Could this be an underground oil tank in my basement??


  #1  
Old 12-16-09, 02:22 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Could this be an underground oil tank in my basement??

Hey Gang,
I am breaking up a section of my basement floor to put in plumbing for a bathroom and because the floor is very thin and uneven... old hand poured kind of thing I guess. Anyhow, there was 2 sections of nice thick flat concrete, seperate slabs. I busted up the first one, about 3 x 6, just a slab. The other one (2x3) is much tuffer but I busted off a corner... There looks to be a tank or lid or something. I havn't gone any farther yet, but I think I'll dig down the side of the slab next. Also, there is a 1 1/4" pipe comes out of the floor next to this slab and is capped. There is also a 1/2" conduit that goes into the floor in the same area.

What could this be? What is the worst I'm looking at here? The house used to burn coal, and there is natural gas now... Would there have been an oil boiler at some point? If it is a tank that is old and rusted and whatnot... can it just be filled w/ gravel and the floor go over that?

Always fun with an old house!!Beer 4U2
 
  #2  
Old 12-16-09, 04:44 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It might be a buried treasure & now that you've told the world, the IRS, among others may be there soon.

The house could have been heated by oil in between the coal & gas days but there wouldn't be a need for the 1/2 conduit to an oil tank unless it's really a 1/2" tube that would carry the oil to the burner. Are there any signs, on the foundation, where a filler tube might have been?

Now that I think of it, someone might have decided to bury an old unit instead of paying to haul it to the scrap yard.
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-09, 03:18 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I havn't dug down at all yet, but the 1/2" comes out of a j- box then down into the floor. I also havn't looked to see if there is wires going there anymore.

OK, this "tank" is on the outside wall, and the outer room/ below the breakfast room was not always there. It was built after the house was. There could be something under the floor out there. The only other pipe I see (so far) is the 1 1/4" sticking out of the floor next to the "tank".

What about an old water well? Would they have put it in the cellar to avoid freezing in Chicago winters? Maybe the 1/2" is for a well pump?? Or cistern pump?
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-09, 03:58 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Unscrew the cap from the 1-1/4 inch pipe and cautiously take a whiff. If is an abandoned oil tank your nose should be able to tell you unless it was scrubbed clean before decommissioning, which is doubtful because it is doubtful it has a manhole.

If it is an old oil tank...well, I'm glad it isn't under my house. I really doubt that it was a water tank but I guess anything is possible.
 
  #5  
Old 12-17-09, 05:44 AM
Jay11J's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Rochester, Minnesota
Posts: 18,427
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I've never heard of oil tank being undergroud of a home. Just out in the yard.

I am thinking it maybe a water tank... But as said, take a sniff out of the pipe.

Post photo of it if you can?
 
  #6  
Old 12-17-09, 07:22 AM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I wouldn't put my face anywhere near that thing. Put a stick & smell the stick or shine a light in the hole. Wear a mask & some glasses.
 
  #7  
Old 12-17-09, 12:50 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,276
Received 145 Votes on 113 Posts
Pulpo beat me to it; the proper way to smell something is to keep your face away from the source and fan whatever fumes there might be toward your nose.
 
  #8  
Old 12-17-09, 01:22 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 49,235
Received 672 Votes on 595 Posts
Ya, I was thinking if Milemaker was anything like me - it wouldn't be the 1st time I stuck my nose where it didn't belong
 
  #9  
Old 12-17-09, 01:26 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,575
Received 15 Votes on 13 Posts
It was outside but once encountered a round concrete septic tank that ran parallel to the ground instead of perpendicular. Honestly thought it was an 8 foot diameter storm drain at first but if it had been metal instead of concrete I would have thought it was a tank.

They use to make septic tanks out of metal so maybe it is a metal septic tank of similar design but I can't imagine them burying one under a basement but then again the newest addition to my house was built over an abandoned* conventional septic tank so who knows. Maybe the electric is coincidental or they buried the tank as a fallout shelter and you haven't found the entrance yet.

Well not fully abandoned but I'd had the house ten years before I discovered only the bathroom was hooked to city sewer.
 
  #10  
Old 12-17-09, 01:41 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It just seems kinda spookey to open up the pipe... Who knows what may come out!

What is that old saying about opening up a can of worms?
 
  #11  
Old 12-17-09, 01:49 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Milemaker: We're all on the edge of our seats, so don't keep us waiting any longer. Is the answer coming soon?
 
  #12  
Old 12-17-09, 02:55 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,276
Received 145 Votes on 113 Posts
Yeah, let us know if you find Hoffa.
 
  #13  
Old 12-17-09, 04:13 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I laughed at the Hoffa joke but now that you mention it, if there is a body down there, I would go to home depot, load my van with cement & mix until sunrise.
 
  #14  
Old 12-17-09, 05:32 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
OK OK, I'll go downstairs and keep digging. The slab seems to have a steel corner in it, like an angle iron frame...

I'll be back in a few....
 
  #15  
Old 12-17-09, 07:04 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So I dug a little more... I still don't know what it is, but it is much smaller than the 2x3 slab. I have found a bunch of broken glass in the dirt next to the wall, probably used as fill below the foundation walls. This house was built in 1919, so anything is possible. I pulled an intact brown glass bottle out of the ground! It doesn't seem to have any markings or words on it

The glass fill made it easier to dig out below the slab, all the other sides are hard clay. I can see about 6" below the slab, but I still don't think I see anything. The pipe still goes down as does the electric pipe. Maybe I will have to just pull the cap like you all want me to!Beer 4U2
 
  #16  
Old 12-17-09, 07:46 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,499
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Milemaker13 View Post
Maybe I will have to just pull the cap like you all want me to!Beer 4U2



A famous story in the history of the gas utility involves a crew that was digging something up, and encountered some unknown concrete well below grade.

They couldn't figure out what it was, so they got their handy-dandy 80 pound jackhammer out to see what was inside.

Long story short, it was a main high pressure sewage line.
 
  #17  
Old 12-18-09, 03:21 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
SeattlePioneer: Don't scare him. We're trying to get to the buried treasure.
 
  #18  
Old 12-18-09, 03:34 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Lol- I ain't ascared no how!

You're gonna love this... The pipe, I removed the cap and seen that it it had a 90. I dug down and uncovered this 90, but it goes the other way(away from the 'tank slab'! It seems to pass under the sewer line and off to the other side of the basement. So I guess that is unrelated.

Also, the electric line looks to be bending under the wall... Maybe it went out to the garage (that used to be there).

So where does this leave us? Well, guess we're back to busting the slab... maybe it is just a slab after all.

Funny thing- I have uncovered so much broken glass in this area, even a few intact bottles. "The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co." I have even found some machine or car or coal boiler parts! The PO tells me that they did the swap from coal to nat gas... the daughter is supposed to ask her Ma this weekend about it.
 
  #19  
Old 12-18-09, 03:58 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's starting to sound like an ejector or sump pump. What else would need the electric? To be sure, rent an electric jack hammer tomorrow. SeattlePioneer will pay for it.
 
  #20  
Old 12-18-09, 04:39 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,295
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
You may have a house that was built to protect a historical site. The items you have found sound like the findings in many an ex -out house pit. LOL
 
  #21  
Old 12-19-09, 12:49 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 335
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well thats a crappy comment
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: