Problems with Underground Oil Storage Tanks
Many homes in the Greater Vancouver area built before 1957 were originally heated with
furnace oil. When natural gas became available, the oil storage tanks, which were
normally located underground in backyards, were filled with sand or capped. However, as
these unused tanks start to corrode and rust, the remaining oil can leak out and flow onto
the rest of the owner’s property, the neighbour’s property, storm sumps and waterways,
resulting in contamination of soil and water. Apart from the negative financial impact on
the market value of the property, the owner can face substantial legal liability under
various statutes and bylaws for such contamination.
The BC Fire Code and by-laws of twelve municipalities (including the City of
Vancouver) all essentially require that out of service underground oil storage tanks
(“UST”) be removed and that all contaminated soil must be removed and replaced with
The responsibility for the removal of the UST and remediating any contamination falls on
the current property owner. The costs of such removal can be expensive depending on
how much remediation work is involved. However, if the UST is ignored and not dealt
with promptly and correctly, the costs can be exponentially more.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
You should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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