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Storage Tank Removal

Point to Point Environmental provides turnkey project management for the proper closure and removal of above ground storage tank (AST) and underground storage tank (UST) systems.  AST and UST removal must begin with the careful coordination among the interested parties involved.  Management of the environmental liabilities and physical risks can be just as significant as managing the upfront costs of a project.  The tank owner may not always own the property itself, and Point to Point to Point has completed tank removals is a variety of situations where there is also a business owner, tenant and potential buyer/new owner involved.  ASTs and USTs are installed in a variety of locations, from construction sites to open fields, residential properties to active retail gas stations and convenience stores.  USTs may be installed in confined areas, alongside an active roadway or in the middle of a roadway improvement project.  Industrial tanks may be installed inside a building, and many installations include underground piping that extends beneath driveways, roadways, and active utilities.  Depending on the geographical location, removal of a UST installed within bedrock may require specialized equipment, or in a coastal areas where extensive dewatering and excavation shoring are required.  Whatever the scenario, Point to Point environmental staff have the experience to outline and execute a successful project plan.


Point to Point Environmental staff will meet with the owner, business operator and designated representatives that have a working knowledge of the site construction details, particulars of the AST or UST system installation,  and locations of service utilities at the site to gain an understanding of the logistical challenges with physically removing an above ground storage tank system and excavating and removing an underground storage tank system.  These preparations are invaluable, and will help to prevent potential damage to the property or utilities during tank closure activities.


Once a project specific plan is outlined with a milestone schedule for completion, there are often several layers of notifications that must be completed before any work can begin.  Responsibilities include providing notification to the appropriate local and state regulatory agencies.  The local Fire Marshall must be notified prior to initiating storage tank removal.  Typically the state Fire Marshall, in conjunction with their local affiliates, have responsibility for approving the installation of new underground storage tank fueling systems.  However, the local Fire Marshall offices also have the authority to conduct regular inspections of active underground storage tank sites, and they must also be notified of any pending UST closure and removal activities.  The fire marshal’s concerns are centered on safety.  Underground storage tank systems are regularly used to store petroleum products, fuel oil and other dangerous materials.  The failure to follow the proper procedures during the closure and removal of USTs can result in damage to property, equipment, and injury to persons including fatalities.  The state underground storage tank environmental authority must also be notified.  Typically the environmental protection division in a given state has a notification requirement that may also require the submittal of a detailed UST closure and removal plan.  Conducting the proper notifications is imperative.  Failure to submit the proper paperwork and complete the required notifications could result in a violation/citation, fines, and potentially jeopardize future eligibility for reimbursement funding through insurance and/or state administered UST trust fund programs should additional soil and groundwater assessment and remediation activities be required in the future.


Point to Point will coordinate and provide oversight during the proper removal and disposal of USTs, fuel oil tanks, underground piping, and all applicable appurtenances.  Storage tank removal is a task that should only be undertaken by professionals with the experience and training to follow the proper protocols.  During a underground storage tank or above ground storage tank closure and removal process, if several key stages are not properly completed, the outcomes can be dangerous and potentially threaten human health and the environment.  Point to Point maintains relationships with a variety of qualified local subcontractors who are experienced with both AST and UST closure and removal.  These subcontractors maintain the proper health and safety training, are well known and reputable within the industry, and are well versed in the proper protocols.


The preliminary field activities include notification to the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) before commencing excavation activities.  Identifying the volume and contents left in the storage tank system is imperative, as is making the proper arrangements to remove as much of the free liquids from the tank(s) as is practicable.  This includes purging of all piping and fuel dispenser/pumps.  In a UST fueling system, pumping the tanks empty using the dispensing system is typically not adequate, as it leaves several inches of fuel remaining at the bottom of the UST.  Ideally, removal of all tank contents should be completed using a vacuum truck, and all liquids should be properly disposed of at a registered facility.  Once a tank is empty of all free liquids, there is a risk that the empty tanks contain an atmosphere where lingering vapors can create an explosive environment.   Point to Point coordinates with the UST removal contractor to ensure that the tank atmosphere has been made properly inert, and the tank is screened using organic vapor analyzers to ensure vapor measurements are outside of the ranges for explosion.


Once the USTs and all underground piping and dispenser islands have been removed, Point to Point will collect the required soil samples for laboratory analysis per the applicable state requirements.  If the excavation intersects the groundwater table, groundwater samples can also be collected for laboratory analysis.  It is essential to collect the proper samples during the UST closure activities to document that a proper system closure has been completed in accordance with the applicable state regulatory requirements.  Failure to collect the proper documentation during the closure activities can result in costly return trips for additional soil and groundwater sample collection.   All samples collected during the closure assessment activities must be properly preserved, stored on ice, and transported under signed chain-of-custody to a certified laboratory for analysis.  The laboratory analyses are dependent on the substance stored in the UST system, and are selected to meet the specific compound analysis as outlined with the state regulatory guidance. AST removal is typically not regulated by state environmental regulators, but these rules vary from state to state.


If soil contamination is observed during the UST removal process, additional excavation of the source material can be conducted, dependent on the applicable regulations.  However, over excavation of this ‘source material’ is not always advisable.  Additionally, attempts may be made while onsite to vertically delineate the extents of the impacted soil.  Whatever the situation, Point to Point Environmental will design an appropriate and cost effective plan, and to coordinate these additional activities with our clients and the regulatory agency providing oversight.


A UST Closure report is prepared by experienced Point to Point Environmental scientists that properly documents the closure activities and the analytical results of the samples collected.  The report must be signed by the tank owner, and Point to Point Environmental works with the tank owner and property owner to ensure that all additional paperwork is submitted to the applicable regulatory authorities.  Contaminant concentrations are compared to the regulatory thresholds, and conclusions are presented which provide the recommendations for further investigation and corrective action, as applicable.


The most sensible and cost effective strategies are employed to ensure that Point to Point Environmental makes the best decisions in the field to safeguard against small projects resulting in large invoices.  Effective communication and management of change ensures that all options for an expeditious and cost effective outcome are explored with our clients.  Please contact Point to Point Environmental at 678-565-4440 to discuss your UST (underground storage tanks) and fuel oil tank removal needs.