Underground Oil Tanks for Lake Front Homes

If you own a lakefront home and are considering an underground oil tank, you'll need all the information you can get. Below are some basic rules for installing, removing, maintaining and testing an underground oil tank on lakefront property.


The only tanks allowed by most lakefront communities are cathodic protected steel tanks. These tanks are treated and contain zinc anodes to provide protection. Fiber glass tanks are also allowed, though they are more complicated and expensive. Make sure to hire a local contractor that is familiar with zoning and regulations in you lakefront community.


Removal of an underground oil tank buried near a lake is very tricky and involves the following steps:

  • Inspection
  • Removal/disposal of tank contents
  • Excavation
  • Sealing/capping of oil lines
  • Soil testing
  • Back-filling of tank site

Only a qualified contractor or oil tank specialist should remove a buried oil tank on lakefront property.


In order to avoid costly and dangerous oil spills, it is important to maintain your underground oil tank. Maintenance for a tank that is buried is minimal, as it mainly consists of inspection and testing. Your oil company should inspect the tank and lines before and after the heating season as well as protect the fill pipes and underground supply lines.


Underground oil tanks, especially when they are in close proximity to a lake, must be tested once a year. There are a number of tests that must be conducted, including:

  • Low-psi oil tank pressure testing
  • Soil testing for oil tank leaks
  • Electronic testing of oil tanks
  • Water testing in oil tanks
  • Ground scanning radar or magnetic sensing

Because special equipment is required to conduct these tests on underground oil tanks, only a specialist or oil company should conduct them.

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