Oil Tank Disposal & Recycling

Domestic oil tanks are efficient and reliable and can have a lifespan of 15-20 years with proper maintenance and care. However, they begin to break and deteriorate over time, so you have to replace them and dispose of them properly.  

This article details on everything concerning the safe disposal of oil tanks.

oil tank disposal and recycling

When Should I Dispose of Oil Tank?

It depends on the lifespan of the oil tank, which varies depending on the tank type. Generally, an oil tank needs to be disposed of after 20 years.

If you have a single-skinned oil tank, it will wear faster as it has the least protection against the elements. While if you have got a double-skinned tank, it will last longer as it has stronger walls. So, an old oil tank disposal time depends on the material and durability of the oil tank.

What Are the Signs for Replacing an Oil Tank?

Keep an eye on the following signs which show your oil tank needs to be replaced:

  • Rust: Your tank weakens when rust begins to develop.
  • Leakage: If you see any sign of leakage, take immediate action.
  • Cracks: Cracks or holes can lead to leaks.
  • Scratches: The pipes, valves and seams form scratches with time which need attention.
  • Discolouration: Plastic oil tanks can lose their colours over time, making them weak or susceptible to breaking.

Reasons for Oil Tank Removal


Your oil tank may explode or cause a fire, depending on its stored content. It rarely happens but can cause an explosion when excessive vapours build up. Also, the oil tanks can set your property on fire in case of exposure to high temperatures for a longer time. There are more chances of such incidents happening when your oil tank is old or corroded, so it is advised to dispose of it and replace it with a new one.


If fuel oil has infiltrated your basement over time, you will be exposed to vapours on a daily basis. Second, if your primary supply of water is underground water, it is possible that it will leak into your water system. It can contaminate the water you use for laundry, lawn watering, bathing, and even drinking, affecting your health.

Being Proactive

Disposing of the domestic oil tank proactively means:

  • You face no difficulty when renewing your mortgage or insurance policies.
  • You are free from annual city costs.
  • You won’t have to be constrained in your renovation ambitions.
  • You wouldn’t have to worry about your oil tank leakage.
Make the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner burning alternatives such as HVO fuel
oil tank disposal and recycling
Oil Tank Disposal Recycling

Oil Tank Removal Procedure

The oil tank removal process must always be carried out by a specialist. Many companies in the UK provide services of oil tank recycling and removal. Do your research and pick a reliable company for the task.

In most cases, removing and decommissioning an oil tank is simple. The company you choose should have proper equipment and licensing; a qualified engineer should have suitable oil storage vessels, pumps, and a licence to dispose of tainted oil.

Metal or plastic oil tank disposal procedure involves the following steps:

Testing and Measuring of Oil

A test must be performed to determine how much oil is in the tank and the amount contaminated at the tank’s bottom. After that, the appropriate instruments are employed to extract the oil, isolating it from contaminants and water.

Pumping Out Oil

A professional pump is used to take the oil out of the old tank into a holding tank and another tank contains the pollutants. The uncontaminated oil pumped out can still be utilised and added to your new oil tank.

Disposal of Waste Oil

The waste oil is collected and placed into a waste oil container and then disposed of at a licenced site. This prevents tainted oil from polluting the environment by being disposed of lawfully.

Cleaning the Old Tank

Once all the contaminated oil has been disposed of at the site, the oil tank is then cleaned out properly.

Removing the Tank

The tank will then either be chopped off into smaller pieces or transported whole to the engineer’s vehicle after its cleaning.

Disposal and Recycling of the Tank

Lastly, you need to dispose of and recycle the oil tank in a sustainable way, ensuring that it doesn’t harm the environment.

Cost of Oil Tank Disposal

The cost of oil tank disposal depends on a number of factors:

  • Tank Size: You’ll have to face additional costs if your oil tank has 1000-litre capacity or over.
  • Tank Location: If you have an underground tank, it usually costs more to remove, as it includes excavation charges.
  • Tank’s Content: The empty tank costs less than the full tank. And if the tank is full, the cost will depend on what it contains, whether diesel, oil or any other fluid.
  • Tank’s Type: Metal tanks cost more to remove than plastic tanks.
  • Your Location: Removing an oil tank at a remote site may be more expensive.
  • Whether You are Changing Your Tank: Some oil tank installers will remove your old tank while installing your new one, which normally costs less in terms of labour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Dispose of an Oil Tank Myself?

No, you can’t dispose of an oil tank yourself, as it has to be done according to the current Building Regulations. An oil tank disposal process is associated with many risks, such as fire and environmental pollution. Therefore, it must be carried out by an OFTEC-registered engineer.

What Should I Do with My Old Oil Tank?

You must dispose of your old oil tank correctly, no matter how perfectly it has been cleaned. There are specific hazardous waste disposal sites where you should dispose of your oil tank.

Do Oil Tanks Corrode from the Inside?

Corrosion can happen if the tank is empty and there is no oil present to lubricate the metal, or due to the moisture buildup and impurities within the tank.

How Often Should You Replace Your Oil Tank?

Oil tanks can last up to 20 years with regular maintenance. You should replace your oil tank as soon as you spot the signs of leakage or any other damage.


Disposal of an oil tank must be done with utmost care and responsibility, as the disposal process is associated with many dangers. We discussed above when and why you should replace your oil tank, the disposal process, and the cost. I hope this guide helped you gain sufficient knowledge regarding the safe disposal of oil tank.

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