Remove a residential underground storage tank

Prior to the 1970s heavy oil was used to heat some District homes. The oil was stored in tanks that were often buried underground. Some of those tanks (commonly referred to as residential underground storage tanks or RUST) still exist and contain residual oil.

If the storage tanks leak, the oil can contaminate surrounding soil leading to health and environmental hazards.

The BC Fire Code recommends the decommissioning of residential underground storage tanks no longer in use.

Applying for a building permit?

When you apply for your building permit, you will be asked if there is a RUST on your property. If there is, your application will be referred to our Environment Department who will determine whether the RUST needs to be removed. A RUST must be removed if the proposed work involves:

  • excavation or other ground disturbance
  • work totaling over $100,000.00

You will need documentation to prove you've removed the RUST before the building permit security deposit is released.

If removing your RUST requires the removal or deposit of more than 18 cubic metres of soil you will need a soil permit.

Proof of RUST removal or decommissioning

To prove that the RUST has been removed you will need to provide:

  • a signed letter from the property owner or designated contractor stating that the tank has been removed in accordance with good engineering practice
  • copies of receipts from the contractor doing the tank removal (including details of any residual oil pumped from the tank)

Your responsibilities when removing a RUST

As a property owners, you are responsible for:

  • all costs associated with removing and decommissioning RUST
  • any contamination caused by the RUST

There are currently no District bylaws directly governing the removal or inspections associated with the decommissioning and/or removal of a RUST.

Additional resources