Oregon Real Estate, Oil Tanks and the DEQ

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]

HOT Weblinks:

Basic DEQ InformationBasic Tank Information

Basic Homeowner HOT Program Information

Basic HOT Service Provider Information

HOT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

HOT Average Costs

Currently Licensed HOT Service Providers

Contractor and Homeowner Decommission Report Preparation Guidance

Contractor and Homeowner Soil Matrix Report Preparation Guidance


4 Comments on “Oregon Real Estate, Oil Tanks and the DEQ

  1. Underground Tanks in Central Oregon

    One of the questions on the Sellers Disclosure is – are there any underground tanks on the property.  In La Pine and a lot of outlying areas the answer is generally yes, it is a septic tank.  Of course if you do not have sewer available a sept…

  2. Information on heating oil tanks available from the Oregon DEQ is difficult to find, read and follow. Visitors to our website can view our “Residential Heating Oil Tank Handbook”, newsletters, photos and other clear and concise information on the subject. Go to http://www.danatanks.com.

  3. Are real estate agents and home inspectors required to investigate abandoned oil lines through a basement slab and share this information with potential buyers?

  4. Linda,


    The seller, home inspector nor Realtor have any mandate to inspect oil lines… or anything else to do with the property proactively. If the buyer has inspections and the seller or Realtor becomes aware of issues, they would have to disclose that info.

    As a buyer, you should consult with your Realtor to choose what inspections you would do and pay for.

    [This applies to Oregon, some states may have different laws]

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