Decommisioning old 150 gallon gasoline refueling tank
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    MacCool's Avatar
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    Decommisioning old 150 gallon gasoline refueling tank

    For 30 years this steel 150 gallon portable refueler tank has served me well for off-road vehicle refueling. It get filled 2-4 times a year with non-oxygenated premium gasoline that I use for boats, lawnmowers, snowmobiles, quads etc. Decades ago I welded up a frame to secure it on the axle of an old snowmobile trailer. It's never on the highway, but is portable for the purpose of towing it across the yard down to the lake for refueling my boats, one of which has a 60 gallon tank. The tank is intact, but the bottom is rusting to the point where it's pretty much done for. I don't want to risk a gasoline spill so I've purchased a replacement tank.

    My question: Anyone have experience with decommissioning an old gasoline storage tank? I'll pump the gasoline out of it of course, but then what to do with the tank? The landfill will take it, but I'll want to cut it up for that and I'm not sure how to decommission the tank, what to do with the contents that's environmentally safe, and renders the tank safe for cutting it up (Sawzall vs plasma).
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacCool View Post
    For 30 years this steel 150 gallon portable refueler tank has served me well for off-road vehicle refueling. It get filled 2-4 times a year with non-oxygenated premium gasoline that I use for boats, lawnmowers, snowmobiles, quads etc. Decades ago I welded up a frame to secure it on the axle of an old snowmobile trailer. It's never on the highway, but is portable for the purpose of towing it across the yard down to the lake for refueling my boats, one of which has a 60 gallon tank. The tank is intact, but the bottom is rusting to the point where it's pretty much done for. I don't want to risk a gasoline spill so I've purchased a replacement tank.

    My question: Anyone have experience with decommissioning an old gasoline storage tank? I'll pump the gasoline out of it of course, but then what to do with the tank? The landfill will take it, but I'll want to cut it up for that and I'm not sure how to decommission the tank, what to do with the contents that's environmentally safe, and renders the tank safe for cutting it up (Sawzall vs plasma).
    Fill it up with water and drain it out. That should render any remaining residue harmless. I can't imagine you have to cut it up. Maybe you can just cut or drill a couple large holes in it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacCool View Post
    For 30 years this steel 150 gallon portable refueler tank has served me well for off-road vehicle refueling. It get filled 2-4 times a year with non-oxygenated premium gasoline that I use for boats, lawnmowers, snowmobiles, quads etc. Decades ago I welded up a frame to secure it on the axle of an old snowmobile trailer. It's never on the highway, but is portable for the purpose of towing it across the yard down to the lake for refueling my boats, one of which has a 60 gallon tank. The tank is intact, but the bottom is rusting to the point where it's pretty much done for. I don't want to risk a gasoline spill so I've purchased a replacement tank.

    My question: Anyone have experience with decommissioning an old gasoline storage tank? I'll pump the gasoline out of it of course, but then what to do with the tank? The landfill will take it, but I'll want to cut it up for that and I'm not sure how to decommission the tank, what to do with the contents that's environmentally safe, and renders the tank safe for cutting it up (Sawzall vs plasma).
    Be very careful when cutting that tank up. I saw the results of a gas tank explosion and it wasn't pretty. A customer was badly injured and the shop was pretty devastated. This occurred after washing the tank out a couple of times and what he thought were good efforts to prepare for repairs.

    I'd avoid anything that could cause sparks and would make sure the tank was thoroughly drained, dried and ventilated before attempting any reduction of the unit.
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    You want to call your local environmental consultant. They handle contaminated materials and hazmat sites. You could call your Fire Marshall too, and he can get someone out there to make the tank inert. They have specialists who pump gases into it and neutralize the fumes. Then you can cut it up, or get rid of it


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    Quote Originally Posted by Kbar View Post
    You want to call your local environmental consultant. They handle contaminated materials and hazmat sites. You could call your Fire Marshall too, and he can get someone out there to make the tank inert. They have specialists who pump gases into it and neutralize the fumes. Then you can cut it up, or get rid of it
    What does something like that cost?
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    I have no idea. We find buried tanks all the time and the GC just calls a guy. These guys specialize in tank removal. They call in a pump truck, suck out the stuff on the bottom( if there is any) then get the Fire Marshall a call, and he sends out a guy with a tank of CO2 or something and deems it safe for removal. Then we load it onto a trailer supplied by them, and away they go. I would imagine it costs a pretty penny. Something that small you could probably rinse out, but the waste water might not be something you want to dump out onto your property. Those mobile tanks are highly regulated nowadays around here. I might call the local waste management facility, and for a fee, maybe drag it down to them to deal with.
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    Set it out in front of your house by the road with a "free" sign on it, some scrapper will come along and scoop it up i am sure. The scrappers normally drive around the neighborhoods the night before trash collection. I wouldnt cut it with anything other than a water jet. Good luck to ya.
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    Cutting a tank

    I agree that cutting a used gas tank is literally playing with fire. There's few things more explosive than a fuel air mixture which is pretty much what you have in the tank.

    If you must cut it up, fill it totally up with water and use a cordless reciprocating saw. Keep a hose running water into the tank as you cut. If it runs out faster than you can put water in, keep as wide a spray as possible going inside the tank.

    The poster above noted that their local FD fills the tank with an inert gas. You could do that also, but knowing when it's full is tough unless you have the correct sniffer.

    You really don't want that tank to go off. A shop owner in a neighboring town was excavating a buried tank a few years ago. The backhoe punctured the "empty" tank and something sparked. The tank blew, killing the shop owner/backhoe operator and basically demolishing the building.

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    Very complicated landscape I guess. No one at the pollution control agency is sure what to do with it because it technically doesn't fit into any of the categories of transfer, refueling, or above-ground storage tank. It's not permanently mounted on the ground but the capacity is less than 500 gallons. There appear to be no regulations for this tank other than those that deal with disposal of its hazardous waste contents, gasoline. It was suggested by the hazardous waste people that I fill it with water, then pump it out and recover the water as hazardous waste and take it to the hazardous waste people here locally. The landfill will accept the tank if I cut it open. I might be able to find someone who wants the tank for scrap and is willing to haul it away as-is, with 5-10 gallons on non-recoverable fuel in the bottom, I suppose. One thing for sure...I don't want to be the one cutting it open, although it was unofficially suggested to me that I could empty is best as possible and then connect a hose from the exhaust of a vehicle and pump it into the tank for awhile.

    Not sure what I'm going to do. When the oil company delivers the new tank, I'll see if they have any ideas what to do with the old one.

    Thanks for the replies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacCool View Post
    Very complicated landscape I guess.

    Not sure what I'm going to do. When the oil company delivers the new tank, I'll see if they have any ideas what to do with the old one.

    Thanks for the replies.
    The first sentence is the reason why we will not take a used gasoline tank from customers. We will always dispose of oil/diesel tanks, but not gasoline tanks. Google companies in your area that clean station tanks, they have special detergents that will clean it and make it safe to cut up. Or simply call a tank company that will dispose of it properly for you.
    I would avoid leaving it out with a free sign, in today's day and age you are leaving yourself open to a nightmare of liability.
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