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

Parkland Secondary principal Lizanne Chicanot stands by the track which is the subject of a fundraising effort. The 35-year-old track is well beyond its best-before date. (Jason Earnshaw/Submitted)
Fundraising campaign to replace North Saanich track off to the races

Track at Parkland Secondary School ‘well, well beyond its best-before date’

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

The Sooke Santa Run will feature their youngest members as Santas, an annual tradition for the firefighters in Sooke, East Sooke, Shirley and Otter Point. The drive-by event takes place throughout the Sooke neighbourhood on Dec. 12. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
No one outside fire hall allowed to help volunteer for Sooke Santa Run

Drive-by event takes place on Dec. 12, with goal to raise $15,000

A West Shore man has been handed two tickets for failing to wear a mask after verbally abusing staff at a coffee shop in View Royal and gas station in Langford. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Man ticketed twice for refusing to wear mask in same day, say West Shore RCMP

Police ask businesses to report incidences when they occur

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read