removing old oil tank

Old 07-30-02, 07:00 AM
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removing old oil tank

Hi! It's me again, I seem to post all over the place with questions on this current project. I hope this is the place to post this question. We have a large (175-200 gal) oil tank located in the basement against the outside wall, under the back entranceway and stairs. This oil tank has been out of use for 17 yrs. The old owners had their oil furnace replaced with a natural gas 17 yrs ago but never removed the old oil or old oil tank. Now, with an old wall out as part of our basement reno, it seems that there is better access to get the oil tank out before we rebuild the wall. My husband is working hard at removing the remaining sludgy oil, bucket by bucket. Hopefully we'll have that done this week. Then we have to try to disconnect the old oil tank pipes and vents and remove the tank. Does anyone have any suggestions about getting 52 yr old pipes apart, bearing in mind that the tank must always be vented and that we can't risk a spark? We are thinking once the tank is free of the pipes we will see if someone has a winch to winch it up the stairs after it's manhandled to the bottom of the stairs. Does anyone know how to get rid of old oil tanks? Where would I find out? Surely don't want it in the middle of the driveway!! All your suggestions are appreciated!
Old 07-30-02, 09:40 AM
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Might want to contact your local environmental department. I once saw on "This Old House" where someone did it and had to get permits from 3 or 4 different agencies to do it. Or you might want to call a local oil supplier.
Old 08-14-02, 04:46 AM
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DianeMarge: I removed an old oil tank from my basement but it was nearly empty. It had been patched with an interior cement patch which added to the weight. After wrasslin it through the basement using a hydraulic jack and several pieces of 2x4 wood (as a cantilever), we cut it in half using a sawzall and 2 metal blades (outside). It smoked a little but nothing ignited. If you stop periodically you should not create a spark just some heat. Then we simply "got rid of it". Good luck. (disclaimer - this is how I got rid of it. I take no responsibility for others) Peace: e3 - spamman

P.S. If I am correct, once an oil tank is emptied and NOT in one piece (i.e. cut in half) it is not considered a tank. It can then be discarded as scrap metal. Check with the town or state on that definition. Or, your local oil company will charge you for removal from your site.
Old 08-14-02, 05:00 AM
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I saw that TOH episode not too long ago, what a project! For getting the pipes apart a hand-held pipe cutter should suffice.

I would not advise the cutting routine. Although fuel oil has a fairly high flash point, it is theoretically possible to set it off.

If you have access to the basement door from a driveway or open area accessible from the drive, you might try a local towing company with a boom truck (as opposed to a flatbed). Not sure how they'll react to the low-risk hazardous nature of the job, but can't hurt to ask. Depending on your area and the time involved you could probably expect to pay $50 or so.
Old 08-14-02, 08:09 PM
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An Update

Hi Folks! Got my email notice and figured I'd best update this question. We have managed to rid ourselves of the horrible oil tank at this point. It turned out the tank was a 400 gallon tank with over 100 gallons of oil in it. We did talk to our town office here (we live in a small town so there's far less red tape to go through!) and they have someone pick up used oil so talked with them, dumped the oil bucket by bucket into the used oil barrels to be hauled away this Friday. Then we used some huge pipe wrenches (both my hubby and I had to hang on them to make them move but we did it!) and got the pipes out after some serious work. We then realized there was more oil sitting in the bottom of the tank, levered it up and emptied it and manhandled it over to the bottom of the stairs where I gave up! We had some friends who are firefighters come over the next day and those guys lifted that sucker out of there in about 5 minutes! The town gave us instructions on dealing with the tank and that was that! Thanks for your input, do appreciate it and it's always interesting to hear what other folks have done to deal with the problem! Have a good night!

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