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Oil Tanks (Home Heating)

Oil Tanks (Home Heating)
Residential heating oil storage tanks have been installed and used in Canada for over 60 years. There are two types: above ground tanks (typically found in basements or outside of homes) and underground tanks (buried).  Many of these tanks are now abandoned or unused, as alternative heating sources – such as natural gas, propane, and electricity – have become available.

Oil tanks are metal, and as such, must be recycled once they are safely decommissioned.
Before starting to remove an old home heating oil tank, or installation a new tank, contact your local fire department to inquire about any permits and/or inspections required. It is also recommended to contact your home insurance company to inquire about the processes and requirements.

Hire a professional – this is not a do-it yourself job.

Note: 2012 BC Fire Code, section 4.3.16 (1) says is that underground home heating oil tanks shall be removed, abandoned in place, disposed or temporary taking out of service in conformance with good engineering practices. Some local governments require full removal. 

New! Find out more about the Oil to Heat Pump Incentive with CRD Top Up!

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Facilities

How do I go green?


Consider solar, electric or other more environmentally sound sources of heat.


Only use new oil, never attempt to reuse oil that has been in your old tank or another tank. Water, sludge and bacteria in old oil can cause corrosion and leak, even in a new tank. 

Do not re-use home heating oil tanks because the tank may be compromised.  It might look good on the outside, but could be corroded on the inside.  We strongly recommend contacting a professional tank removal company.  This is not a job to do yourself.  Do not reuse the tank for any other purpose, both extra oil and tank must be disposed of as hazardous waste - do not pour this oil down the drain.  The companies you purchased oil from, or that is removing the tank, may take back any un-used oil.  We accept small residential quantities of home heating oil at the Hartland recycling area as household hazardous waste.


Before starting to remove an old home heating oil tank contact your local fire department to inquire about any permits and/or inspections required. Hire a professional – this is not a do-it yourself job. Once emptied of all oil and oil residue, home heating oil tanks can and must be recycled as scrap metal.  Be sure to cut a hole in the tank that is at least 12 inches square so the metal recycling facility staff can have a look inside to ensure the tank is empty. Go to Metal for a list of metal recycling facilities. You will need a permit from your local Fire Department to remove a buried oil tank.  If the tank is unused or abandoned, any remaining heating oil should be removed by a qualified contractor and taken to an approved facility such as Tervita Waste Management for disposal.

Report a spill or home heating oil leak immediately:
Emergency Management BC Emergency Response (24/7) 1-800-663-3456
And your local non-emergency phone number of your local Fire Department 


  • A&P Disposal & Recycling

    6220 Marilyn Road

  • Alpine Disposal & Recycling

    1045 Dunford Ave.

  • Brentwood Auto & Metal Recyclers

    7481 West Saanich road

  • DL's Recycling Centre

    6844 Oldfield Road

  • Ellice Recycle

    524 David Street

  • H.L. Disposal & Lawn Services Ltd.

    334 Hillside Avenue

  • Hartland Recycling Facility

    1 Hartland Avenue

  • Highwest Waste

    1943 Millstream Road

  • JOMA Environmental Ltd. (pick-up service only)


  • Schnitzer

    307 David Street

  • The Environmental Story

    Recently the media has reported oil tank leaks causing major spills in Colquitz Creek and other local water bodies.  To avoid a leak on your property, it is a good idea to get your oil tank and any connecting pipes inspected regularly for any damage or deterioration.  The District of Saanich has some excellent information on oil tanks at Fuel or Pollution Spills, and Home Heating Oil Tanks: what you should know.
    The Ministry of Environment also has some excellent information at Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks In case of a spill or leak, contain the spill as close to the source as possible, call the Provincial Emergency Program (P.E.P.) immediately at 1.800.663.3456 and contact your insurance company for clarification about your policy.  Do not flush oil down a house drain or municipal drain as this can have a devastating impact on the environment.

    Did You Know?

    Homeowners are potentially liable for any costs associated with spills or leaks which can add up to thousands of dollars.  Insurance companies may not cover oil spills from home heating oil tanks; check with your insurance provider.  Inspections cannot catch all possible problems, so be sure to safely remove any tanks you are not using and replace the in-use tanks at least every 14 years.  Most insurance companies will not provide coverage for tanks older than 15 years.

    Thanks to the District of Saanich and the Ministry of Environment for much of this information.