Oil Tank in Basement Bedroom!

I did an inspection today on a 4-plex. One apartment with basement had a bedroom in the basement with an oil tank in the bedroom (sort of). I really need some thoughts about this one, here are some facts:

1. the bedroom had a 6-ft ceiling,…
2. there was a partition wall separating (wood studs and drywall) the bedroom from an oil tank,…
3. the bedroom had a drop ceiling, but most of the tiles were removed.
4. there was an odor of petroleum in the room.
5. Access to the tank is through a hatch in the closet although youwould have to be pretty small guy to get into the space.
6. The fill spout is leaking oil on top of the tank
7. the tank was manufactured in 1996
8. Clearance from the tank to the partition wall is about8-inches

I suspect that this is a health and safety issue but I cannot find definitive code requirements that support my concerns.

Are there Ontario Building code requirements that prevent this type of installation?

How would you report it?

CSA B139 Installation Code For Oil-Burning Equipment states in section 6.4.1 that the tank must be “installed in rooms for storage tanks that conform to the National Fire Code of Canada”.

Since the partition wall did not have complete fire separation perhaps it does not meet the requirement!?!? What do you think?

B139 also states in section

“Supply tanks shall be accessible after installation so that they can be inspected”

Since the clearance between the tank and the partition wall is about 8-inches, perhaps the oil companies may reject this tank for this reason!?

Any experts here with some advice? I have some pics if interested.

I’m heading to the Hockey game tonight (Ottawa vs New Jersey) so if you don’t hear from me I will respond ASAP when I get home.


Sure, lets see some pics


Sorry but I’m pic-posting illiterate.

You have answered your concerns and questions. Why even state code or any other reference?

**4. there was an odor of petroleum in the room.
****6. The fill spout is leaking oil on top of the tank

**Therefore I would right it up in the following manner.

**The oil tank appears to be leaking at the filler pipe, and there is a very strong odour of oil present in the room. Immediate further investigation by licenced heating contractor is warranted, and should be carried out prior to closing of title.

**This throws the onus of compliance back on the vendor and not the purchaser. I would also be very certain to tell the purchasers agent that too. The agent should have no qualms dealing and bring this concern to the listing agent and vendor.


I would follow Ray’s advice but just for your info the room must have a min.1HR fire rating I’m also attaching a pdf file you should read.


This also sounds like an illegal apt. 6’ ceilings,fuel oil tank,is there a window in this apt. for egress?

Tank is Deficient.

Report it as you have Described and Recommend Repair.


This is a very serious thing here in Canada[leaks] I like Ray’s strong wording in describing defect.

Sometimes you have to literally scare the crap out of some people [nice way] in order for them to clue in,and take action.

my thoughts


I am in total agreement.

I have inspected a home where I was the first to identify an Oil Spillage / Contamination situation.

PA DEP, as well as the US EPA, were involved in the Residential Cleanup of the Property.

The remediation method chosen included a long term methodology of treatment with retesting at scheduled intervals to verify a schedule of compliance.

The Cost Estimation for this project is beyond comprehension. Do not let it be your expense due to a failure to properly identify / report.

A few years ago about (7)? we did an inspection and there was a serious amount of oil leaked into the basement .
The person Bought the home for $69,000:00 on condition of an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY .
The person who sold the home spent $65,000:00 for the clean up . We have one in Belleville that the oil company put 2oo galons of oil into the wrong home .
No tank the cost has approached $1,000,000:00 so do not miss an oil stain it can cost big Dollars .

I have heard it can cost $4,000:00 to get rid of one yard of oil soaked soil.
Roy Cooke


That’s a very good point Roy,I will allways look for and verify fill and vent pipes.Verify that a tank actually exists,and if not [old pipes, not connected] will reccomend that they are removed.



My father had an rental property with oil tank with a leak [small] and was fined $5K for less than a litre of oil spill going into storm drain.If the [Valdez]EXXON was fined by the litre like my father was,they would be broke today!


January 2003

Regulatory Bulletin

Fuel Oil Regulation

The following changes have been prepared in anticipation of the next edition of the CSA-B139, Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment.

  • Section 6.4.7 and 6.4.8 of CSA-B139-00, “Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment” are amended as follows:*

A tank shall be located so that the
(a) temperature of the oil in the tank will not exceed 38oC; and

(b) horizontal distance from the tank to the source of ignition on any fuel-fired appliance, other than a combustible-fuel-oil-driven internal combustion engine, shall not be less than 0.6m except when approved as part of an appliance or as permitted by Clause 6.4.8.

When the separation required by Clause 6.4.7(b) is impractical, the distance required may be reduced, provided that

(a)the tank is shielded from the thermal radiation from the source of ignition from any fuel-fired appliance or appliances by a permanent shield that has a fire resistance rating of at least 1 hour and is of sufficient length and height to hide the tank completely from the source of ignition,

(b)the necessary appliance clearances are maintained and the necessary clearances for tank inspection are maintained.

Section 6.4.9 is added to CSA-B139-00, “Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment.”
Supply tanks shall be accessible after installation so that they can be inspected.
Single-wall, and double-wall supply tanks without interstitial monitoring shall be installed so that there is at least 450 mm (18 in) clearance along one side and one end of each tank.

Regulatory Bulletin – Fuel Oil
Page 2
January 2003
The end or side of a supply tank shall be at least 50 mm (2 in) from a wall.
When two supply tanks are installed side-by-side, the space between the two tanks shall be at least 100 mm (4 in).

This bulletin is effective immediately

APPROVED BY: (Original Signed on January 30, 2003)
John Wastle, P.Eng.

cc: COHA
Fuel Oil - RRG

Yes, there is a window in the bedroom.

The client back out of the deal,… and now I’m apparently a deal breaker! :roll:

Can’t win, if I don’t call it out, I get sued, if I do call it out then I’m a deal breaker. Go figure!


Did you get paid?Was the client happy that you found all defects?Did you give [in your opinion] a fair assessment of condition of building?

If your answer is yes to above questions you did your job as a professional. In my opinion you have nothing to worry about!


P.S. Don’t loose any sleep over it.


Thats why its important to include a client questionaire in your report. So the client can fill it out and send it to you telling you how good you were.
Then you take the questionaire and send it to the agent along with a covering note saying something to the affect… Rec’d this feedback from client in regards to the property inspection at 123 Any Street, “another happy client. When we look good you look good!” Thought you should know how happy the clients are with my service. Thank you for your referral.


Yes to all the above. I basically cannot control what the listing agent thinks so I definitely won’t loose sleep over it.


I do give a questionaire to my client but that is a good idea about sending to the agent.