275-gallon Oil Tank Leak

Home ownership brings numerous joys, and also a collection of “disasters”. A problem one might not anticipate is an oil leak. The owner changes to gas heat, and the old oil tank, often with some oil inside, sits a basement gathering dust and getting older, a prime candidate for a leak. Unfortunately the leak may go a number of years unnoticed. There are many scenarios. These leaks, once discovered, have to be promptly cleaned up, as they are considered an environmental hazard by the state.

CommTank in Wakefield specializes in cleaning up oil leaks; they work with commercial establishments and homeowners. Our leak was relatively small, in their experience, but not to us: however, they still gave us the smooth service they give people with “major disasters” on their hands. They were here, on a Saturday afternoon, within two hours of our call, to drain our tank, them remove the tank and take it away. They had to work in a crawlspace , a somewhat confining area.

I thought the worst was over when the old tank left. I was in for a surprise! One cannot just sweep the damaged sand, rock, whatever, into a corner to be forgotten forever.

CommTank planned to start cleanup work on Wednesday. I had no concept of what was going to happen; fortunately Kevin Hoag, the President of the company, and his assistant Luis Diaz, came the day before our “big dig” to explain, in the clearest of languages, the coming procedures. They didn’t mind answering questions. Environmental mishaps require a lot of work.

Basically, the entire area where the oil had seeped had to be removed and then taken away to a place that accepted contaminated landfill. They were able to check the material for contamination so nothing extra was taken. It took three days to do the work, and we were left with a hole over 6 feet tall and perhaps 4 feet wide. There was a large pile of contaminated fill covered with heavy plastic in our backyard for perhaps a week, It then was taken by truck to New Hampshire, where it now lies. The hole was filled in, and we were able to say “Good-bye” to CommTank. Strangely enough, we realized we were going to miss Kevin and his crew. This had been a genuine learning experience.

Why had we used CommTank? We no longer had oil heat and didn’t have an oil company to call, and secondly, my husband knew of the company: they were able to do the job ( removing the leaking tank) and they came quickly, on a weekend. Of course, getting the oil tank out was only a part of the job; CommTank had a lot more to do.

What I think I’ll never forget was how clean the basement was after the two men had removed the contaminated soil from our house. It had never looked like that! Actually, the men always looked very clean; there was no loud talking or music. Except for the growing pile of soil, I almost forgot they were here.

All these positive things would not have happened were it not for Kevin Hoag’s leadership. He is involved in every aspect of the operation, makes house calls to keep clients happy and up to date and help them understand his very detailed billing. He tries to see if any insurance coverage is available; it wasn’t. One of the insurance people remarked that his prices were very fair and lower than many other operators. Somehow, amidst all that he does for his company, he does homework with his son and even grocery shops. Quite a person!

So, remember the motto of the Tank Co. "Finding oil in your yard is not necessarily a good thing!" And if you or a friend suspect trouble lurking, do call CommTank.

Sue F.
Lexington, MA