Site Decommissioning and Tank Removal
The majority ambient heat in BC is provided by natural gas (Enerficiency Consulting, 2010). However, natural gas was not available on Vancouver Island until the 1990s; unlike Vancouver when it had been used for at least 30 years prior. This meant that many islanders heated their homes with oil burning furnaces, the cheaper alternative to electricity, which required large above or below ground storage tanks.
Fast forward to present-day when it’s rare to find a home that’s still heated by burning oil but all too common to find the infrastructure (i.e. storage tank and fuel lines) still in the house. Unfortunately, when consumers ditched oil for another source heat, it was common practice to leave the oil infrastructure behind, especially if the storage tank was underground. These underground storage tanks became a source of soil and groundwater contamination, and WES has been involved in oil tank removals since Doug Wittich started the company in 1997.
It’s not uncommon that as a property passed through the hands of different owners, the fact the property had a tank is not passed on or forgotten. As the tank remains underground, out of sight and mind, it’s easy for the degradation of the tank’s infrastructure to go unnoticed. Historical underground oil tanks only had a single wall (as opposed to newer, double-walled tanks), and were made of steel. Over time, as water comes into contact with the tank or fuel lines, they would rust. Eventually, a corrosion hole forms and the oil leaks out into surrounding soil and groundwater, creating an oil spill. The oily water will spread out over time and if the tank was close to the building, it can make its way into the foundation or sumps – off-gassing into the building’s breathing zones. This is when it becomes critical that any oily water removal take place, and usually the clue that there was a historical fuel tank. Other clues can be fill and vent pipes, fuel lines in furnace rooms, chimneys on buildings currently heated electrically.
These “surprises” are something to keep in mind when buying or developing residential/commercial properties on Vancouver Island. There are also instances when clients know full well that underground fuel tanks exist on a property, these are gas or service stations. It can be financially advantageous for some clients to “flip” these types of properties: buying a property with known contamination, engaging in the tank removal and environmental clean up services, and then selling the property as a clean site. WES has been involved in these types of projects, where a business-oriented solution is what the client is after.
Whether you are looking to invest in a property or just trying to clean up a historical mess, WES’ team of professionals are ready to deliver all your tank removal, environmental clean up, and oil spill services.
Storage Tank Removal
Commercial/Industrial Property Decommissioning
Service Station Decommissioning