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Law Richardson 12-04-2010 10:56 PM

Possible buried oil tank?
1 Attachment(s)
I was wondering if anyone knew what the attached picture is? It is buried in the ground directly behind a house built in 1955 in Florida. I think it might be the lid of an old oil tank or septic cover, but am not sure. Any ideas?



jklingel 12-05-2010 12:55 AM

could be near anything. pop the cap and let us know; don't breathe it. j

Just Bill 12-05-2010 06:49 AM

I would say not an oil tank, could be a water meter, not likely a septic tank.

sbfan2000 12-05-2010 08:38 AM

This sounds stupid because why would a 1955 house have one, but it looks like a grease trap that I deal with at my employers here in upstate NY. I wouldn't think a house would have one but anything is possible. Crack the lid and send a picture of what you find. Be careful, loosen nuts slowly. If there is any pressure in the vessel you may get water or other nastiness backflowing.

DangerMouse 12-05-2010 08:50 AM

If you have 'city water' it COULD be the outside shut-off.


Thurman 12-05-2010 09:03 AM

Note that the two "bolts" appear to be recessed into a counterbored space. This appears to be intentional so that you would need a special socket or "key" made to fit down into that area. Something that a homeowner would not readily have. Maybe a public utility or even a fuel oil supplier. But-if it were for fuel oil there would have to been a vent piping also. The white cap on the right I hope is for reference as to the size of this unit. I would contact the local building code authority and see if anyone is there that may know something about codes back in 1955 for fuel oil tanks, or even (as stated) the septic system, if so equipped. Those bolts are there for a reason. Either a pressure situation, or a "tamper-proof" situation. Just my nickel's worth there, David

Ron6519 12-05-2010 09:06 AM

Looks like a water shutoff box.

DangerMouse 12-05-2010 09:28 AM

I'm pretty sure it IS a water shutoff. We had one at our old home that pretty much looked like that.
They open the lid, then use a long steel rod/tool to turn on/off the home's water supply.


kwikfishron 12-05-2010 09:33 AM

199 Attachment(s)
The thing to the right looks like painted over meter.

sbfan2000 12-05-2010 03:22 PM

I'm not sure the size of this thing, the weeds make it look bigger than a water shutout riser but the cap makes it look to small to be a grease trap, it's definitely to big to be the fill on a oil tank, unless it's a HUGE tank. After looking further at it I would lean towards water shutoff but there is one other thing about that idea.

I work with water shut off risers all the time, I have the water keys that remove the nuts and the wrenchs that reach down in there to turn the valve off. I deal with valves from 2" up to 12" and this riser is not something I've seen. From what I've been told water risers have to say "Water" on the top of them just like sewer man hole covers have to say "Sewer" on them. Does that mean they all do? Of course not, but most that I've seen do say water on them.

Maybe it's the clean out for the waste water leaving the house?? Being that it's in back of the house also makes me question water shut off idea. Those are 1. usually out close to street and 2. at the front of the house. However, waste water ussually leaves the back of the house to go to the tanks/leech field, that is if you don't have city sewer. But remember that in 1955 it was very likely to have your own leech field. Of course, all my experience has been from Ohio and north. Florida is way different. :-)

wnabcptrNH 12-05-2010 03:29 PM

almost looks like the top of a well

Bob Deb 12-05-2010 09:34 PM

Opening it to see what's inside sounds like the logical approach. You could however, measure where it is in relation to the inside of your home. Possibly from one of the building corners to see if a pipe penetrates the foundation wall in a basement or up into a crawlspace.

Any of the guesses made could be right. Is, or was there ever a pool, spa, or lawn sprinkler system in the backyard? Wondering if it's some kind of shut-off for either.

DrHicks 12-05-2010 09:52 PM

I'd say it's the cap of either a cistern or a septic tank. More likely the latter.

Blondesense 12-06-2010 01:02 AM

So have you figured it out yet?
Inquiring minds want to know.

If you haven't figured it out yet I would take a wire brush to it to see if there are any markings underneath all that rust.

Or take a pic (with measurements) to your local building inspector or permit office.

Law Richardson 12-06-2010 07:59 AM

Thanks, for all your ideas. I have not opened it yet but here is more information. The house is on septic and a private well. The well pump is 20 feet to the right of this. The septic tank is 20 feet north of this around the left side. This buried tank is directly behind the bathroom ( near bath tub and toilet). Thanks.

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