- State News
- Gas Industry
DEP Offers Oil Tank Inspection Tips
With heating season here, the Department of Environmental Protection is urging homeowners to act now to save money and energy by inspecting indoor and outdoor home heating oil tanks for potential problems prior to re-filling.
“A quick, 10-minute visual inspection of the tank is important to identify potentially serious problems before they occur,” DEP’s Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said.
Check the tank and all structural supports for signs of rusting. The tank’s fill line and the feed line to the furnace should be examined for leaks. Wet spots or odors near the tank may signal a problem.
If a resident cannot be home when fuel oil is delivered, clearly mark the fill pipe with a red flag or marker and inform the oil company of that location. Make certain that any disconnected fill pipes that remain above ground are permanently sealed and cannot be opened.
In addition, tanks should never be tipped over or emptied on the ground. Maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system should be done by a professional and consumers should always assume the tank contains oil.
“Many environmental problems can result from a leaking tank or line. This is especially true if the tank suddenly ruptures and collapses,” Feola said. “Homeowners also should be sensitive to the increased cost of losing heating oil beyond the serious environmental consequences of a leak or spill. Proper maintenance helps to save money.”
Leaking heating oil could cause indoor air problems and potentially contaminate groundwater and private drinking water wells. A spill cleanup may cost several thousand dollars and while heating oil prices are down from last year, residents should avoid losing fuel needlessly to protect the investment they have made to keep themselves warm.
Residents who think their oil tank may have a problem should immediately contact their oil company for help.
Residents also can obtain a free DEP fact sheet, “Tips for Residential Heating Oil Tank Owners,” by calling DEP’s regional office at 484-250-5960 or by visiting www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Storage Tanks.