View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

The existence of home heating oil tanks, either below ground or on the surface, continues to be a concern for some residents.

While View Royal Coun. John Rogers acknowledges oil-burning heating is not going away anytime soon, he hopes to lessen the risk of ecological damage from external leaks locally and around B.C.

Last month, his motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ annual meeting, calling on the province to legislate changes to enhance oil tanks’ safety and security, was tabled for later discussion.

“The regulations are the province’s purview, and if the province were to take this on, every municipality would receive the benefit,” Rogers said.

The motion called on the province to legislate mandatory registration and tagging of home heating oil tanks – much like propane tanks – as being in good condition, and prohibit the filling of untagged tanks; create a mandatory inspection system including authorized inspector access; place liability on fuel delivery companies for spills from tanks they fill and require those companies to carry related insurance; add a surcharge on heating oil fuel sales to cover any public clean up costs associated to leakage from properties where the owner has self-identified as having a heating oil tank, and require proper decommissioning of tanks that no longer meet certification or are unused for a prescribed time.

RELATED STORY: Pair ordered to pay more than $50,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling Victoria home

Ensuring one’s home heating oil tank is safe, secure and in good operating condition is the homeowner’s responsibility. That said, some local fuel suppliers regularly inspect oil tanks for signs of damage or leakage.

“Our drivers visually inspect the tanks, and if there are problems, we don’t come back until the tank is replaced,” Mia Simmons, office manager with Victoria Coal and Heating, said. “If it’s questionable, they take a picture and send it to me, and I get hold of the owner [to let them know].”

For some time, insurance companies have required homeowners to move oil tanks outdoors, as well as ensuring their tank meets B.C. fire and building code standards for construction and maximum age.

The Capital Regional District has a guide for homeowners to help protect the environment and prevent disasters. It offers tips on what to look for, new standards, and what to do in an emergency.

Saanich has dealt with multiple contaminations of Colquitz Creek due to fuel oil leaks. Since 2012, its crews have responded to reports of six buried oil tanks that failed, four copper lines leaking (running from the tank to the furnace) and 12 above ground tanks leaking.

“We do know that there can be severe problems when tanks have been unknowingly left in the ground,” Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said. “For new homeowners, it has caused severe hardship and environmental damage. Buried tanks are a continuing concern in Saanich we seem to have a fairly robust approach to that.”

RELATED STORY: Saanich aims to help homeowners dump their oil tanks for heat pumps

Such incidents, and a general movement toward taking direct action to address climate change, are among the reasons Saanich is encouraging homeowners on oil to switch to cleaner, more efficient home heating options.

Saanich is touting various rebates and incentives for switching from oil to a heat pump system, including $6,700 toward the heat pump and up to $1,000 toward upgrading your electrical service, plus a group purchase rebate of $500 when homeowners band together to make purchases.

The CRD, Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt and Central Saanich, with the help of City Green, are also providing supports for home and building owners to make their buildings more climate-friendly through bringithome4climate.ca.

While Simmons said the oil tank industry has “turned around” in recent years by offering many options and 30-year tank guarantees, she said the idea of tagging and registering tanks could be a good one.

Rogers plans to provide the UBCM executive with further details around his motion in hopes that it may make it onto next year’s recommended list.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

The Town of Sidney will receive $2.75 million in direct grant support from the provincial government to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report before council Monday recommends a “cautious and measured approach” in using the funds. (Black Press Media File)
Staff suggest Sidney be cautious spending $2.75 million from province

Staff also warn of financial ‘uncertainty’ and raise prospect of tax increase

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read