Above Ground Oil Tank Leak Caused $50k Disaster Informative - Oil Tank Leak Disaster
After a catastrophic fuel oil spill on my property, this is my advice to anyone currently using oil heat or considering the use of oil heat in new construction.
I purchased a rental property in NJ in 2005. It had oil heat and 2 above-ground tanks. When I purchased the property, it was not possible to establish the age of the tanks, so tank insurance was NOT available. But I had them inspected, cleaned and tested immediately after buying the property, and they were deemed to be in OK condition.
In March of this year, while I was away on business, a tenant called to tell me that there was a very strong oil smell. I called my oil vendor and asked him to look at the tank. He called back to tell me that the tank had leaked almost 100 gallons, a neighboring property was affected, and the DEP had been notified.
The cleanup has cost nearly $50k to date, and while I hope we're finally approaching closure, I don't yet have a final pass from the DEP. Any institutional funds that might have been available for cleaning up leaks from below ground tanks were not applicable for above ground ones.
I considered replacing the tanks with new leak-proof Roth tanks, but the cost of these tanks with installation was a substantial portion of the cost of conversion to natural gas.
I decided to speak to NJ Natural Gas about the feasibility of bringing in gas service to my property and, although they did not even have service on my street, they agreed to bring it to my property at their expense, and actually completed the work last week.
Considering all the maintenance and service problems I've experienced with oil heating equipment at this property (as compared to the "no-fuss" gas heat in my home), the catastrophic cost of the oil spill cleanup, and the exorbitant cost of purchasing and installing leak-proof tanks, the conversion to natural gas has been a real bargain - not the nightmare that the oil companies claim. And, although I can't yet speak from experience about the cost of heating with gas as compared to oil, all impartial sources seem to agree that costs will be certainly be no higher with gas than with oil, and likely somewhat less.
I'm done heating with oil. Too bad I had to learn the hard way!