Call the Pros to Avoid Old Fuel Tank Woes
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Call the Pros to Avoid Old Fuel Tank Woes

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The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

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Wendall Stroderd, founder and CEO of Tank Wizards, oversees his team as they install a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

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The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

View Full Image

The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

View Full Image

The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

View Full Image

The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

View Full Image

The Tank Wizards team installs a new fuel tank at a commercial medical facility in Melbourne, FL. Photo by Jason Hook.

Once upon a time, residents incorporated underground fuel tanks to heat their Brevard homes. The practice went out of vogue around the 1980s, but thousands of older properties along the Space Coast are still saddled with these relics, which can prove a headache for homeowners when it comes time to sell their real estate. 

When home inspectors note the existence of these tanks on a property, title companies and lenders typically will not approve the sale until the tank has been removed. Some homeowners may not even be aware the tanks exist until they get ready to sell.

Old fuel tanks are environmental hazards waiting to happen, but ditching them is not a cut-and-dried process. Many people who have fuel tanks, whether in a residential or commercial setting, do not realize that taking a tank out of service requires following a protocol that will not raise the ire of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This process is in place to protect both owners and the community, for vintage fuel tanks can create a nightmare spill that damages the environment and costs owners thousands of dollars.

These kinds of tanks are typically single-wall and prone to leakage. The fact that most still have some fuel left in them doesn’t help. At Tank Wizards, we have encountered instances when, after a heavy storm, an old tank will flood with water and leech fuel into not just the homeowner’s yard, but also several other homes in the neighborhood. The result is the owner has to pay to replace the sod for all these properties, as well as deal with the tank removal.  

All fuel tanks are regulated, whether they hold 50 or 50,000 gallons of fuel, which can be gasoline, diesel, oil or jet aviation fuel. Tanks over 550 gallons, usually found in commercial applications, have an even greater degree of compliance that must be followed for proper removal. If you follow the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection guidelines, it is easy-peasy. Otherwise, significant fines will be assessed on the owner. 

Removal of commercial property tanks is usually initiated when the owners want to swap the tanks for a more efficient version, or when the property is sold and the new owners have other plans for the real estate. The temptation exists to just rely on a general contractor to do the removal. Resist that temptation. Tank Wizards is often called to mop up after a contractor inexperienced with the process attempts a removal job that will not receive the necessary certification from FDEP. Even general contractors are not legally allowed to remove these tanks without using a Pollutant Storage Systems Contractor to do the work.

Tank Wizards first removes any fuel and cleans the tank, which is then considered scrap iron. Scrap yards will not accept the tanks unless they have been properly prepared. Throughout the process, we keep inspectors in the loop.

There is one right way to discard old fuel tanks and many wrong ways to do it. Tank Wizards, with more than 20 years of experience in fuel tank cleaning, diesel fuel polishing and related industries, serves Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina. 

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For more information, visit tankwizards.com or call 321-285-8878.

From the Archives

Meet Our Thought Leader

Wendall Stroderd is the founder and president of Tank Wizards Inc., founded in 2012. Tank Wizards is a Florida-based company that started in fuel tank cleaning, fuel filtration and fuel maintenance and has since grown into being a full-service petroleum solutions contractor.

Wendall works closely with regulatory agencies, such as the EPA, to not only understand and implement the most stringent interpretations of today’s codes and standards but to be a hands-on asset and source of information for refining and improving practices and policies for the future.

Though Tank Wizards serves the private and government sectors in all areas of bulk fuel storage needs, the vast majority of the work performed by Tank Wizards is directly connected to Fuel Quality Assurance in the critical needs applications of Emergency Standby Power Systems. This specialization has led to the development of testing and tank cleaning procedures not found elsewhere.

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