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

April 16, 2021: The Services Centre is open for scheduled appointments and payments only. All other enquires are available online, by phone, or email.

We continue to process and review applications to help ensure buildings and development can continue to operate, generate employment, and meet urgent housing needs. Inspections continue daily with enhanced safety precautions.

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 new online form and receive a tracking number, which you can use to get real-time status updates from 3-1-1.
    • Email permitquestions@vancouver.ca​​​​​​​. ​​​​​​​Submissions received through email will take longer to process and will not receive a tracking number. Please do not send multiple emails. 
    • 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.

The permitquestions@vancouver.ca inbox will close permanently on May 30, 2021, and we will continue processing emails received up to May 30, 2021.

Remove or abandon a tank

​​​​​​​Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

​​​​​​​Contact us online

Phone: 604-873-7611

Email: permitquestions@vancouver.ca (Email available only until May 30, 2021)

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