Financial Assistance for Tank Repair and Replacement
The State of Vermont has new regulations for oilheat and kerosene tanks that are found in buildings or outside. Tanks must be inspected at least once every three years. Tanks must also be inspected before they are filled by a new fuel company. A tank may be red tagged by a tank inspector if it fails to meet the minimum safety requirements. A list of these minimum safety standards can be found at vermontfuel.com/tank.
The Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF) offers financial assistance to residential tank owners toward the removal, replacement, or upgrade of both aboveground and underground fuel oil storage tanks. Qualified applicants may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 for an indoor tank, up to $3,000 for an outdoor tank, and up to $4,000 for an underground tank. The amount awarded is based on income and household size, and could range anywhere from $250 to $2000. Proposals/estimates are not needed when the application is submitted. Work completed prior to application approval is not eligible for financial assistance.
Homeowners can apply online by clicking on this link. You can also fill out a paper application, download the form here. More information on the Vermont Tank Financial Assistance Program can be found at the Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation website found here.
Low income Vermonters may also be eligible for funds for tank repairs through the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity. Contact your local Community Action Agency for more information.
What About Renters?
The state assistance programs are not available to renters. However, the owner of the property is responsible for providing functioning heat— and this includes a working fuel tank. The Town Health Officer can do a rental housing health code inspection and issue an Emergency Health Order. Find a list of health officers here.
Renters can call “2-1-1” to get connected to services including emergency housing if necessary. Vermont Legal Aid can answer questions about whether renters can repair or replace a tank and deduct from rental payment. Contact Vermont Law Help at 800-889-2047 or vtlawhelp.org
Other Assistance Options
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has a grant and loan program for low income households, the 504 Home Repair Program. For seniors, it can provide up to $7500 in grant funds to purchase a new tank (or make other HVAC repairs), and for most others, it can provide up to a $20,000 loan (1% for up to 20 years). Replacing a tank could cost as little as $10 a month. Click here for an application form.
The VGreen Energy Improvement Loan offered by VSECU can also be used to finance oilheat and kerosene tank replacements. Discounted fixed rates and extended terms make this a low-cost financing option—a much more manageable solution than paying the full cost up front or charging it to a high-interest-rate credit card. You can apply for the VGreen Energy Improvement Loan at the VSECU website.