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Oil delivered to the wrong building

EBEBRATT-Ed
EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
https://www.wcvb.com/article/aram-s-cafe-closes-oil-mishap-belmont-massachusetts/39880762

They should find out who disconnected the tank. MA law says oil fill and vent are to be removed when an oil tank is disconnected.

Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,534
    But did that law exist when the tank was removed?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,342
    Doesn't absolve the driver. He should have double-checked the address.

    Unfortunately, this happens every winter.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 291
    edited May 3
    Question, how fast does the fuel enter the tank under normal conditions? Say the tank is gone, there's no whistle - if a driver starts pumping into a disconnected filler and doesn't hear the whistle, how many gallons would be spilled before he shuts the nozzle off?

    About 5 years ago I had a local oil company add 100 gallons to my tank by mistake when we weren't home. It's a suburb and all houses are well spaced, the street is marked and my house number is clearly displayed both on my mailbox and the house itself.

    Strange how these things happen.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,534
    I know some of you started out as oil truck drivers, but sometimes the oil truck driver isn't necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer.
    MaxMercy
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
    @mattmia2

    The law about removing the fill and vent has been on the books here for years and is common knowledge.

    I also know of a job where two houses had a common driveway. The driver went up the driveway and put oil in the tank on the right-side house (should have been the left side house)

    The tank he filled was already filled and it had a restricted vent cap so the tank bulged out like a stuffed pig. They called me in to replace the tank. They were lucky it just dripped a little oil.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
    @Steamhead

    The driver shouldn't be absolved at all. But if the pipe was removed and or capped on the inside......it took two things to go wrong to make this spill.
    mattmia2ZmanMaxMercyreggi
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,534
    My grandparents had a driver pump oil in to their basement when the coupler in the oil burner failed while they were in AZ for the winter and the driver kept filling even though they didn't hear the whistle. It blew the cover off the gauge and leaked out there and also started the tank leaking slightly. That was when they got gas in the house and replaced the furnace next spring. I think they must have come back for thanksgiving of xmas and found it before the house froze up or maybe they had someone looking in on the house periodically.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
    I think oil truck pumps put out about 80psi or so if I recall correctly. By the time it get's through the truck hose and nozzle it's probably a lot lower at the tank,

    But if a tank is full your going to get a lot of hydraulic pressure.

    If you have ever been in a basement while a tank is being filled it going in the tank pretty quick.

    @STEVEusaPA will know.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,203
    edited May 4
    80 GPM.

    There is a flow switch on modern fuel trucks (anything built after 1950) that will increase the engine speed during pumping in order to reach the 80 GPM rate. That is considered safe. If you have a condition where you need to fill a tank slowly, that flow switch can be disengaged and the engine idle speed will pump between 30 and 40 GPM. I remember a delivery that required the "Slow Fill" and forgetting to hit the "SLOW FILL" switch. The tank split during the filling process but the whistle kept sounding... eventually it seamed that a lot of oil was going into that tank, so I stopped by closing the hose nozzle. The back pressure caused the whistle to continue to sound for another 30 seconds. I looked at the meter on the truck and I had pumped 277 gallons in to the tank. It was a 275 Gallon tank that was not empty. I knew something was wrong. I called the office on the two way radio and we had a cleaning crew there in 20 minutes.

    How can you know that the tank is split if there is still a whistle?

    At least 3 previous times I delivered to this house and made a report to have the vent pipe checked. Each time the service department technician gave the vent a clean bill of health.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
    @EdTheHeaterMan

    The 275 I saw that was bulged was full when the driver started pumping. When we disconnected the piping to change the tank it had an old vent cap like I had never seen before. Took the set screw off and pulled it off the 1 1/4 vent and the vent cap had no stop on it. It was pushed down all the way on the pipe.

    The only reason it vented at all was because the top of the vent cap was curved.

    Vented enough when it was dealing with air but oil not a chance
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,534
    Maybe it was a cap for a fence post.
  • Jersey2
    Jersey2 Member Posts: 103
    This series about an oil tank in the basement bursting is interesting. They ended up removing the concrete basement floor.
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=dhE92ChStvk
    I'm not a plumber or hvac man and my thoughts in comments are purely for conversation.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,534

    80 GPM.


    At least 3 previous times I delivered to this house and made a report to have the vent pipe checked. Each time the service department technician gave the vent a clean bill of health.

    Did they manage to find the restriction after this incident?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,689
    edited May 4

    I think oil truck pumps put out about 80psi or so if I recall correctly. By the time it get's through the truck hose and nozzle it's probably a lot lower at the tank,

    But if a tank is full your going to get a lot of hydraulic pressure.

    If you have ever been in a basement while a tank is being filled it going in the tank pretty quick.

    @STEVEusaPA will know.

    On mine, 50 psi low speed, about 55 gph gpm (thanks @hot_rod), 90 psi on high speed, about 75 gph gpm (thanks @hot_rod). I always pump low speed on basement 275 tanks. High speed only for larger tanks with 2" vents.

    @MaxMercy The sound of a whistle can start anywhere from immediately, to a few second delay. But either way you usually hear pressure almost immediately.
    The only difference is with large tanks where it may take a little time (10-15 seconds) before enough pressure is built up to either hear air discharging or the whistle to start making noise.
    But in any instance if the tank was full and the vent wasn't blocked, you would hear it bubble up, giving you a few seconds to stop flow before you wear it.

    I did have a spill like this. Auto-fill customer took out the oil tank over the summer, switched to gas and left the fill/vent pipe. Didn't notify us, and didn't pull permits. So I started filling, didn't hear anything, stopped. That was about 11 gallons, IIRC.

    Edit: because of @hot_rod 's excellent reading comprehension, lol.
    steve
    MaxMercy
  • Gary Smith
    Gary Smith Member Posts: 400
    Happened to my next door neighbor a few years ago on New Years Eve. Driver made delivery to wrong address (across street from correct address) to a house that had its oil burner replaced by a gas boiler a few years before. Driver hunted around very carefully to find the old fill pipe buried under some foundation bushes and pumped 150 gallons into basement when owners were not home. Took about 6 months of work and NJDEP permitting issues to get the house restored. All fabric items (clothes, furniture, drapes, etc) had to be dry cleaned to get the odor out. Owners stayed in a hotel for about 3 months while work was being done. As noted above the entire concrete floor of the basement had to be removed and replaced as well as one spot digging out under the foundation where the oil had seeped. In helping them navigate the restoration I learned that is fairly frequent that the entire house must be demolished as the oil smell can often not be removed. I'm pretty sure in NJ, even some years ago, the fill pipe was required to be removed but the new boiler installer did not do that, just sawzalled it off inside the basement wall. All costs, except for aggravation, paid by oil company insurance. As often as this happens one would think a better more failsafe way of assuring deliveries to the correct address would be used, would save the oil companies a lot of money. I was told in our town and surrounding towns serviced by the emergency services people that this happens at least once per year.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,326

    I think oil truck pumps put out about 80psi or so if I recall correctly. By the time it get's through the truck hose and nozzle it's probably a lot lower at the tank,

    But if a tank is full your going to get a lot of hydraulic pressure.

    If you have ever been in a basement while a tank is being filled it going in the tank pretty quick.

    @STEVEusaPA will know.

    On mine, 50 psi low speed, about 55 gph, 90 psi on high speed, about 75 gph. I always pump low speed on basement 275 tanks. High speed only for larger tanks with 2" vents.

    @MaxMercy The sound of a whistle can start anywhere from immediately, to a few second delay. But either way you usually hear pressure almost immediately.
    The only difference is with large tanks where it may take a little time (10-15 seconds) before enough pressure is built up to either hear air discharging or the whistle to start making noise.
    But in any instance if the tank was full and the vent wasn't blocked, you would hear it bubble up, giving you a few seconds to stop flow before you wear it.

    I did have a spill like this. Auto-fill customer took out the oil tank over the summer, switched to gas and left the fill/vent pipe. Didn't notify us, and didn't pull permits. So I started filling, didn't hear anything, stopped. That was about 11 gallons, IIRC.
    55 gallons per hour, Steve?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2STEVEusaPAEdTheHeaterManMaxMercy
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,203
    mattmia2 said:



    Did they manage to find the restriction after this incident?

    I believe the blockage was in the vertical pipe that was outside the front of the house. The vent was only 1" which was installed well before any code on using the same size as the fill pipe. My father explained to me that sometimes in the 1930s and 1940s (when he was a boy delivering coal and oil)t he snow would be excessive and drift so high that the vent pipes were covered and you could not hear the whistle. To solve the problem the vent pipes were extended vertically with a 10 ft pipe.

    This customer has such a vent. I believe there was a chip of rust in the pipe that when the service tech tested the vent system with compressed air for a few seconds, the vent was determined to be clear. But when the oil truck was connected for the 2 to 3 minutes it takes to fill the tank, the rust chip acted like a check valve when it reached the top of the vent pipe.

    BUT we never got the chance to resolve the issue. The customer switched to Gas Heat.

    I hope the Gas Heat installer removed the Oil Fill Pipe from the front of the house. Wouldn't it be ironic if there was a wrong delivery to that house several years later?

    Mr.Ed
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,689
    hot_rod said:



    55 gallons per hour, Steve?

    LOL...good catch. Had oil burner nozzles on the brain.

    Yes minutes not hours.

    steve
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,203
    edited May 4
    @STEVEusaPA said:
    » show previous quotes
    On mine, 50 psi low speed, about 55 gph, 90 psi on high speed, about 75 gph. I always pump low speed on basement 275 tanks. High speed only for larger tanks with 2" vents.

    @hot_rod said:
    55 gallons per hour, Steve?


    Ed Young Said:
    Steve gets about 3 deliveries per day, on a good day ... :D LOL
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    mattmia2