Fuel Tank Excavation

Underground fuel tank excavation is not just about digging a lump of metal from the ground; to do it safely requires many special skills. The whole process begins in the office with a thorough study of all available plans, so we can get the best idea possible of what is below ground.

As well as the most recently used tanks and pipe work, there may be old disused tanks that need excavating and services that need to be avoided and/or cut off. 

a tank being craned out

We then carry out on-site surveys with a CAT scanner, to add to the information from site plans. Many sites have been in use for decades, so information is often incomplete. We also carry out surface and borehole soil tests before and during excavation, to identify any contamination due to leaks.

Contaminated soil is taken to a licensed site for safe disposal, to be replaced by clean material. If the tank has not already been made safe with water or inert material, it will need de-gassing – usually with Nitro-foam – to expel the potentially explosive fuel/air mix and make it safe to work on.


Safely Removing Fuel Tank

We then expose the top of the tank and cold cut a large hole in the top, so our operative can safely access the tank to remove sludge and clean the tank by scrubbing the interior thoroughly. All contamination is again sent to a licensed site, while the cleaned tank goes for recycling. Personnel who enter the tank are fully trained in confined space working, are attached to a harness and safety-line and wear breathing apparatus with protective clothing at all times while decontaminating tanks.

What is underground fuel tank excavation, and why is it necessary?

What steps are involved in underground fuel tank excavation, and how does DP Fuel Tank Services ensure safety and environmental compliance?

The process begins with a thorough study of available plans and site surveys, including CAT scanning and soil tests, to gather information about what lies below the ground. This helps identify active and disused tanks, avoid services, and assess potential contamination due to leaks. Contaminated soil is safely disposed of, and clean material is used as a replacement. Tanks are made safe with methods like Nitro-foam inerting to expel potentially explosive fuel/air mixtures. The top of the tank is exposed, and a large hole is cold-cut to allow access for sludge removal and thorough interior cleaning. DP Fuel Tank Services prioritises safety with fully trained personnel, confined space working, safety harnesses, breathing apparatus, and protective clothing.

What are DP Fuel Tank Services' preferred methods for tank cleaning, and how does the company handle waste disposal and recycling?

DP Fuel Tank Services prefers the man entry method for tank cleaning, considering it the most thorough and efficient. However, the company is also equipped for high-pressure jet washing without man entry, using specialized equipment to clean without streaking. To minimize waste disposal costs, DP Fuel Tank Services recycles as much water as possible. After underground fuel tank removal, all materials are recycled, and the company strictly adheres to safety and environmental regulations throughout the process.