During a large part of the 20th-century fuel oil was considered to be one of the most viable options for heating a home. At one point in time, it even outstripped wood stoves when it came to popularity for heating a home in a rural location. Today it has fallen out of favor, as municipal sources have become far more available, and modern technology has ushered in far more efficient home heating options.
Yet the specter of fuel oil’s history still looms large throughout much of New Jersey and the surrounding areas. A large number of tanks still live in the form of underground and aboveground storage tanks. Some have gone completely unused for decades, many with residual fuel oil or other fluids still inside. A significant percentage of them haven’t been properly closed off!
This is a growing threat not only to the tank and the surrounding soil. Things like soil acidity, water invasion, corrosion, and seasonal weather changes can gradually cause these tanks to leak. As time goes on a compromised tank becomes increasingly likely to contaminate the soil, the surrounding plants, and even pollute the groundwater. Not only is this a health hazard to the people living there, but the environmental aspects can also lead to very costly liability issues.
Selling A Home With An Existing Oil Tank
If you own a home with an existing underground or above ground oil tank, the wisest option is to have it professionally inspected and removed as soon as possible. The longer you wait for the more likely it is to fail, releasing fuel oil, sludge, or other contaminants into the soil and possibly the groundwater supply.
Hydroscience Group’s team of experienced highly trained tank specialists have decades of experience removing underground and above ground heating oil tanks, for proper disposal.
Buying A Home With An Existing Oil Tank
If you are thinking about buying or making a bid on a home with an existing oil tank, you need to be suspicious of its status. Some of these tanks were not professionally sealed of or abandoned properly. This can be especially troublesome for underground oil tanks. If there is an oil tank on the property and it is not fully documented as being compliant, you should strongly consider requesting it is inspected. Also, bear in mind that traditional home inspectors aren’t always well-versed in oil tank regulations and inspection techniques. Fortunately, Hydroscience Group has a team of professional inspectors with the experience and expertise to handle the inspection and any necessary removal procedures.
Insights On The Underground Tank Removal Process
Underground fuel oil tanks tend to be far more complicated to remove than above ground storage tanks. That being said, there are several crucial steps in the process. At each one, our technicians take a meticulous, detail-oriented approach to minimize complications and liability, as well as maintain compliance with the vast array of State and Federal regulations.
Residential Oil Tanks Are A Factor When Buying Or Selling Residential Or Commercial Property
Many homes and commercial properties, especially those in rural locations have an above ground or underground storage tank that is used as a fuel oil tank. When selling these homes the seller and potential buyers often weigh the implications of abandoning the tank or having it professionally removed.
The Dangers Of Abandonment
Most buyers in today’s modern real estate market will insist an old fuel oil tank be removed from the property in question. For many, even a tank that has been professionally closed off is still too much of a contamination threat. This is particularly concerning, as the past practice was to have the tank purged, cleaned and sealed. Yet this still led to other long-term issues.
If the seller does not agree to these demands, the buyer might rescind their offer or alter it to reflect the potential removal and remediation costs. On a legal level, the NJDEP is only required to get involved with an oil tank abandonment if it has been determined that there is evidence of a leak. However, in the past, many seal-off attempts and companies performing them lacked thoroughness. This casts increase suspicion about the threat of an abandoned tank. Especially one without a professionally documented history.
This sometimes means that even with thorough paperwork and past soil testing documents a buyer’s insurance or mortgage company might not approve the risk. In the case of some homeowner’s insurance companies, a higher premium might be assessed.
The Benefits Of Tank Removal
To address all of these salient issues, the NJDEP directly recommends that all out-of-service underground storage tanks be removed, even if they were professionally sealed in the past.
When Hydroscience Group removes a tank for professional disposal, we pay strict attention to making sure that all permits, inspections, and processes are compliant with regulations. This ensures that the NJDEP will issue a No Further Action or NFA letter which frees you from any future liability issues.
Above ground and underground storage tanks simply can’t last forever. Most seem to have a lifespan of around twenty years. After that they start to deteriorate, leading to leaks, which can be a major source of pollution, as well as a liability issue.
Some fuel oil tank issues are easier to detect than others. In the case of an underground tank, many homeowners and commercial properties don’t notice a problem until the heat stops working. In many of these cases, it is because a leak in the tank has allowed water to enter the system. This also usually means that sludge, fuel oil or other contaminants are in danger of seeping out into the surrounding soil and potentially the groundwater.
If you need emergency oil tank services for underground, above ground, or exterior fuel oil tank, you need to can turn to the trusted and experienced technicians at Hydroscience Group.