keep you updated on if I find a good pool inspector. I am sure it will help your records too.
    warmest and happy holidays.

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