First there were wood and coal burning stoves. Then oil heat became the “standard.” Today it is natural gas. Oil furnaces require oil tanks. The tank can be in one of three places. Outside above ground, below ground or in the basement. There may be soil contamination around an above ground tank but where we get scared is the inground tanks.
The Department of Environmental Quality oversees oil tanks and their decommissioning through their HOT program. This is a complete list of resources regarding oil tanks. The highlights are linked below.
Oregon law provides the following when it comes to oil tanks and real estate:
466.878 Required actions when use of underground heating oil tank is terminated; requirements at time of sale of real property containing abandoned heating oil tank. (1) When the use of an underground heating oil tank is terminated because the tank is replaced or an oil-heated building or residence is converted to a different primary source of heat:
(a) The property owner shall ensure that the underground heating oil tank has been emptied of oil, which shall be appropriately managed.
(b) The vent line shall be left in place if the tank is not decommissioned.
(c) The person installing the new heating equipment shall advise the property owner that it is illegal to disconnect a heating oil tank without pumping out the tank and that there are practices recommended by the Department of Environmental Quality for decommissioning a heating oil tank.
(2) When real property is sold, the seller shall ensure that any abandoned heating oil tank that is known to be on the property has been emptied of oil, which shall be appropriately managed, and the seller shall provide to the buyer documentation showing that the tank has been emptied. [1999 c.880 §6]