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Oil tank

delazdelaz Posts: 2Member
I’m looking to buy a house. We know there is one 550 gallon oil tank in the front right yard. There are two unused oil fuel lines that were found in the basement near the heating, and one vent pipe found on the front right side of the house, no fill pipe was found. Oil isn’t used in the house anymore. The deck area of the house couldn’t be checked because the deck wasn’t removed. Based on what was found - the pipes... - how likely is it that there is another tank in the back of the house?

Comments

  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,301Member
    The current owner should have documentation an abatement was done on the buried tank. If not, no sale. In NY theres a full disclosure law.
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,822Member
    It would have been a two pipe system from the one tank. But if any doubt.. grab a metal detector...
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,374Member
    If there isn't full documentation as @HVACNUT suggests -- no matter what State you are in -- run, don't walk, away. If there isn't the documentation and a soil sample shows contamination, you, dear homeowner, are on the hook for the full cost of the cleanup, no matter when it happened. And that is not cheap. (you can always sue whoever owned the place before you, of course, to try and recover -- but good luck with that).
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    edited September 12
    My current house showed a 550 tank in the front yard in the blue prints, they had no documentation and claimed no knowledge, there were two oil lines sticking through the wall, I made them dig it up and had the fire marshall inspect, they found the tank had been removed and no one documented it, no contamination found, it was to be NO SALE unless they did, I now have documentation for when I sell..........otherwise once you buy YOU are responsible.
  • delazdelaz Posts: 2Member
    The owners are taking out the current oil tank, and I don’t believe there is another one, and our oil sweep doesn’t indicate there is another one. But we couldn’t check under the deck.
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    edited September 12
    It has to be inspected by the town fire marshall, call the town hall that the home is located in, ensure they are doing it legally.

    He has to sniff the hole and ensure there is no fuel in the ground, if there is they have to dig until there isn't.
  • leonzleonz Posts: 247Member
    edited September 13
    delaz said:

    I’m looking to buy a house. We know there is one 550 gallon oil tank in the front right yard. There are two unused oil fuel lines that were found in the basement near the heating, and one vent pipe found on the front right side of the house, no fill pipe was found. Oil isn’t used in the house anymore. The deck area of the house couldn’t be checked because the deck wasn’t removed. Based on what was found - the pipes... - how likely is it that there is another tank in the back of the house?

    ======================================================
    It is very likely there is another tank hiding in the dirt.
    Been there, done that, very likely that their is another tank. As Jamie said no sale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, run don't walk.

    In taking off the deck and digging it up and finding everything will cost you at least $5,000.00 not including any remediation work
    that is overseen by the environmental conservation and protection people which means digging up a very large perimeter of soil including excavating all the soil near the foundation and possibly below the foundation and replacing the soil with clean bank run gravel.

    The other thing is future liability to you and or your heirs as they can and will come calling to confront you with any possible damage caused by the buried tank or tanks when or if the home changes hands in the future.

    If the present owner wants to do all the work including ripping off the deck, filing all the permits and purchasing the liability insurance for the work to be done, hiring the excavation company and the company that will pump out the tank as its most likely filled with water and oil and doing all the remediation work per the EPA guidelines with fresh clean bank run or crushed bank run gravel and having the work overseen by the proper contractor will cost a lot of money.

    The other thing is that you need to keep in mind that if the tank wall fails water and debris will get in the tank and settling will occur and create another potential liability to you or the future home owner and that will come back and bite you.

    Hidden oil tanks are a huge existing menace in the United States for a lot of reasons as they were just put in the ground without a concrete slab to rest them on and the excavations were never surrounded with a heavy thickness plastic to create a bathtub of sorts where the tanks are surrounded by a thick layer of crushed stone then covered with gravel to protect the tank or tanks as is done with modern gas tanks at filling stations.

    You have doubts, and that is good; you came to the right place to ask questions as we have no reason to steer you wrong as most of us have seen the results of heating oil contamination and the resulting cost of remediation work to correct it.

    A very good example is what the BNSF railway had to do to correct the damage caused by fuel oil leakage in Skykomish, Washington that occurred when the Great Northern railway had a complete steam locomotive shop, oil tank farm, coal tower and sanding facility on the west portals of the old Cascade tunnel and the new Cascade tunnel mined out in 1929. The BNSF was required to do the excavation and oil remediation work surrounding all the old sidings and shops and they had to dig up all the contaminated soil and replace it with clean gravel and also install inspection wells to monitor the site for perpetuity.


    WALK AWAY, OR JUST PLAIN RUN FOR THE HILLS.
    DO NOT LET YOUR REALTOR OR THE SELLERS REALTOR CONVINCE YOU TO RECONSIDER. YOU ARE WALKING INTO A TRAP THAT YOU OR YOUR HEIRS MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO WALK AWAY FROM DUE TO THE LIABILITY OF GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION.

    Like I said been there done that, and I have been living with this mistake of a house for 40 years that I was saddled with by my family.


    RUN AWAY, RUN FAR AWAY.







  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 381Member
    I feel so fortunate. my general contractor gave me a high, five digit estimate to remove and remediate our inground tank befor building our addition.

    I said forget it. we dont need the addition. we cant afford both addition and remediation. just simple personal finance.

    when i came home from work, the tank was gone, hole was filled and the contractor was ready to go. it cost nothing.
  • leonzleonz Posts: 247Member
    Was there oil in the tank? Was this the same general contractor or an excavating contractor sub contracted by the general contractor? What happened to the tank? was it cleaned out and then brought to the scrapper after it was cut up to clean it out?
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 381Member
    edited September 14
    no, i had oil pumped out ten years prior. house was on gas. contractor used a lot of subs, so, I assume sub pulled it. no cleaning. just gone.
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    You just screwed yourself, the contractor cannot, I repeat CANNOT REMOVE AN OIL TANK FROM THE GROUND WITHOUT HAVING IT INSPECTED

    GOOD LUCK EVER SELLING YOUR HOME
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    CASE IN POINT

    The property I am buying has an underground heating oil tank that was decommissioned (taken out of service). The tank is filled with sand, gravel or foam and contains no oil. The seller has provided permits and reports from the town building inspector stating that the tank was properly abandoned and decommissioned. Is it still necessary to test the soil surrounding the tank to determine whether contamination exists?

    A. If a seller provides a report from a state certified environmental company with laboratory results from a state certified laboratory stating that the soil was tested at the time the tank was taken out of service and filled with sand/gravel or foam, additional soil testing would not be necessary as long as the soil tests were acquired from the appropriate locations and analyzed for the proper laboratory analysis. To verify this answer an environmental professional should review this report to ensure it is complete and thorough. If you do not have a statement that the tank did not leak than you have to answer that very important question.
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    actual laws vary from state to state, this is the go to

    https://www.epa.gov/ust/underground-storage-tank-ust-contacts
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 381Member
    edited September 14
    GBart said:

    You just screwed yourself, the contractor cannot, I repeat CANNOT REMOVE AN OIL TANK FROM THE GROUND WITHOUT HAVING IT INSPECTED

    GOOD LUCK EVER SELLING YOUR HOME

    Depends on where you live, right? been here thirty years.
    Havnt heard anyone having trouble selling around here. I know every house on this street has or had an oil tank and they sell before a for sale sign is ever hung. it’s why i feel fortunate.

    Besides, permits were pulled,inspections made.
  • GBartGBart Posts: 466Member
    permits may have been pulled on construction and inspections made that wouldn't cover an old UST, the contractor probably did it on the fly as they excavated, hey if you get to sell and no one asks good for you
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