Oil Tank Decommissioning — When and Why You Should Consider It

oil tank decommissioning

Oil Tank Decommissioning

Oil tanks are not designed to last forever. That being said, there are disadvantages to decommissioning your tank too early or decommissioning it too late. Knowing when and why you should decommission your industrial oil tank ensures that you are making the most of your investment without risking future problems.

Why You Need Oil Tank Decommissioning

Underground oil tanks corrode owing to the materials they are made from. You will see this as rust. Your industrial tank will rust at a speed determined by factors like the moisture and acidity of the soil at your location, how thick the tank was, how old it is, and any damage the tank undergoes throughout its lifetime. Ultimately, your underground oil tank will rust and corrode — it is just a matter of when.

That rust and corrosion lead to holes and leaks, which is an environmental concern, and a concern in terms of storing oil, which is now leaking into the soil or groundwater at your location. An environmental cleanup and remediation can be costly, along with your business having to eat the cost of the now-gone oil.

Opting for oil tank decommissioning before you get to that point will save money and hassle. Having your industrial tank properly decommissioned prevents the need for further environmental measures. It is the correct way to deal with an oil tank that is no longer being used, for whatever reason.

Decommissioned tanks do not necessarily have to be removed from the property but they are rendered unusable, filled with an inert substance like foam or sand after all of the oil is removed.

One of the common reasons companies decommission tanks is the age of the unit, fulfilling the desire to stop using that tank before it corrodes irreparably without having to remove the whole thing. Sometimes decommissioning can include oil tank removal, but this depends on the location, the situation, and the company’s goals in taking the tank out of service. See our article on the average oil tank removal cost for more information.

When to Decommission an Industrial Oil Tank

There are other reasons to decommission an oil tank aside from a failing tank. If your company stops using oil for industrial applications, you have no need for a tank and can thus decommission it so that you do not have to worry about what’s happening with it as you go forward. Improperly abandoned oil tanks can leak, as we mentioned, or even explode, which leaves you with a huge problem on your hands.

Sometimes tanks are decommissioned and removed to address potential soil and water contamination. If you know or suspect that your location’s environment is contaminated, decommissioning an aging tank and getting it out of the way can solve the problem or at least help narrow the issue, making room for soil and water testing.

Companies that are expanding or moving may wish to decommission and/or remove an oil tank to safely construct more facilities on site, or sell the property with the knowledge that the oil tank has been taken care of.

With all of these reasons, and more, it is clear that oil tank decommissioning is something that any company with a tank on site will have to consider at some point. Having your tank decommissioned safely, properly, and in compliance with any regulations and laws is vital — if you do not get it done correctly, it is just as bad as not doing it at all.

As your industrial remediation experts we are here to handle your oil tank decommissioning project with skill and quality service.