UNDERGROUND OIL TANK SWEEPS
Chapter 7 of the NJDEP THE CLEAN WATER BOOK specifically discuss the concerns of existing underground oil storage tanks
o Many residents of New Jersey use underground storage tanks to store heating oil. Although residential underground storage tanks containing heating oil are unregulated by federal and state laws, these tanks are a potential source of ground and surface water pollution. Home heating oil contains several substances that are known carcinogens.
o Ground water pollution and vapor hazards are the most important concerns associated with leaking underground storage tanks. The lack of construction, installation, monitoring, and closure controls for the unregulated underground storage tank increases the potential for these problems to occur. Without proper monitoring and testing of the tank and piping, leakage may go undetected until a major and costly problem has occurred.
o For these reasons and associated liability concerns, banks and mortgage companies will require a site assessment of properties, which contain unregulated underground storage tanks before they will invest in such properties. For the same reasons, real estate brokers will require a site assessment of such properties before they will market them.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UNDERGROUND OIL TANKS
Risks associated with underground oil tanks
There is much debate about the life expectancy for an underground oil tank, but it is likely to last about 20 to 25 years. Any oil tank older than that has a very significant risk of leaking due to rust proliferation. Tanks rust from inside out, and the rust is usually caused by water that has entered into the tank. A small amount of water and sulfur exist in home heating oil. When the water and the sulfur mix, they become acidic and corrosive, eating away at the tank from the inside. In most cases, the buyer of the property is legally responsible for the oil tank and any contamination, even if the buyer never used the oil tank.
If you are buying a property with an underground oil tank, you should have it tested for leakage. Identification of any leaks is extremely important because substantial environment damage and remediation costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars may ensue.
The inspection will also determine whether the tank has water in it. As noted above, water inside the tank leads to rust. An oil tank that contains water has a very limited life span.
Do you know for sure whether the property has an underground oil tank?
Sometimes homes with gas-fired heating systems still have an underground oil tank. If the vent and the pipes have been removed, the tank can easily be concealed below ground.
TG Project Management, LLC has specialized metal detector equipment to locate hidden tanks, we will scan 30ft. around the building perimeter. The cost is worth every penny that the peace of mind will bring.
We also recommend having the soil tested whenever there is a below-ground oil tank. regardless of whether the tank is in use. Soil tests looks for soil contamination.
Here are a few aspects you may wish to know if you have to hire a tank sweep service
• Properties that were built before 1975 would typically have underground oil tank because of the natural gas heat that was prevalently used back then.
• If there is an oil tank above grade for the purpose of providing fuel to heat water or for home heating purposes then there may be an underground oil tank as well.
• If you find pipes that are in any specific part of your home such as the driveway, basement or simply protruding out from the ground somewhere then that is an indication as well.
What you can do
• If you are choosing a new home heating system, consider an alternative to an underground storage tank
• If you select an underground storage tank, be certain the tank is properly sited, constructed and installed
• If you have an underground storage tank, check for signs of leakage and have it checked periodically
• If a leak or spill happens, report it immediately to local authorities and the DEP Action Line at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337)