Maybe your selling your home, or perhaps buying one. Maybe your considering buying or leasing a commercial property. Even if your just curious, you will want to know if, and if so, where any possible underground storage tanks are located on your property.
Most underground storage tanks are designed to hold fuel oil, used for heating. Some, however, can hold propane, septic waste, or waste oil. Fuel oil tanks can be easy to locate. First, think about where your fill and vent is located. Typically these will be located very close to the tank, if not directly on top of it. This is not always the case however, as the fill and the vent both serve very different purposes.
The tanks fill is designed to allow the fuel oil to fill the tank when it is low or empty. This may seem obvious to most. The fill would need to be located relatively close to the tank, however, the location of it may be offset by as much as 10′-15′. This is because of the purpose of the fill. Oil trucks need to be able to access the tanks fill when they arrive to top off the UST, so the fill may be offset to make it easier for the delivery company.
The vent is designed to allow vapors to escape from the tanks and to keep the tank from pressurizing when it is filled. With this in mind, the vent does not need to be close to the tank either, if the layout, design, or position of the tank do not allow for a vent.
Underground Storage Tanks can be located in asphalt driveways, parking lots, grass areas, near buildings, behind garages, and just about anywhere you can imagine. We often shake our heads in amazement trying to figure out “what were they thinking” when we discover the location of some of these tanks.
If your underground storage tank is shallow enough, you can locate the UST with a common metal detector. If you tank is deep, however, you may need some more specialized equipment. We typically locate all underground storage tanks with our Aquatronics A6 Tracer, or ground penetrating radar, or a combination of the both.
The Aquatronics A6 Tracer is a versatile machine. Commonly referred to as a split-box because of its box like shape that splits open prior to use. The A6 allows the user to locate underground metallic objects up to about 10' deep in the Philadelphia, PA area. This is done by applying an Electromagnetic Locating Signal into the ground. Common underground commodities that are identified include buried and forgotten manholes, pipes, wires, metallic conduit, and of course underground storage tanks.
Ground penetrating radar can be an instrumental tool for locating tanks underground. GPR works by identifying difference in soil densities of the earth. “It works just like a fish finder,” you might hear us say in lay-mans terms. When our GPR unit is rolled over the highly dense metallic tanks, the user can identify the location of the tank using a digital screen attached to the radar unit. This can be done in real time, and results are available within 30 seconds in most cases.