The case of Oil Tank Removal vs Abandonment on Long Island

Homeowners who find disused oil tanks on their premises are often at a loss on which is the better way of making it harmless. Oil tank removal is where the tank is taken completely out of the ground and disposed of elsewhere. Oil tank abandonment, on the other hand, involves making a disused oil tank harmless while still on the site. Oil tank abandonment Suffolk County NY experts say the costs and effort involved in the two exercises differ.

Oil Tank Removal Long Island

Oil tank removal

Oil tank removal may be the only option available if the space occupied by the tank is needed for example when laying building foundations.  The tank should be emptied of any residue oil and sludge before being cut into pieces. This makes it easier to remove from the ground.

Oil tank removal takes considerable effort when the tank is buried deep underground or when it is covered by concrete, or under a public walkway. The ground has to be excavated which may call for special equipment and machinery.

The advantage of oil tank removal is that the ground can be completely restored after the excavation. The removal of the tank means it is no longer a pollution risk or can collapse posing a structural danger to the buildings around.

Oil tank abandonment

Oil tank abandonment is the tank is made harmless while still on the ground. This is usually done by filling up the tank with concrete or foam. The top is cut open for better oil tank inspection to assess if there is any oil or sludge left in the tank. If there is, it is pumped out and the tank is cleaned completely.

The tank is then filled with sand, gravel or foam before covering the tank with soil or concrete. Oil tank abandonment is a quick way of making a disused oil tank harmless. The tank cannot collapse in the future even if it corrodes away. The problem with abandonment is that the tank remains an obstacle and would have to be removed if the grounds are needed for other developments. Lifting a filled tank would require a crane or other heavy lifting equipment.

Cost of removal or abandonment

The costs involved in oil tank removal process are higher than those in abandonment.  There are excavations costs, oil draining costs, and disposal costs.  It will cost about $200-300 to get the tank removed while it takes about $1-2 to dispose of the oil sludge. These costs can be reduced by having a scrap metal dealer take away the tank without cost.

While oil tank abandonment immediate costs are not as high as in removal, this can be seen as a postponement of these costs. If the tank is in a commercial property, it is highly likely that the ground will be needed at some point at which removal will be the only option.

A soil test by oil tank inspection Nassau County NY services or the nearby will be needed in both cases to assess whether there had been leaks and if soil remediation. This is helpful to ensure that the oil tank was not a pollutant and take corrective measure if anything is wrong.

Basic economics dictate that costs transferred into the future are higher. Oil tank abandonment is like transferring costs into the future. It is usually highly likely that the ground holding the tank will be required at some point in the future. This means the tank will be removed at a higher cost than would have been in the present.

Time and convenience

Oil tank removal takes considerably longer than abandonment. Ground excavation, lifting of the tank out of the ground and restoring the ground could take more than a week if the logistics are tough, like in a public space.

Oil tank abandonment is shorter. If a development is needed in a hurry, tank abandonment can be done in less than a day.

Land use

Soil remediation Long Island services say that abandoned oil tanks are more likely to damage the soil if the abandonment is not done properly.  Oil tank abandonment can work well for residential use property where there is little likelihood that the grounds in which the tank is buried will be needed for future developments. For commercial properties, oil tank removal is the better option as the land can be put to better use.


Oil tank removal involves digging up the ground to take the tank out. If the tank was buried deep, this can take a considerable volume of soil from the ground.  In a concrete ground, this can be very ugly. After the removal, the grounds will require restoration which implies more costs.

Oil tank abandonment can be done with minimal disruption to the ground. The oil tank is filled with slurry, foam or concrete and left as it is. There is no ground restoration needed.