How Much Does Oil Tank Removal Cost?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated April 21, 2022
A mother and child at home
Photo: DigitalVision / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Removing an aboveground oil tank is significantly less expensive than removing an underground oil tank.

  • You'll have to decide if you want to have your tank carried away or left behind.

  • Your removal expert will also conduct a soil test to check for oil leaks.

  • If leakage is detected, you're obligated to remediate the issue.

  • The environmental implications of removing an oil tank from your home make this a job for licensed pros instead of a DIY project.

If it's time to call timeout on your oil tank, expect to pay an average of $1,700 for oil tank removal—as long as there isn't an environmental issue lurking under the surface of your soil. While homeowners pay between $400 and $3,000 for all removals before factoring in the cost of oil tank replacement, there's a big difference between moving aboveground and underground oil tanks. Project costs rise if an oil tank leak requires environmental remediation.

Average Cost to Remove Your Oil Tank:

HighAverageLow
$3,000$1,700$400

Cost to Remove Oil Tank

Labor and size are the two big cost factors for removing an oil tank, which can range from $400 to $3,000. However, your estimate will include some fixed costs related to materials. Disposal fees for your old oil tank range from $200 to $700.

Estimating Oil Tank Removal Costs

Labor

Contractors typically bundle costs for labor and materials into one quote for oil tank removal because this is a labor-intensive job. As part of responsible tank removal, you'll need to have the soil surrounding your tank tested for leakage. While some tank removal contractors build this into the cost for removal or tank abandonment, others do not.

Soil Testing Costs

Soil testing during removal of an aboveground tank averages $300. Testing underground oil tanks for leaks costs closer to $500.

Abandonment

If you prefer to have your decommissioned tank stay in the ground instead of hauling it away, this process is called oil tank abandonment. Your contractor will charge you for dirt fill or foam used to fill the tank after cutting it open.

The typical cost for tank abandonment services that include light excavation, cut out of the tank, tank draining, tank washing, and the addition of foam or dirt fill is between $1,000 and $3,000.

Oil Tank Removal Cost by Type

Costs to remove an oil tank, without remediation, compared by aboveground and underground types

Homeowners will see big differences in cost when removing underground tanks versus aboveground tanks. Excavation costs to unearth your buried tank can total as much as half of your bill. If your tank is in your basement, the work necessary to demolish the tank before fitting through a door can add $100 to $300 to your project's budget.

Underground Oil Tank

A tank buried in the ground can jump removal costs between $1,000 and $3,000. A tank buried in a basement may cost beyond the high range of $3,000.

Above-Ground Oil Tank

The average cost to remove an aboveground oil tank will require less labor and usually falls between $300 and $1,000.

Oil Tank Removal Cost by Tank Capacity

Tank size impacts cost, especially for buried tanks, because the extra width and girth require more excavation time. Expect costs to remove oil tanks by gallon capacity to follow these trends:

  • 550 gallons or less: $400–$1,200

  • 1,000 gallons: $1,300–$1,800

  • 1,500 gallons: $1,900–$2,200

  • 2,000 gallons: $2,300–$2,700

  • 3,000 gallons: $2,800–$3,000

Oil Tank Removal Cost Factors

A machine removes an underground oil tank
Photo: iStock / Getty Images

Anything that adds extra time to the process of getting your oil tank out of the ground is going to increase costs. Here are a few factors to consider when budgeting for this project.

Size

Bigger tanks cost more to remove because of the added labor of freeing, decommissioning, and hauling a bigger, heavier item. Size is less of a factor for aboveground tank removal than for buried tank removals simply because there's no unearthing needed.

Amount of Oil in the Tank

If you must remove unused oil, the price will bump higher. Heating oil services near you will typically price hazardous waste disposal by pound or ounce. While end rates vary by town and city, you might pay between $10 and $70, including service fees.

Accessibility

Excavation needed to free a tank from the ground adds to project costs. If your tank is buried in a basement, you'll likely pay $500 to $1,000 extra for excavation and extraction. If you installed your tank while the house was under construction, you might need to dismantle it to fit through the door.

Remediation

If soil testing reveals a leak on your property, it will be necessary to have leak remediation done. These clean up costs to remove harmful contaminants from your soil can cost $10,000 or more. In addition, your state may require you to report the leak to your state-level environmental agency to have a case opened.

Cost to Remove an Oil Tank Yourself

Removing an oil tank is not a DIY project. Most states require a closure license to remove a tank. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the expertise and tools to handle unexpected situations, you risk creating environmental hazards at your home and within the community.

Oil Tank Removal FAQs

What are the signs that your oil tank is leaking?

Common signs that your oil tank is leaking include higher energy bills, an oily sheen seen in your water, an oil-like odor in your home or yard, stained patches of grass on your property, and dying vegetation.

Why is it necessary to have your soil tested when you have an oil tank removed?

Most states require soil testing at the same time as removal to check for hazardous pollutants that may have entered the ground. Oil can harm soil and water supplies. If you're removing a tank because it has degraded, this increases the chances that corrosion has allowed for leakage.

Will your insurance company cover the oil tank removal cost? 

Most home insurance policies will not cover the cost of oil tank removal. However, some companies offer oil tank insurance policies that will pay for repairs, and 36 states have funds that offer financial assistance for damage caused by oil tank releases. 

Do you have to report a leaking oil tank?

Yes! This is considered an environmental hazard that can harm soil and water supplies. Soil samples must be taken by a certified professional if you have reason to suspect that your oil tank is leaking. Next, it's necessary to report the leak to your state's environmental agency.