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How to Remove an Underground Propane Tank

Learn how to remove an underground propane tank.
Propane Tank image by John Walsh from Fotolia.com

Underground propane tanks offer a practical way to transport propane gas through pipes directly into your home. A propane tank is usually placed below the ground because it contains a potentially hazardous substance and is an environmental risk. If you wish to remove your underground propane tank, you may need to consult or hire a qualified professional, depending on your local laws and regulations. If you want to perform the task yourself, be careful to follow instructions and apply necessary safety measures, such as wearing a ventilator mask and safety goggles.

Learn about and understand your local regulations and rules about underground propane tank removals. If you need to, obtain permits for the task and ask the fire department to send someone to observe the process.

Shut the gas valve going to the tank by turning the lever to the right. Empty the propane tank and remove all the residues. A professional must do the emptying. This step can’t be completed alone. Your gas company will come with a special truck and equipment to drain the tank.

Locate the exact place where the propane tank is buried. Prepare the area for excavation: Remove the paving using a jackhammer and clear the surface of the ground of any loose debris.

Excavate the tank by digging around it with a shovel. Make sure not to damage the piping that’s attached to the tank.

Using a wrench, loosen the elbow joints holding the pipes to the tank. Turn the wrench in a counter-clockwise direction until you can slide the pipes away from the tank.

Attach one steel end cap to the open end of each gas pipe. Screw the end caps to the right using your hand until they’re securely fastened. Then use a wrench to tighten them even more.

Ask a friend to help you lift the tank out of the pit.

Refill the hole where the tank was with the earth you removed in Step 4 using a shovel.

Contact a licensed propane company, the fire department office or your city’s public safety office regarding the safe disposal of the propane tank. Note that your city’s garbage-removal contractor may not take your old propane tank. Check your local laws and regulations and contact your local propane company for details.

Things You'll Need:

  • Safety goggles
  • Ventilator mask
  • Shovel
  • Jackhammer
  • Wrench


  • Be extremely cautious when working with or near a propane tank. Make sure to consult or even hire a professional for this task. Don’t light a flame within 150 feet of the area where you’re working.
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