Underground storage tank being removed by an excavator

Underground storage tank removal or abandonment permit

Until the 1960s most Vancouver home furnaces were heated by oil in underground storage tanks (UST) typically buried in yards near furnaces.

Today, all heating oil storage tanks that haven't been used for two years must be removed to:

  • Properly manage the flammable and combustible contents
  • Minimize the risk of subsurface contamination

Also, any contaminated soil must be removed and replaced with clean soil.

Find out the benefits of removing a UST, how to detect one on your property, and how to get a permit to remove it or safely abandon it in place.

Benefits of removing a tank from your property

Removing a tank:

  1. Improves your property's environmental conditions
  2. Satisfies lenders, buyers, and insurance agents
  3. Removes high-risk conditions
  4. Reduces your environmental liability and subsequent effects to your property value

Detect a tank on your property

Check our records first

The City may have records for UST removals, abandonments, and installations. 

Search our records

Hire a contractor to confirm

As a property owner, it's your responsibility to confirm if there's a UST by hiring a contractor to search the property. The contractor will use equipment like ground-penetrating radar to search for a UST.

If a tank exists, retain the contractor as soon as possible to either:

  • Remove the tank
  • Abandon the tank in place if the City agrees that removing it isn't practical

Ask several contractors for quotes and look them up with the Better Business Bureau.

COVID-19 update: Development, Building, and Licensing 

October 4, 2021: Services Centre access is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available. 

To help process your applications more quickly, we have moved to a digital approach for all applications, enquiries, and payments. 

Wearing a mask is required if you need to visit City, Park Board, and library facilities.

  • General enquiries: Phone 604-873-7611
  • Building, development, and application enquiries:
    • Use our online form and receive a tracking number, which you can use to get real-time status updates from 3-1-1.
    • We will respond to all enquiries within 10 business days.

You may still need to submit physical drawings and plans for your project through our online form or email.

Remove or abandon a tank

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

Phone: 604-873-7611

Access to the Services Centre is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available. 

Location and mailing address
Development and Building Services Centre
515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

Transit nearby

  • Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station
  • 99 B-line, #15, and #9 buses