Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent a leak from my oil tank?

Most oil tank manufacturers indicate that their tanks are intended to last for approximately ten years.  In ideal conditions, a tank may last longer than that.  However, if your tank is buried in the ground in an area of shallow groundwater, or if a gutter discharges on top of the tank, this can accelerate the corrosion process which causes the tank to leak.  An above ground tank may be protected from groundwater and rain water, but they can be susceptible to rust when water accumulates in the tank from condensation.  Be aware of the age of your tank, and consider replacement if its an older tank.  If your tank is above ground, inspect the tank body for signs of weakness, including the protective coating which is painted on to the tank exterior.  As a precaution, you can opt to have your tank installed inside of a 'tank tub' which acts as secondary containment should your above ground storage tank ever leak.  New above ground storage tanks can be purchased in both single walled and double walled varieties.  If you are not sure if your tank needs to be replaced, contact your local service provider for an inspection of your tank.

How can I tell if I have a problem with my tank?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure that your tank is intact and not leaking, but there are a few indicators that you have a problem.  Many homeowners believe that you can confirm a tank is not leaking by looking at oil usage.  Using an uncharacteristically large volume of oil for the size of your home can be a sign that there is a problem, but there are many factors which affect how quickly a leaking tank loses oil. If your tank loses an ounce of oil a day you most likely won't notice, but over the course of years this can multiply into a large volume of oil being released into the ground.  One other indicator of a problem is if your furnace shuts off frequently due to water in the lines.  This may be a sign that groundwater is getting into the tank through a corrosion hole and is being drawn into the furnace.

My insurance company has denied my claim. Do I have any other options?

If your insurance company has denied your claim due to an exclusion on claims related to fuel oil tanks, you may be able to use a forensic investigation to alter their claims determination.  Depending on the particular insurance policy, you may be able to prove that the tank began leaking during a period of time that the insurance policy did cover leaking heating oil tanks.  GeoWorx can assist you by obtaining soil samples for forensic analysis, and preparing a report summarizing the investigation.  Unfortunately, some insurance companies have adopted an 'absolute pollution exclusion' which means that the claim will be denied regardless of when the leak occurred.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has a grant available for underground storage tanks.  Currently, the grant has awarded funding out to applicants beyond its available budget.  The grant will not be issuing any additional funding until the budget is replenished, however they are still accepting applications.  Funding will be issued on a first come, first serve basis when and if the money is replenished.  See our links page for more information.

What is groundwater?

People frequently imagine groundwater as an underground river.  Groundwater can actually be found underneath the ground at any location, its just the depth of the water that varies.  Groundwater collects in the soil formation, accumulating on the top of more compact soil or bedrock formations.  This aquifer is drawn upon by both plants and shallow wells, and is recharged by precipitation. When we sample the groundwater, we use PVC screens to sort the soil particles out, allowing the groundwater to fill in the well.  The compactness of the soil formation and the amount of water available affects how quickly the water will return to its former depth after being drawn upon. Water and soil exist in the subsurface together, so the key to the remediation of contaminated groundwater is removing the contaminated soil that the groundwater is passing through.