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How Much Does It Cost to Remove A Water Or Fuel Storage Tank?

Most homeowners spend between $552 to $873 nationally.
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Whether they're above or below ground, water and fuel storage tanks are subject to corrosion and eventually require repair or replacement. A leaking underground oil tank is of particular concern because of the damage to the environment, and it's important to take immediate action. ImproveNet's comprehensive lead generator makes it easy to find a reliable plumber in your area, but before you agree on a price, take some time to learn more about oil tank removal costs.

National Remove a Water or Fuel Storage Tank Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $902
Minimum Cost $250
Maximum Cost $2,800
Average Range $552 to $873
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 110 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Water Or Oil Tank Removal Cost
  2. Water Or Oil Tank Removal Cost Factors
  3. Why Remove A Water Or Oil Storage Tank?
  4. Tank Testing
  5. Water Or Oil Tank Installation Cost
  6. Tank Removal FAQs
  7. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  8. Find A Pro

Water Or Oil Tank Removal Cost

Above ground oil tank removal costs vary, but usually range from $408 to $1,001 with an average of $696. The cost for a small project is as low as $275, while larger projects may cost as much as $2,400. Removing an underground tank is considerably more difficult and therefore more expensive, with an average cost of $2,500.

It may be possible to remove a small water tank as a DIY project to reduce your overall plumbing costs, in which case the only costs are your time, effort and any necessary tools and equipment. However, handling oil tanks has the potential to cause pollution; thus, it usually requires a registered professional to complete the work for you to ensure safe and legal disposal of the liquids. In all cases, moving storage tanks is dangerous, and unless you know exactly what you're doing, it's best to employ a contractor.

Water Or Oil Tank Removal Cost Factors

Water Or Oil Tank Removal Cost Factors

Many factors affect the cost of removing an oil or water tank. Most projects involve charges for labor and equipment, applying for permits, liquid disposal charges and laboratory analysis. The specific fees depend on the nature of the work:

  • Tank Location: Above ground tanks are easier and cheaper to remove than underground tanks, and tanks buried under dirt are easier to remove than tanks under patios or driveways. Additionally, accessibility to the site plays a role in the overall costs; if it isn't possible to reach the location with a backhoe, or other types of heavy machinery, the job entails a lot of time-consuming and expensive manual labor.
  • Size of the Tank: Small tanks are easier to dig out and lift, so they're cheaper to remove than large tanks. Bear in mind that your project may incur additional charges for the safe transportation and disposal of the tank. These charges are usually higher if the tank is large.
  • Permits: Removing or installing storage tanks usually requires permits. It's your responsibility to apply for permits and to ensure your project adheres to applicable codes. In many cases, a contractor completes the applications for you.
  • Liquid Disposal: You must safely and legally dispose of leftover oil and sludge from a fuel tank.
  • Laboratory Analysis: Laboratory analysis isn't always necessary, but is a good way to determine if an oil tank leaked. Having verification that the ground isn't contaminated is useful when selling your home later.
  • Remediation: If an oil tank leaks, repairing the damage is expensive. Correcting the pollution may cost $10,000 or more, depending on the extent of the damage.

Why Remove A Water Or Oil Storage Tank

Why Remove A Water Or Oil Storage Tank?

One of the most common reasons to remove a storage tank is because it's old and corroded. Oil or gas tank rust removal slows down the corrosion, but eventually, the tank degrades to the point where it may leak. The pollution from a leaking tank is very expensive to correct, so it's worth replacing the tank as soon as the damage becomes evident.

Other reasons to remove a tank include a change in the use of the property, such as switching from oil-powered heating to electric heating or installing new draining. You may also want to switch from a below ground tank to an above ground tank for easier access.

Tank Testing

Underground oil tanks corrode, and because they're out of sight, it's hard to tell if they're in danger of leaking. Many companies offer tank testing and soil evaluation services, and you can also get advice from your local fire department. Regular testing helps to identify leaks early, so you can take immediate steps to rectify the problem. Testing after the tank removal proves that oil didn't leak, which protects your property value if you decide to sell.

Water Or Oil Tank Installation Cost

Water Or Oil Tank Installation Cost

If you're intending to replace an old or damaged storage tank, your project budget needs to factor in the costs of installing the new tank. The exact price depends on the size and type of the new tank and how long the installation takes. The cost of employing a professional contractor to replace the tank ranges from $1,217 to $2,063, with an average of $1,640. Low end costs are $800, while the cost for a complex project is as much as $2,900. Additional services, such as installing water treatment systems, increase costs.

If you want to do the installation yourself, expect to pay around $500 for the tank. However, installing a tank isn't a simple DIY project, and it usually requires a trained contractor with the necessary skills to complete the plumbing to meet state laws and building codes. Incorrectly installing a fuel tank could lead to oil leaks that are hazardous for the environment and cost thousands of dollars to rectify.

Tank Removal FAQs

  1. Why do underground tanks corrode? Iron-based metals, such as steel, rust over time. The presence of moisture and acid speeds up the rusting process, so you may want to install a sump pump to move water away from the tank.
  2. What are common signs of a tank leak? Warning signs include the smell of fuel in the area, staining on the soil or puddles of oil.
  3. Is an oil tank regulated by law? Underground tanks at residential properties are exempt from federal regulations until they leak, at which point you must take immediate action to resolve the issue.
  4. What is a tank certification? When a contractor removes a tank, you should receive written confirmation of all the steps taken, including information on how the contractor disposed of the tank and liquids, and the condition of the tank.

Tank Removal FAQs

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

Removing a storage tank is a complex and potentially hazardous process. It involves working with oil and water lines to your property, and may include adjusting or installing a water main. In the case of an oil tank, you must also dispose of the hazardous liquids. The work usually requires permits from local or state authorities, and you may need a laboratory analysis to confirm an oil tank hasn't leaked into the surrounding area. To ensure you adhere to applicable laws, and that the tank removal is safe, employ the services of a professional contractor.

Find A Pro

Whether you need to remove water from a gas tank or replace a damaged underground fuel storage tank, ImproveNet's online search function makes it easy to find a plumbing professional to get the job done quickly and safely. Look for contractors with an established record of good work and positive reviews from previous customers, and try to get at least three quotes to choose between to ensure you get the best service possible at the best price.

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