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Pipe through foundation. Old oil tank line?

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I just had a home inspection on Friday, and there is a concern that there is/may have been an underground oil tank on the property. The main clue is that there is a steel pipe (about 1.5-2" diameter) coming through the foundation around 2 feet under the surface of the ground. It is a single pipe, and there is no patching around it that could possibly indicate there was another line near it. The pipe is currently capped. A picture can be found below:

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I have approached the town, both the records department and fire marshall, and neither have a record of a tank removal, though both groups freely admit that a lack of permit doesn't mean much (since they're so disorganized...permits get lost easily and frequently). The fire marshall suggested that from a verbal description, it could be an old water line.

From what I've research, underground oil tank require two lines through the foundation, and 'in' and 'out' line. I've also read that the oil lines are generally small-diameter copper tubing (?). Would the two lines reside inside the steel pipe pictured above?

Outdoors, there are few clues. There is no obvious fill pipe or vent pipe, though clearly these could have been removed without the tank being removed. There is an area of dead grass off the side of the house where the line enters the basement, but considering nobody has lived in the house for awhile, there are other dead spots in the lawn :)

Any advice? I appreciate any and all help!

Thanks again.


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The pipe in your picture looks like an old water or gas line. Out here in Oregon, it would have been an old gas line that was put in when the house was built but that was never used. They're extremely common.

It looks nothing like an oil line.

To be certain, you might hire an oil tank locating firm to scan the yard. Around here, this service costs about $100.

Even simpler, you could try probing the soil under the dead spots to see whether or not you can feel a tank.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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