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EPA doesn't regulate farm or residential tanks <1100 (I think it's 1100) gallons if the fuel is for use on site and doesn't involve commercial activity. (I don't know how the commercial part squares with the farm part.)

If the state and local regs disown it and the EPA doesn't regulate it, it's kind of open territory with wide latitude for lawyerly opinions.

Around here, it's all speak no, hear no, see no....everyone looks the other way on residential tanks. A customer of mine is director for EPA District 5...asked him about it...he was noncommittal indicating they don't want to get involved in residential tank issues unless there's soil contamination, and even then, they tend to keep the blinders on. It's just a teeny residential tank surrounded by Chicago, Gary, and massive Superfund cleanup sites.

Per Kibbel, what's the question?

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Kurt intuited my question.

I told client they might could demand removal, or its cost, of the seller. But my finding of exclusion drove me here for a sample of experience.

Don't know size yet but they did say they wanted to shoehorn a pool onto the lot, so what better time to haul up the old fuel oil tank?

If authority won't intrude at all a price drop might be hard to seek.

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It's the "at all" part that can go awry. Call a tank removal company, they soil test or otherwise open the door for problems. Call a couple guys with shovels, it's gone Saturday morning and no one seems to notice or care. A pool company might stumble on the tank and fear a lawsuit and refuse to touch it.

If the locals don't care, I'd be calling guys with shovels and a load of backfill, pool guy later.

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I will tell a short tale of UST removal here in Northern NJ.

I had a tank ca. 1957, 550 ga. properly abandoned in 2000- Local muni. permits pulled, tank opened and cleaned, AHJ signs off. Tank is filled with pea gravel, left in the ground, permit approved, all good.

My house to be sold 13 years later. My feeling is pull the tank 'cause it will scare buyers. The neighbor also has a tank, ca 1955, 1000 ga. Neighbors tank taken out of service approx. 2008. Sits for that time.

We join forces to remove both tanks at the same time as they are under our adjoining, not shared, driveways.

My tank comes out soiled at exterior, rusty, full of wet gravel inside. All good. No evidence of leaks.

His tank, within a few feet of mine comes out. It has a hole the size of a dime. 50K to start the cleanup on his side. $0 for me.

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I will tell a short tale of UST removal here in Northern NJ.

I had a tank ca. 1957, 550 ga. properly abandoned in 2000- Local muni. permits pulled, tank opened and cleaned, AHJ signs off. Tank is filled with pea gravel, left in the ground, permit approved, all good.

My house to be sold 13 years later. My feeling is pull the tank 'cause it will scare buyers. The neighbor also has a tank, ca 1955, 1000 ga. Neighbors tank taken out of service approx. 2008. Sits for that time.

We join forces to remove both tanks at the same time as they are under our adjoining, not shared, driveways.

My tank comes out soiled at exterior, rusty, full of wet gravel inside. All good. No evidence of leaks.

His tank, within a few feet of mine comes out. It has a hole the size of a dime. 50K to start the cleanup on his side. $0 for me.

To add to that..

Some of the towns in our area will not let you pass title unless an unused UST is properly decommisioned in accordance with DEP regulations. Additionally, most attorneys (yes, the marjority of real estate transactions around here involve attorneys) advise their clients not to buy a house without a certification that there are no abandoned underground tanks on the property.

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Youch.

What authority made the determination? Local, State, EPA?

It's kinda silly. $50k+ to clean up a small patch of residential dirt.....

The rule is that they have to remove soil until there is no sign of any oil left in the soil. The 50k could have been much higher. But I agree that a couple of guys with shovels . . . .

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I've been told that Wilmette requires that abandon residential tanks be removed, but I don't know for sure. This tank was in Kenilworth, but as you probably know, they're all over the North Shore.

I've found dozens of them, most of which haven't been properly decommissioned. If they're empty and not filled with sand/gravel/foam then they could collapse. If there is still oil in it, then there is a chance, probably a really good one, that some has leaked out due to the tank rusting out from condensation, as it has likely been out of use for 40+ years.

I'm not sure if you are suggesting that abandon UST's aren't worth mentioning because they're not regulated, or I'm just missing your point. What is your point?

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I don't think I made a point. The OP wanted personal experience stories, so I rattled off some experiences in the disparate regulatory environment.

Hell yes I write them up if I find them. Problem is in finding them. Most were abandoned, vents and fill pipes knocked off, maybe sand or dirt put in the tank. I've seen a few that were barely there, just rusted hulks with holes so big the tank fell apart when it got lifted out of the ground.

Found one in Evanston and the City said they didn't even want to know about it (more or less). Wilmette used to care, a lot; now, I know of a couple Wilmette tanks that got dug up and carted off as scrap. That doesn't mean they don't care, it just means people ditch them without calling in the authorities. Kenilworth, I don't know. Winnetka used to freak out, then shifted to looking the other way unless you grabbed them and pointed their nose in it, and now....I don't know. Maybe they care again.

It's a bit silly to get cranked up about 70 year old residential tanks when there's the refineries, steel mills, and Wolf Lake superfund central screwing up the Big Pond.

That doesn't mean I'm not looking for tanks.

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OP appreciates the replies.

In GA ownership change/title approval requires removal w/docs but only for commercial sites. It's all about gasoline tanks, as buried oil tanks are rare here.

As a local AHJ in 2010 I required removal of one for a former service station, whose tank was so close to state hiway that they had to get involved too. Tank was about the size of a well fed pig from the photos, and cleanup not a prob.

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Kurt,

That was the estimate for the first phase of clean up. I ends there or rises if the first load of soil failed to remove the contamination.

It goes through the NJ DEP. Soil just keeps getting dug out until it's clean.

One of my brother's had a leaky tank ca. 1970. The excavator had to go down 14' before they hit clean soil. He was fortunate that it leaked to the adjoining property, this allowed him to somehow put a claim in on his homeowner's.

Here's a pic of my tank out of the ground.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20141228115349_April%202013%20022.jpg

73.59 KB

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I think I'm feeling sick.....

So is my old neighbor. When I was looking for someone to yank my tank I first called the original abatement company that had filled the tank in 2000. He warned that it is possible that now the gravel inside the tank could be considered hazardous if it absorbed any oil residue that may have remained in the tank after he cleaned it.

I had also talked to the head of the building dept. in town and he told me I would need no permits to remove the tank as it was signed off on thirteen years earlier. His words- You wouldn't need a permit to throw away and old wheelbarrow you found in your backyard. It's the same thing,scrap.

My feeling, again, if I had a sign off from a licensed contractor for tank removal I was good in the eyes of a buyer, or their attorney.

Around here I have had plenty of clients who won't even have the realtor slow down in front of a house with a UST in the ground, properly abandoned in ground or not. Better to face the music when time is on one's side than wait until you have a panicked buyer.

On the attorney subject, I did once have a buyer who had knowledge of a tank that had been removed with all of the paperwork showing it was gone and all done properly. His attorney told him that he should do his own tank sweep in case there was another one somewhere on the property.

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Washington state has had laws on the books for a lot of years about abandoned tanks. When I first got into this gig in 1996 any leaking tank would freak folks out. In most cases, Department of Ecology wanted to get involved and it was expensive.

The law here says tanks have to be decommissioned within a year of being taken out of service. For tanks out of the CIty of Seattle, that means cleaning them, cutting away the filler neck and vent pipe and plugging those with concrete and then filling the tank with an inert material.

Within the city limits is another story. There were so many abandoned oil tanks in Seattle back then that the ecology nuts were fretting about a major environmental catastrophe if they all failed in a short window of time; so the legislature stepped in to encourage folks with un-decommissioned tanks to do it by making it easier, and therefore less expensive, for folks who lived within the Seattle City limits. For Seattleites, pumping out the oil, rinsing out the tank and then leaving it in the ground empty is allowed. They had to cut off the neck of the tank and the vent pipe and plug the end with concrete but they were no longer required to excavate to the tank and remove it or fill it with inert material.

Then DOC adopted a more laid back approach to leaks somewhere around 2000. They left it to tank companies to determine whether there was a serious contamination or a mild contamination. Tank companies hired to do the decommissioning take samples from around the tanks and have the samples analyzed for VOCs before proceeding with abatement. Tanks where there is soil contamination over a certain threshold have to be reported to DOC and then you're talking expensive excavation and restoration. However, test results up to the threshold don't require any action; the logic being that the soil will bio-remediate so excavation and removal is not necessary.

I explain it the the client and recommend they get the soil sampled before making a final decision. The way it works here is if you recommend further tests/examinations by an expert the buyer can get a 10 day extension to have testing/inspection done.

Once the testing and inspections are done by the tank guys the client can decide to walk or can suck it up and pay for it or try and get the seller to pay for it ....whatever.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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