Abcott Construction

Engineers of

Markham Waxers

Abatement Council
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Furnaces that are presently fuelled, or were fuelled in the past, by oil require(d) an oil storage tank. These tanks were generally located above ground, in basement areas, or buried outside near foundation walls. If tanks are present there is potential for from the tanks themselves or from associated piping. Buried tanks were used largely in industrial or commercial buildings. However, many larger residential buildings also used underground storage tanks for oil storage. Any buried fuel oil tanks not in use are required to be removed by law. These ranks may pose potentially large and costly environmental problems and represent a large potential liability for owners and architects.

As a licensed and responsible professional you must be aware of and identify the presence or absence of these materials when dealing with building retrofits. Failure to advise your client(s) or contractors working on a project of the presence of hazardous materials in and/or on a property may present you with potential future liabilities. It is your obligation to protect the interests of your client(s), the health and safety of workers, and the natural environment.

Restoration Environmental Contractors will arrange an independent consultant for hazardous materials and other potential environmental concerns on residential, commercial and industrial properties. Each assessment includes sampling of all suspected hazardous materials, confirmatory laboratory analysis and complete reporting of all findings. We can also complete specifications and tender packages for any required remedial activities and perform project management services.

All environmental consultants and environmental engineers are licensed, have errors and omissions insurance and pollution, asbestos and environmental coverage.


Many property owners, managers and corporate executives are unaware of a very large potential liability. That being the liability resulting from problems with Underground Storage Tank (UST) and Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) systems. These types of systems were and are commonly used in the storage of fuels such as gasoline and heating fuel oil as well as chemical and waste material storage.

The potential liability becomes a reality when these systems develop leakage problems. Such leakage causes immediate contamination of surrounding soild and may even cause fires or explosions. If undiscovered extensive soil contamination may result as well as groundwater contamination and contamination of adjacent properties. These scenarios may result in personal fines and possible jail terms for responsible individuals as well as corporate fines, not to mention the costs for clean-up.

The laws in Ontario governing USTs and ASTs consists of two (2) pieces of legislation. These include:

The Gasoline Handling Act - Gasoline Handling Code; deals with gasoline storage and handling at facilities such as service stations, bulk plants, and refineries.

The Energy Act - Fuel Oil Code; deals with fuel oil storage and handling.


The Gasoline Handling Code specifies site clean-up in accordance with reference publication GH13, Interim Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Petroleum Contaminated Sites in Ontario, August 1993.

  • USTSs installed prior to 1974, measures such as catholic protection, fill pipe protection and installation of permanent groundwater monitoring wells must be taken before December 31, 1996.

  • immediate removal of all leaking underground tank storage systems and, within 180 days, removal of associated tanks;
  • periodic internal inspection of above ground fuel storage tanks (ASTs) and, if tanks are found unacceptable, immediate removal of product from the tanks;
  • depending on the age and nature of underground used oil tanks, the tanks must be either upgraded or removed;
  • for USTs in disuse for over 1 year, or for ASTs in disuse for over 3 years, the tank(s) shall be removed with notification to appropriate regulatory bodies, and a site report prepared by an engineer or geologist identifying the extent of surface and subsurface contamination with recommendations for corrective action;
  • for facilities which are to closed permanently, all equipment is to be removed within 90 days and a site report is to be prepared by an engineer or geologist.


The owner of a supply tank or its piping shall,

  • ensure that any leaks are repaired;
  • ensure that any defective equipment or component is repaired or replaced forthwith
  • take all reasonable precautions to prevent the escape or spillage of fuel oil during all operations including test and repair; and
  • ensure that escaped fuel oil is recovered and contaminated soil is removed forthwith.

Where an underground tank will not be used, or where it has not been used for two (2) years, whichever comes first, the owner of the tank shall,

  • remove any product from the tank and connected piping;
  • remove the tank from the ground and;
    - remove the piping from the ground, or
    - purge the piping of combustible vapours and permanently seal the ends of the piping by capping or plugging;
  • where the soil around the tank is contaminated with oil from the tank, remove such contaminated soil and
  • fill any cavities caused by removal of the tank to grade level with clean fill.



Any person who,

  • contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of the Gasoline Handling Act or the Energy Act;
  • knowingly makes a false statement in any document prescribed by the regulations; or
  • fails to carry out the instructions of an inspector,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both, or, if the person is a body coporate, to a fine of not more than $100,000.


Restoration Environmental Contractors can supply a full turn-key operation when dealing with USTs or ASTs.

Assessment and investigation of potential problems may include:

  • geophysical investigations to assess the potential for buried debris and contaminant plumes,
  • shallow sampling of soils by portable percussion drilling,
  • pitting and excavation by backhoe, or
  • borehole drilling and monitoring well installation by rotary drill rig.

Once site specific parameters have been established a remediation program can be implemented which may include:

  • excavation of soils around the UST,
  • pumping of tank contents and appropriate disposal,
  • removal of tank,
  • excavation of contaminated soils for appropriate disposal or treatment,
  • testing of soils to ensure regulatory compliance,
  • backfilling excavation with clean fill and returning sire to acceptable condition.


Restoration Environmental Contractors are fully covered by both General Liability, and Professional Errors and Omissions Insurance - call for details.


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