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Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Excavated oil tank ready for inspection
Excavated oil tank ready for inspection

How Much Does It Cost to Remove an Oil Tank?

The answer, unfortunately, is not always a simple one. The cost of removing an oil tank can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the size and location of the tank, the type of tank (steel or fiberglass), the condition of the soil around the tank, the contents inside the oil tank and whether or not there is any contamination present. In this blog post, we'll break down some of the main factors that affect the cost of oil tank removal so you can have a better idea of what to expect.

What does the " Contents " inside the tank mean?

When it comes time to remove a buried oil tank, the contents inside the tank will be a factor that determines the cost of removal. The most common material found in an underground storage tank (UST) is oil, but sand, gravel, foam and concrete can also be present. If there is oil in the tank, special pumping equipment will be required to empty it, which will incur an additional pump out fee. Other materials such as sand, gravel, or foam must be removed and disposed of correctly - adding extra time and cost to the removal process. If the tank is filled with concrete, more tools may be necessary for its removal, further increasing the cost. To ensure a smooth and successful oil tank removal process, it’s important to be clear about the contents of the tank before removal begins. We understand that oil tank removal can be a stressful process, which is why we always strive to provide a hassle-free service. Our technicians are experienced with all types of tanks and materials, so you can count on quality advice and assistance when it comes to removing your buried oil tank.

Oil Tank Removal Process - Why size and location matter

One of the most important factors in determining the cost of oil tank removal is the size of the tank and the location. Smaller above ground tanks can typically be removed for under $1,000, while larger buried oil tanks can cost upwards of $2,500 or more. Oil tanks that are above ground are generally easier (and therefore less expensive) to remove than those that are buried underground. Location is a big factor as well because an oil tank buried under a driveway, sidewalk, or deck as opposed to in a lawn will have added expense to restore the area to previous condition. Oil tanks buried in areas inaccessible to an excavator are also more labor intensive and may require hand digging, removal of fencing or landscaping.

The process of removing an oil tank generally includes this procedure:

  1. 1. Hiring qualified company to perform an oil tank sweep and properly marking the location.

  2. 2. Removal company must then obtain necessary permits and call in an 811-one call utility mark-out.

  3. 3. Excavating the soil and exposing the top of the oil tank, then cutting a hatch in the top and pumping out any existing oil, sludge or sediment with a vacuum pump.

  4. 4. A technician will then drop inside of the tank and physically clean the area.

  5. 5. Next, excavate the tank from its location and inspect for holes, excessive rust, corrosion and signs of leaking. The removal company and the inspector from the towns municipality will perform this inspection. If the inspection is clear, the area will be backfilled and graded. In the event the tank has leaked, the remediation process will begin.

  6. 6. Disposal of tank properly.

*The cost for remediation can range anywhere from $7500 dollars to excess of $100,000 depending on the severity of the contamination.

Depending on the size and location of the tank, this process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete.

Oil Tank Disposal Options:

Once an oil tank is removed, it must be disposed of properly. The three most common options for disposing of an old oil tank are recycling, repurposing, or sending it to a landfill.

-Recycling: Many companies that remove oil tanks will recycle them if possible. This typically involve crushing or cutting up the tanks so that they occupy less space and then selling them to scrap metal dealers.

-Repurposing: Oil tanks can also be repurposed for uses such as rainwater collection systems or septic tanks.

-Sending to a Landfill: If recycling or repurposing is not possible, the last resort is to send the old oil tank to a landfill.


As you can see, there are several factors that affect the cost of removing an old oil tank. We do not recommend purchasing a property until the non-active oil tanks have been removed. It is important to note that failing to remove an old oil tank can result in expensive cleanup costs if leaks and contamination occur. As such, we recommend that you consult with a professional about your specific situation before making a decision. For more information about our oil removal services, please contact us today. We are here to help you through the entire process and provide you with all the guidance and assistance you need. Thank you for choosing us!

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