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Underground rental tank removal?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Joe Matthews, Sep 21, 2010.

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  1. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    I bought my house about 10 months ago and it came with a underground propane tank that is owned by the gas company. They are a sorry company to deal with. I had issues with them even before I moved in and decided to get my own tank. I want them to come get their tank, and they said they would if I dug it up and raised it to the surface. It seems to me that the tank is their property, and they should remove it from my property if I want it gone. Has anyone heard of any rules on this subject? If I have to remove it from the ground I will be hauling it to the scrap yard, so they will not have to worry about it anymore...

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  2. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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  3. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    I am trying to find out who I need to speak to now. I placed a call to the county, but have not learned anything yet. They only deal with new installations and commercial requirements, supposedly. They told me I could contact another company to see what they had to say, but I dont understand why I need to contact some other company to learn what the state and county regulations are regarding a company's obligations to removing a rental tank. If I dont want to rent it from them, and I either do not want to, or can not afford to dig it up does that mean they are content to abandon it on my property? I will keep exploring this issue and hopefully speak to someone who can give me some answers.
  4. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    careful with removal, LP gas is heavier than air & tank can still contain some. EPA has concerns with buried tanks but i dunno who's liabillity it might be.........good lux
  5. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    Did you ask how much they would want to sell you the existing tank?
  6. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    The existing tank has been in the ground for a long time and the top is damaged from something hitting it. The gauge has never been acurate and the valve leaks. I tried to get them to fix the issues, and after doing their "inspection" they said everything was fine. They are a pain to deal with and that is why I bought my own in addition to being able to get better prices. I do not want the tank if it is free. It will have to come out at some point for inspection, and I just want it gone. I found out that the dept of agriculture standards division is the regulating body over them. I should have guesed because they conduct the weights and measures testing on scales and gas pumps. The person I need to speak to is not in today, so will have to find out more tomorrow....
  7. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    If the tank is empty or near empty try floating it out? Dig a few holes around it and turn on the hose...

    I have no idea if this would actually work, but in theory it would :)
  8. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    Thats an interesting idea.... Will exhaust all avenues of attempting to get the company that owns it to come remove it first before I start getting creative. Hopefully I will get some definite answers from the Dept of agriculture man when I am able to speak to him to find out exactly who is legally responsible to remove it.
  9. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    if the water drains, try many helium ballons
  10. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    I might drill a small hole in it and get a long cannon fuse....
  11. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    Might not need the cannon fuse after drilling on it!
  12. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    Eh, Just make sure you are using a flint coated drill bit and you should be fine.
  13. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    ^ Thats a great idea. They are looking for a replacement for the shuttle program. I may have to send this idea to the NASA engineers.....
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just to be as much of a pain to them as they are being to you why don't you request documentation proving that they own the thing. If they produce an agreement then it should contain the terms for removal. Tell'em if they can't prove that they own it that you are going to fill it with concrete and leave it there.
  15. vvvv

    vvvv New Member

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    concrete sounds unfeasibly expensive. dirt or water? boiler room guys love lp tank 4 heat storage, depending on size
  16. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    leave it buried, anduse it as a thermal dump for a boiler system!
  17. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    If someone wanted to dig it up they could take it, so far as I am concerned. I am a pretty crafty guy and I can not come up with anything that I would ever want to use that tank for. I could cut the ends off of it and make a couple of big fire pits, but that is about it. I can not fill it without a bill of sale from the company. Even if they sold it to me for one dollar, I would still most likely have to haul it out of the ground and have it inspected to use it. The top protective cover is smashed a fair amount, so I am not sure if it would pass like that. Who knows how rusty it would be after spending 15+ years in the ground? I look at that tank as being work for me one way or the other if it stays there. I would rather it just go. I spoke with the man at the NC dept of agriculture today who is incharge of the standards division. He said that there is no NC laws or regulations in place that would apply to my situation. He gave me a couple of ideas I could persue, but if they dont want to get it off my property, they dont have to unless I get a judgement against them to make them do so. I think that pretty much sucks. I believe my next step is to contact a manager to see if we can come to an agreement. It seems like it should not be so hard to do the right thing, but apparently it is....
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  19. Joe Matthews

    Joe Matthews Member

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    Thanks for posting that, but I believe that site is geared towards underground oil tanks that can leak fuel. I dont think LP has any contamination risk. Regards,

    Joe
  20. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    It all comes down to the original agreement in most cases. I'm guessing your company is Suburban propane, but thats just a guess. Tell them that you just found out that you own the tank and that your going to sell it to the new propane company your going with. They will balk of course. Place the burden of proof on them to show that they own it, along with some agreement signed that shows the policy for removal.

    Having only been in the propane business 6 months or so, from what I have learned..the homeowner is responsible for the excavation of the tank and the propane company removes it from the hole and hauls at away. Sometimes, you are to get a credit back for the propane still in the tank which may be offset by what the propane company charges for removal. Again, that should all be in the original contract.

    In New York, we have the NYPGA (New York Propane Gas Association) that will sometimes act as a consumer advocate. Atty General also works to motivate people.

    I hardly have time to check hearth.com you can feel free to contact me at fsappo@firesidechatts.com if you have a question
  21. pyrotom

    pyrotom New Member

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    The first concern is to get out any unused propane. If you've got any pals in the gas business (or are journeyman plumbers), you can make yourself a hookup to run your gas grill from. It will take a long to to empty the tank, but you'll save money on tank exchanges. :)

    If the tank was installed properly, it will be tied down with some fairly sizable anchors. If you dig away the dirt from the top, you'll probably see a couple of big loops on top of the tank, both for lifting the tank and for strapping it down. You won't get the tank out of the ground without cutting the straps.

    If you're considering abandoning it in place, once the gas is out, you can (and by you, I mean someone who knows his way around a tank) remove the valve and fill it with sand, dirt, etc. Leaving an empty tank buried is a good way to get an unwelcome surprise one day.

    I'm going to ask my bro-in-law (who is in the LP biz here in NC) about your legal recourse and get an authoritative answer back to you.
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