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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

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May 03, 2017

Tips for Homeowners – What to do if you Find an Underground Fuel Oil Tank in Your Backyard

Fuel oil leaks from underground storage tanks (“USTs”) into the soil and groundwater can result in environmental damage and significant costs to homeowners.  Property owners should be proactive in addressing a UST upon discovery to minimize liability for potential damage arising from a UST.

Prior to the 1970s, fuel oil stored in USTs was a common method of heating homes and businesses in Ontario.  In the 1970s, many property owners switched to natural gas as a heating source.  Frequently, USTs were left in the ground, unbeknownst to subsequent property owners.

Property owners in Ontario are responsible for any USTs on their properties, whether the owner installed the UST or not.  This responsibility may extend to investigating impacts arising from leaks or spills of fuel oil, as well as remediating resulting impacts to soil and groundwater.

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