Underground Oil Storage Tank Removal – by Municipality

please visit our previous article on Underground Oil Tanks for a thorough understanding of Buyer and Seller obligations pertaining to oil tank removal.

Province of British Columbia

In BC, the abandonment or removal of Oil Storage Tanks (OST) is governed by the BC Fire Code. If the owner of the property chooses to remove, abandon or take the OST out of service, there is a requirement that good engineering practices be used. Depending on the municipality, additional guidelines and bylaws may exist. We shall cover a few of them below.

West Vancouver

Oil Tank

In West Vancouver, records indicate that over 1,000 buried fuel tanks exist in current properties. The West Vancouver Fire & Rescue can perform a Fuel/Oil Tank Records Search on the owner’s behalf to see if there are any reports of any tanks that are registered to the property.

If the records fail to produce conclusive results, the next step should be to enlist the services of an environmental consultant, who will perform a metal detection test on the property. Once it’s confirmed that no tanks exist, the documentation should be registered with the Fire & Rescue, who will then provide the owner with a Fuel Storage Tank Closure Report.

However, if a tank is found, the owner will need to obtain a permit for its removal. Either a qualified environmental consultant or engineer will have to be present, along with a professional oil tank contractor. Upon removal of the tank, the consultant will remove soil samples to have it tested for contamination. Present all documentation to Fire & Rescue to obtain a Fuel Storage Tank Closure Report.

The various Permit Fees for these services are:
West Vancouver Fire & Rescue File Search – $25
Oil Tank Contractor Fuel Tank Removal – $300
Oil Tank Metal Detection Closure Report – $50

Contact Information:

West Vancouver Fire & Rescue
Phone: 604-925-7370
Fuel Tank Records Search Request Form

North Vancouver

North Vancouver is divided into District of North Vancouver (DNV) and the City of North Vancouver. In the District of North Vancouver, although there aren’t any current bylaws relating to the removal or inspection of Residential Underground Storage Tanks (RUST). However, when applying for a District Building Permit, the owner will be requested to disclose the presence of an Underground Storage Tank on the property. As a result, the District may request documentation proving that the RUST has been removed, or make the Building Permit conditional to the its removal.

If there is a RUST on the property, be sure to hire a qualified and experienced contractor with a valid DNV business license. The contractor should provide proof such as receipts and other documents outlining the removal and/or the disposal of the RUST, along with any contaminated oil or soil.

Upon completion of the oil tank removal, a signed document should be provided to the District, either from the owner or the contractor hired to perform the removal. Copies of receipts may also be requested. If available, historical records previously provided by District Fire Services should also be attached.

Please note that both the District and the City of North Vancouver do not perform any inspections, nor do they provide any warrants or assurances that the RUST has been removed according to acceptable standards.

Contact Information:

District of North Vancouver
Phone: 604-990-2311
Email: [email protected]


The Burnaby Fire Department is responsible for processing all permits relating to the decommissioning of Underground Storage Tanks. The department adheres to the guidelines as set out by the Province of BC with respect to the fact that all underground tanks should be removed under the Environmental Management Act and the Contaminated Sites and Hazardous Waste Regulations.

As with most other municipalities and under the Province of BC Fire Code, the owner of the property is required to remove the Underground Storage Tank upon confirmation that one does exist on the property. Upon completion of the removal and any required remediation to the site, the owner can apply for a Certificate of Compliance, to confirm that the site has been properly restored. The applications are submitted to the City of Burnaby.

All applications to the City of Burnaby for contaminated sites legal instruments must be submitted with the recommendation of a person on the Roster of Approved Professionals.

Contact Information:

City of Burnaby
Burnaby Fire Department
Address: 4867 Sperling Avenue.
Phone: 604-294-7195.
Burnaby Building Department – Building Information
Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals Society (CSAP Society)


In Vancouver, under the City of Vancouver Fire By-Law No.8191(sec. 4.10.3) and the City of Vancouver Sewer and Watercourse ByLaw No.8093 (sec.5.3), tanks that have been left unused for 2 years and/or there is no intention to reuse the tanks should be removed. An exemption will be made if the Fire Chief deems it impractical to remove, in which case the tank will be filled with an inert and harmless substance.

To remove an oil tank, ensure that an experienced contractor is hired to perform the procedure. Prior to the commencement of the removal, the owner must obtain a Tank Removal Permit from the Fire Prevention Department which will be filed in the City’s Permits and Licenses centre.

One of the conditions includes a dipping of the tank to see if there is oil remaining, and if so, the oil must be pumped out and disposed of at an approved facility. Post-removal, the surrounding soil and/or groundwater needs to be tested for contamination as well. If contamination has occurred, remediation must be done, including possible complete removal of impacted soil. IF it is determined that oil may have leaked into the drainage, the system must be flushed to an outside drain. If oil has flushed into a storm sump, the oil must be skimmed off and disposed of accordingly.

Contact Information:

Environmental Protection Branch
Phone: 604-873-7567

Fire Prevention Department
Phone: 604-873-7595
Address: Suite 306, 456 West Broadway

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