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Home > Fuels > Publications & Resources > FAQs > Underground Oil Tanks

Frequently Asked Questions

Underground Fuel Storage Tanks

Q : What is an underground oil tank?
A : An underground oil tank is a container that is buried and contains fuel oil to be used in appliances, such as furnaces and boilers. Tanks that are in basements are not considered underground tanks.

Q : How can I tell if my underground tank is leaking?
A : Because they are buried, it is difficult to tell if the tank is leaking. Some underground tanks may leak for years without owners realizing it. If your oil consumption suddenly goes up your tank may have sprung a large leak! There are companies that test underground tanks for leaks. Call your fuel supplier to help you find underground tank testing companies.

Q : What do I do if my underground tank is leaking?
A : You must call a TSSA registered contractor who will find and stop the leak on your behalf. The contractor may also assist you with the clean up that is required if any fuel oil has been spilled.


You are also required to call the Spills Action Centre of the Ministry of Environment and Energy at 1-800-268-6060 to notify them of the spill incident.

Q : Who are TSSA Registered Contractors?
A : By law, all contractors working on fuel oil equipment such as underground tanks are required to be registered with TSSA. Persons repairing, installing, removing and servicing fuel oil underground tanks are also required to be trained and certified as a Petroleum Equipment Mechanic 2. Your fuel supplier may be able to refer you to some good TSSA registered fuel oil contractors.

Q : How do I register my underground tank?
A : By completing the Underground Fuel Oil Application Form and returning it to TSSA, your tank will become registered. A registration number will be assigned to your tank that you can give to your fuel distributor to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply.

Q : How do I remove my underground tank?
A : You must contact a TSSA registered Petroleum Contractor to perform the task. Only a TSSA registered Petroleum Contractor is qualified to perform the removal task of your underground (buried) fuel oil tank. Ensure you ask for the TSSA contractor registration number prior to contracting with them. (All contractors must be registered).


You are reminded that in case of any fuel oil spill you are also required to notify the Spills Action Centre of the Ministry of Environment and Energy at 1-800-268-6060.

Q : I no longer use my underground storage tank. Can I leave it in place and not remove it?
A : No, the code requires that it be removed.  The TSSA may issue a Variance to allow an underground tank to be abandoned in the ground.  If you are thinking of abandoning your fuel oil underground storage tank, you are required to submit an application for a Variance to TSSA. Upon receipt of your Variance Application, it will be reviewed and soon after (approximately 21 business days) you will receive written notification informing you of the outcome of your variance application.

Q : Is there any government funds for homeowners upgrading or removing their underground tanks?
A : Currently, owners of underground tanks are responsible for the costs of maintaining, upgrading, and removing their underground tank and for cleaning up contamination. Some fuel suppliers may have special financing programs to help you in replacing the underground tank with an aboveground tank.
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