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How to choose an LSRP?

Posted by david sulock on Oct 5, 2017 9:05:25 AM

How to Choose an LSRP? aka Hiring an LSRP

After 8 years of LSRP mandated involvement in the state of New Jersey we still are asked, how do I choose an LSRP?

If you are looking to retain an LSRP for an environmental issue, your property is either in the State of New Jersey or Massachusetts. New Jersey implemented the LSRP program to more or less privatize the cleanup of contaminated sites in New Jersey. The LSRP program is telling in the fact that only two states have LSRP programs.

You will need an LSRP is you own are connected (responsible) for a property in New Jersey that has found to contain contamination. Contamination at a site could be from your involvement or historic contamination that may not have ever been known or disclosed to the current owner prior to purchase. We work at a number of properties that require LSRP involvement due to contamination being left behind from a prior owner. The laws are that if you own the site even if you did not cause the contamination you are responsible. This is true for most all sites, it can have exceptions such as where contamination had been previously found under another owner and that owner is listed as the Responsible party (RP) according to the New Jersey Spill Act.

 

LSRP regulated tanks.jpg

The New Jersey LSRP program started on May 7, 2009, then Governor Jon Corzine signed the Site Remediation Reform Act N.J.S.A. 58:10C – 1 ("SRRA") into law. One of the many provisions of the law establishes a program for the licensing of Licensed Site Remediation Professionals ("LSRPs") environmental professionals that have the experience with environmental impacted sites and who pass a proficiency exam. An LSRP has the responsibility for the oversight of environmental investigations and cleanups of applicable site in New Jersey. There was a phase in period of the program, which ran until May 7, 2012.

Bottom line, as of May 7, 2012, all applicable remediation’s (any commercial or industrial site as a rule) requires LSRP involvement in the state of New Jersey. Even sites that may have been undergoing remediation prior to May 7, 2009, without regard to when remediation was initiated, are required to find and retain a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), as per N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1.3b(1) through (9).

An LSRP takes responsibility of navigating responsible parties through the NJDEP’s Site Remediation Program (SRP). In short, if you have contamination, you must determine the source, define the area of contamination, determine media affected by the contamination (soil, groundwater), evaluate for vapor concerns if applicable and then determine a course of action. Addressing contamination may mean physically addressing the contamination (soil excavation, chemical or biological treatment) or by permitting the contamination in place (deed restrictions, Classification Exemption Areas CEA).

Before the LSRP program an RP would receive a No Further Action (NFA), today you receive an RAO or Response Action Outcome (RAO) document that effectively replaces the No Further Action (NFA) letter previously issued by the NJDEP. On sites where an RAO includes the use of institutional or engineering controls, which are meant to be protective of public health, safety, and the environment, an LSRP must remain involved for any required post-RAO monitoring.

For sites where all applicable remediation standards have been met (meaning no institutional or engineering controls are required), then an unrestricted-use RAO is issued as the final remediation document, and the role of the LSRP is completed.

LSRP Services.jpg

Hiring an LSRP is similar to engaging other professionals such as accountants or lawyers. As with any professional, you will find some are better than others. You need to look at the broad picture of what you will need with engagement of an LSRP. Meaning, any licensed LSRP will have the experience and background to perform the work as they hold the LSRP license. Outside of just experience you will also be incurring costs for fieldwork, such as drilling, soil and water sampling, excavation, geophysical surveys, air monitoring, the list can be long. These blue-collar services so to speak can dwarf the hourly rates of the professional (LSRP) directing the activities. Boutique firms such as Curren Environmental retain these services in-house to not only ensure the quality of the services, but also the cost. We find our rates to be below those of firms where subcontractors must be sourced and markups added by the environmental consultant. At Curren, we source both consulting and contracting under one umbrella to provide true turnkey services.

To that end, hiring an LSRP can entail lengthy relationship and we respect that no one wakes up in the morning and wants to make a bad decision but it happens.We offer a no cost, no obligation consultation on your project needs.As a matter of course we cannot accept every project that arises as we hold responsibility to steer the project to NJDEP mandated timeframes, we cannot simple hand stamp a project to buy time for an RP, as the fees and fines the NJDEP has established for not meeting mandatory timeframes in conjunction with the LSRP program are burdensome.

Our office is available Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST to answer your questions.  Toll Free 866-332-3388

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Tags: LSRP, LSRP Program, LSRP in New Jersey, LSRP in NJ, LSRP costs, LSRP Deadline

Why do I have Mold?

Posted by david sulock on Sep 30, 2017 9:36:24 AM

                                                   Why is mold so prevalent?

Mold is a four letter word and strikes an emotional cord in people when spoken and encountered. Health concerns are a major factor on people’s perspective of mold. Mold is ubiquitous in our environment and to have a mold free environment is practically impossible. That said, if you see growth (often described as discoloration), you have mold that is or was actively growing and spreading. In short there is an environment that is allowing the mold to grow, which is a preventable situation. Here are some of the environmental and situational causes of mold growth.

mold prevention5

 

Aging Housing Stock. (Deferred Maintenance)

As the homes in the United States get older, the repair and maintenance needs for these homes are on the rise. Older homes are in need of much more care. Gutters clog, caulk dries out, foundations settle and cracks appear, soil erodes away from foundations, dehumidifiers break and don’t get replaced, sump pumps die, exhaust fans break. Homes that have been missing general upkeep have been labeled deferred maintenance abodes.

When gutters are filled with debris water cannot flow from the roof and away from the dwelling perimeter. Water can pour over lengths of horizontal gutters placing water close to the structures foundations and allowing moisture to enter subterranean spaces.

Downspout

 

Caulk around windows dry out and holes appear. Rain events can allow water to enter through worn caulk and enter the building structure.

Over time, foundations can settle and cracks can form. Hydrostatic pressure is strong (ever get pushed down by a wave at the beach?). Water from rain events or melting snow can enter these cracks and crevices; again allowing moisture to enter the space.

All perimeter foundations should have what’s called in industry parlance as “positive drainage”. Meaning the exterior grade around a foundation should slope away from the foundation, thus diverting water from the foundation.

mold prevention4

 

Dehumidifiers can be called the devil’s machine, how many times are you going to trek down the basement and empty the dehumidifier? Until you simple stop doing it (leaving a full tank) and just simple turning off the unit. Dehumidifiers don’t have to break, they just have to stop capturing moisture and discharging it. Eighty percent (80%) of residential single family units that have mold below grade (basements and crawlspaces) had a dehumidifier present, but it was not operating.

Set dehumidifiers to 55 and plug a hose into the unit and drain it directly to a sump or sink. You do not need the unit set to 60 or 65 like the one in the photo

IMG_3323

 

Sump pumps are the workhorse of a high water table and wet basements. They are your last line of defense to keeping storm events out of your home. These electric pumps will eventually clog and burn out and some simply die from years of unappreciated faithful service.

Mold Prevention1

Sump sumps? Cover the crock, water evaporates and adds to over all moisture.

humidifier set up

.Exhaust fans are loud and who wants to exhaust anything anyway from a bathroom? These fans just make you cold and in an attic, it just makes a lot of noise. But these locations when fans operate, help control environmental conditions that can hinder mold growth.

Bathroom mold

All these seemingly minute items can allow a conducive environment for mold to grow. Truth be told most mold impacted areas did not get moldy over night, most have had a slow steady mold buildup for years and the older the home the more time mold has to grow. The environmental disaster event, where a dwelling is flooded, roof leaks, plumbing line breaks, do happen but they are the minority on average. Attics, crawl spaces, basements by nature of their unconditioned environment are hot beds for mold growth.

 

attic mold

 

Aging Population.

As long time homeowners get older, they age out of skill sets required for homeowner maintenance. As general mobility decrease so does the ability to climb a ladder or walk downstairs. Some people just throw in the towel knowing that the fight they had with mother nature was lost and water will get in and it eventually dries out so why bother?

First Time Homeowners.

Much has been said about younger generations, and not always in the most flattering light. There are no courses you get about home maintenance when you sign a mortgage, more people buy books about rearing kids than about how to take care of a home. Television is no help, the home improvement shows don’t show you how-to-do mundane tasks, they show you backyard retreats you can build, bathroom and kitchen makeovers. All sexy cool stuff, that doesn’t help with home maintenance when it comes to mold.

New Home Construction.

You would think a new home would be a problem free home, well - not for mold. Today’s tighter building envelopes trap moisture indoors allowing mold to grow. New homes tend to have wetter, less dense wood than older homes, primary because the wood comes from new growth forests making the wood young or immature. In short, the wood hasn’t had decades to dry out. In addition, this newer wood often is not kiln dried, which means it did go through a process to fully remove all the moisture, why, because it’s more expensive.

Tags: mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing

Heating Oil Tank Pitfalls

Posted by david sulock on Aug 21, 2017 9:01:00 AM

The pitfalls when dealing with a buried heating oil tank are many and blindside people all the time.  Curren receives phone calls daily regarding an oil tank a homeowner had removed, which they were told by the company who removed it that it had leaked and needed a subsequent remediation (cleanup,) and the company then provided a quote to remediate.   Many homeowners that call don’t believe that their tank leaked, or simply just want a second opinion or quote.  The problem with the vast majority of these calls is even though Curren Environmental has over 20 years of experience, we do not have x-ray vision, so we ask for a report from the tank removal company and the lab testing of the soil that is allegedly contaminated we are met with an awkward pause, followed by “I don’t have either”.  

How do you know that the soil is really contaminated?  The removal company just knows - is a common answer or we don’t really know we are just being told that we have a problem, is what the homeowner is saying.   The “my oil tank leak” incoming phone calls come from homeowners, banks, financial institutions, developers, estate, and so on…the list is long and the story is the same, they chose the wrong company to remove their oil tank.  Circling back to the tank removal company, many of these firms have names that begin with an A so they show up early in alphabetical listings.  We typically ask the firms name as we know many good firms and perhaps they just had a bad experience, the vast majority of times it is a company we never heard of or have heard problems about frequently. 

 oil tank leak.jpg

Research the firm, the ones that have only been in business a few years tend to be more unscrupulous (just look up when their domain name was initially registered, if it is less than 10 years, a red flag should be raised).   Tank removal companies know that most any tank can be removed for under $2,000.00.  Remediation of a tank leak can cost $10,000.00, so they are highly motivated to remediate and all they need is a pin oil of evidence in an oil tank to sell you on the tank leak problem and the need for remediation.  Add to the fact that the oil tank is being removed because of a real estate transaction and now you are under the stress of a timeframe.   Curren Environmental gets pulled into testing these removed tank areas (untested tank excavation, but owner was told how bad the leak was and remediation was a crucial necessity).  When we test, the majority of the time we find remediation is not warranted.

 tank removal.jpg

Could you see a problem occurring when you first hire a company to remove an oil tank, the answer is yes.  What are the tank removal pitfalls?

The tank removal company has a name that begins with an A. I know it sounds biased, but we have too many complaints from clients who hired such a firm we see a trend.

  • The tank removal contract does not include a report. Certificate of removal or a certification of removal is a made up document. Documents like Site Investigation Report, Remedial Action Report or Tank Closure Report are all documents that regulatory agencies acknowledge are real documents, meant to document an environmental activities.   A paper certificate obtained from an office supply store is not worth the paper it is printed on. 
  • The tank removal does not include soil samples or an explanation of what level of oil is acceptable. Hey, rust never sleeps, oil could leak, so having cost for testing is always a good idea.  I ask you, would you buy a house with an oil tank that was removed and did not have testing?
  • The post tank removal decision of determining if the oil tank leaked will be made by the construction inspection. Well the permit from any township for a tank removal is for TANK REMOVAL, it is not an environmental inspection.  Therefore, these companies will tell you if the inspector sees a pinhole in the tank you must remediate, this is not always true.  Pinholes in a tank do not mean you have to remediate, it means you had a really tiny hole and some oil has leaked from the tank.  Trust me when the local inspector sees a hole, they will demand that the leak be reported to the state, why, because the law is that you report known and suspected releases such as holes in tank.  Now your tank removal company will tell you to that the inspector says you have to remediate. 
  • The tank removal contract assumes the tank is not leaking. Tanks leak, not all of them but some do and you need to know about what if.   Not discussing the possibility of finding a tank leak is a unicorn and rainbow perspective of things, which is a glass half full perspective, BUT to be fair there should be an explanation of what will happen if a tank leak is found?  Will samples be obtained to assess the soil or will you get a quote to remediate within a few days of removal?

 pin holes in oil tank.jpg

All these are common complaints we see from clients who had their tank removed. There are many good companies doing good work but there are also many that prey on the one time client, that does not understand the repercussions of having a leaking oil tank.

Still have questions, call our office 856-858-9509 Monday to Friday, you are welcome to a free consultation. 

We mange tank issues in New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware.

What should an area look like after Mold Remediation?

Posted by david sulock on Feb 23, 2016 9:30:00 AM

If Mold Remediation was performed properly there are a few things you should be able to see, even with an untrained eye. 

  1. On a basic and an expected disclosure basis, the owner should be able to explain what the mold problem was, including the extent and cause.
  2. The area remediated should look clean or cleaner than it was before the remediation. While clean is tough to quantify, you would not expect a crawl space or a basement to have a sense of clean like a living room, generally it should be devoid of debris and heavy/dust/dirt.
  3. No mold should be visible. This is important, as the site of mold may have been the trigger for remediation.  Remember remediation = removal.
  4. The space should be dry. Simply put, moisture caused the mold growth, just remediating the mold without addressing the cause does not solve your problem. There  should be a working dehumidifier in basements and crawl spaces. Building repairs that allowed the initial water entry should be completed, such as leaking basement windows, or roof leaks.  On the outside -  roof leaders should be extended away from the house.   There should be a slope away from the foundation to carry water away (positive drainage). 
  5. Ceilings, wood framing, roof sheeting, any remaining organic surfaces within the space, should have been treated with a mold resistant coating.  The coating seals the wood to prevent moisture from getting a toehold, which is exactly how the mold was able to grow  in the first place.  The coating should also have a long acting fungicide to prevent future growth.  The better coatings have a 10 year warranty and are white in color so you know the area has been treated visually.  The clear coat products have lost favor, as it is difficult to ensure that application was even and thorough throughout the space.
  6. If the owner performed the remediation, an invoice should be obtained to ensure that the mold remediation was performed professionally and not DIY. 
  7. A warranty (typically on the mold resistant coating) should be obtainable and transferable to the new owner.  Warranties that are provided by the company PERFORMING the work are nearly worthless since these companies come and go with little in financial backing.  The companies that manufacture and sell the coating to mold remediators to utilize are multimillion dollar firms with the deep pockets to backup and support any future warranty claims.Click to edit your new post...

Mold Questions? Click Here

  1. Mold_Collage.jpg

Tags: mold

They removed my oil tank - but it leaked. What do I do now?

Posted by david sulock on Sep 18, 2015 1:51:16 PM

                                

 

Underground Oil Tank Removed                Leak in the Oil Tank

Underground Oil Tank (UST) removal is a once in a lifetime occurrence for the small group of people who have to undertake this project.  Of those individuals, 9 times out of ten even their friends probably have never had a tank removed.  Leaving just the few unlucky homeowners with a project that if evidence of an oil leak is found from the tank, it can quickly escalate the cost of the project.  Homeowners with no knowledge or experience in oil tank leaks or network of friends who have experience in this type of project are forced to rely on the integrity of the firm that removed the oil tank.  

Here at Curren, we constantly receive calls from homeowners who had an oil tank removed for a somewhat loss leader price of between $1,000 and $1,500. After the tank is removed the homeowner is told that the tank leaked and remediation is needed.  Usually a day or a week after tank removal, a proposal is presented for remediation, which typically is priced between $8,000and $15,000. The Homeowner contacts Curren to provide a competitive price to remediate as they were not expecting such an expense.  Being professionals we request the diagnostic or delineation laboratory testing from the tank area so we know (1) the concentration of oil in the ground is above 5100 ppm for EPH so remediation is required and (2) the extent of the oil leak (depth and length and width of the area) has been defined or delineated as is common industry parlance.  

What do we hear when we ask for hard empirical evidence, documentation that a homeowner should receive from the tank removal company?  

  1. No soil testing was done it was not in your contract.
  2. The company just knows because they have been doing this for a long time.
  3. It was a small leak as evidenced by the holes in the tank.
  4. My sniff meter (PID) says it is bad.

What all those responses really mean are “We didn’t want to waste your $120.00 to do a test and find out you really don’t have much of a problem.  We thought it was in our best interest, not yours to just tell it is bad and give you an expensive quote to remediate and in all honesty, we do not even know if you need remediation.  If we did test the soil and find out the levels are below 5100 ppm (which is a fair amount of oil) you probably would not need to remediate and we would not make as much money.

The field meter they use to tell you there is oil in the ground.  Well that is more for presence or absence of oil.  There is NO correlation as to what registers on the meter in the field and what the actual laboratory result would be. 

Well, being scientific we know that those three answers are based on no factual information, except perhaps that fact that a homeowner wants to know what the cost will be when they are told their tank leaked.  Uncertainty is not a desirable feeling regarding a problem that you often hear can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  $8,000 or $15,000 is better than $20,000 or $40,000 so often times, homeowners are upset but also relieved, as at least they know what they are facing.  Here is the shocker they do not.  If an oil tank leaks (or you are told your tank leaks) the only way to know how far the oil has spread is one of two ways as follows:

  1. Drilling through the middle of the excavation and obtain soil samples to determine at what depth the oil tank leak stopped migrating vertically. Repeating this step on each of the four sides of the removed tank excavation to determine how far the oil has spread to the north, south, east and west.  This is called delineation.  Look at it in perspective, god forbid you are diagnosed with cancer, you will not undergo treatment or surgery until testing is done to define the extent of the cancer right? 
  1. In science, there are equations to determine all sorts of things. To determine how far a liquid such as oil will flow through a given media (the soil) you simple need the following information:
    1. When the leak occurred (number of days or years).
    2. Rate of oil leak (per day amount is most helpful).
    3. Amount of oil that leaked.
    4. Amount of rain that occurred during the leak period.
    5. The porosity of the soils where the tank is located.

With these nuggets of information, you can model APPROXIMATELY the extent to which the oil has migrated.  In any event, unless you have the information in items A thru F, how can you model the leak range?  The answer is you cannot.  You can guess, but who wants to rely on a guess?   We know you want answers right away when you are told your tank leaks, but you have to look at things in perspective and realize that without proper evaluation you cannot be accurate.

Let us circle back to your original tank removal project.  Expensive but not too bad at $1,000 to $1,500 on average is an expense most people can begrudgingly swing, particularly if it allows them to sell their house.   We often times call low ball tank removing pricing a Loss Leader (think cheap price per pound for turkeys at Thanksgiving to get you in the store) or hooking, to get people to buy the service or get on the hook so that the bigger project/expense (remediation) can be obtained.  Take a look at the contract, does it include.

  1. Cost for soil samples?
  2. Why you would want to take soil samples if the tank is found to be leaking?
  3. What soil sample results mean in relation to NJDEP regulations.
  4. A report that is supplied after tank removal to document the work and certify whether it did or did not leak?

If you do not have any of these four items and I can tell you from experience, 90% of the consumer contracts Curren reviews do not. The homeowner who signs these contracts is potentially being led down a slippery, costly slope. We often times see the next step after the owner gets their tank removed is an expensive contract to remediate, that is based on zero scientific data.  The most alarming of all this, is that on sites where Curren is brought in to investigate a reported tank leak, 80% of the time and let me say that again 80% of the time, the tank area DOES NOT REQUIRE remediation.  I stress this as a professional organization we acquire and review data, interpret the information and provide opinions based on our review of the factual information.  In full disclosure Curren, removes oil tanks, tests tank areas and performs remediations.  Of these three services, remediation is always the most expensive, so although we are happy to remove oil tanks and test tank areas, we are equally willing to remediate oil tank leaks IF IT IS WARRANTED, if there is a driver, meaning oil in the ground above permissible limits.  The NJDEP allows a certain amount of oil in the ground, did the tank removal tell you that, in writing,   verbally, probably not.

The point here is that oil tank removal and remediation of oil tank leaks (when warranted) are projects where homeowners must go into with eyes wide open.  From our experience, there is a large pool of firms that do not properly manage the exceptions of homeowners and rush these homeowners into costly remediations that are not warranted.  Yes, we know often times you are removing a tank due to a pending real estate transaction, and everything is time sensitive, but that is not an excuse to make a bad decision.

No matter where you are in the tank removal project (pre removal, post removal, possibly remediation, if you want facts, solid professional advice call Curren at 888-301-1050 or email at [email protected] What you have just read is what we tell homeowners repeatedly, as they feel like the firm they are talking to or have contracted with is not working in their best interest.

 

Tags: oil tank removal nj

How do you certify that a removed tank did not leak?

Posted by david sulock on Jun 25, 2015 7:44:00 AM


Certify oil tank removalINTRODUCTION:  The Construction Inspection

Obtaining a municipal permit and associated inspection for tank removal is mandated by law.   Many people wrongly presume that this permit and inspection will certify that the tank did not leak.  This is not true; the local permit is for the physical act of removing a tank.  The local inspector, typically the construction or fire sub code inspector, inspects that the permit details were satisfied which is that a tank was removed. The physical act of removal (demolition) is a construction inspection.  Discharges, spills, releases and leaks to the environment fall under the Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP in New Jersey, DNREC in Delaware and PADEP in Pennsylvania).   Environmental codes and construction codes are entirely DIFFERENT by definition.  When a tank removal receives a local approval for a tank removal, it is approving that the permit to remove a tank was completed, tank removed and excavation backfilled.   It has nothing to do with certifying that the tank did not leak.  So if you had a tank removed and your only documentation is an approval sticker from the municipal inspector you STILL need the other half (more important) of the equation which is testing that the tank did not leak.



The Environmental Site Assessment

If you want to properly document that a tank did not leak, you need to follow regulatory agency technical guidance and regulations.

 As per NJDEP Technical Guidance for Investigation of Underground Storage Tank Systems, dated July 31, 2012.  The following is directly from NJDEP regulations:

Many underground storage tanks (USTs) are managed by the Underground Storage Tank regulations N.J.A.C. 7:14B. This regulation does specifically exempt certain “unregulated” USTs from the regulation. However, these exempted USTs are still required to comply with other Department regulations including but not limited to the “Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites” (ARRCs) [N.J.A.C. 7:26C], and the “Technical Requirements for Site Remediation”, [N.J.A.C. 7:26E]. This document may be applied to all USTs when guidance is needed beyond that provided in the above regulations.

 As per NJDEP’s ASSESSMENT of UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS (USTs)

An underground storage tank (UST) system is an Area of Concern (AOC). When an UST is suspected of a release, when it is to be closed, removed, or when it is to be temporarily taken out of service pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26E and/or N.J.A.C. 7:14B, an investigation may be required. To conduct the appropriate site investigation (SI) activities, an assessment of the UST system is needed.

For tanks containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including but not limited to No. 2 fuel oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel or waste oil, field screen soil from bottom and sidewalls of the excavation as the soil is excavated. The objective of this approach is to bias sampling locations to the areas of highest contamination. If no elevated field screening readings or visual staining is noted, select the sample locations based on professional judgment.

5.2.1.1 For USTs that are removed and no ground water is encountered in the excavation, soil samples should be collected as follows:

Collect one sample from the centerline of the tank footprint for each five feet of tank length or fraction thereof. Distribute sample locations equally along the centerline of the tank footprint, and collect samples in the zone that is from zero to six inches below the bottom of the tank invert. If bedrock is encountered, collect the samples zero to six inches above the bedrock or refer to section 5.1.7 if insufficient soil is present to collect a sample. Samples should be biased to locations of elevated field screening readings and/or visual staining. For tanks that are 5 feet or less in length, one sample collected along the centerline equidistant from each end of the tank is recommended when no elevated field screening reading and/or no visual staining is noted.

Summary: Certifying Removed Tanks

For the certification of removed tanks, i.e., confirmation that the tank did not leak the company or individual providing certification must follow what these four paragraphs summarize. The NJDEP’s Technical Guidance for Investigation of Underground Storage Tank Systems, dated July 31, 2012, are the foundation for investigating a tank removal for contamination and documenting that the tank did not leak.  In short, the NJDEP requires that the tank excavation (once tank is removed) be thoroughly evaluated for a release and soil sampling be performed from the area.  These samples are independently analyzed by NJDEP certified laboratories.  The results of the analysis are then compared to applicable soil standards.

If you do not obtain and analyze soil samples from a tank removal, you are not following NJDEP guidance, so technically your case has not foundation.  Therefore, any certification provided on a tank removal without soil samples is at the discretion of the private company performing this work, a very shaky foundation indeed.  While companies can go out of business, regulatory agencies such as the NJDEP do not.  So when your certification from ABC Tank Company (true company and no longer in business) is questioned (by an attorney or an environmental professional) that the company did not follow NJDEP Technical Guidelines, you will be left holding the proverbial bag.

Obtaining soil samples at time of tank removal allows the environmental company to follow NJDEP protocol and to compare the soil sample results to applicable soil standards.  It is that simple and it provides closure to the question that the tank did not leak.  Remember, the laboratory analysis of the soil samples is completed by an independent (third party) licensed laboratory.  While companies and individuals can be licensed to remove tanks, they do not analyze soil samples so you can be sure you are receiving unbiased data.

 

Still have questions?  
 
Call Curren Environmental at 888-301-1050
Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

 

 



 

What do my mold test results mean?

Posted by david sulock on Feb 26, 2015 8:53:00 AM

What do my mold test results mean?

A Mold Survey involves mold sampling for the presence or type of mold. Mold sampling is completed in two ways, mold surface sampling and mold air sampling. Mold surface sampling is completed on a surface that is suspected to contain a mold like substance, this type of sampling can be completed by performing acquiring a mold tape lift sample or a mold swab sample. Both methods involve acquiring a sample of the mold like substance and having the sample analyzed by a laboratory. Your results should determine the type and quantity of mold. The interpretation of sample results pertaining to mold concentration has to be evaluated objectively, when mold is found by the analysis as you are sampling an area that has a mold like substance, which can typically represent the suspected highest concentration (worst area), otherwise why would you sample that particular area. The other type of mold sampling is mold air sampling. Mold air sampling is accomplished by running air through a laboratory containing that captures microscopic airborne particle (fungi). The sample container is then analyzed by a laboratory for mold type and mold quantity. The analysis can be studied for both viable molds, meaning the sample is studied to see if the mold spores grow or by non-viable meaning, it what is the overall type and quantity of mold found. Mold non-viable air sampling is more common as it has been established that mold spores alive or dead can be an irritant.

Learn the Facts about Mold

Once you have the laboratory analysis completed, you now have to discuss the results and what they mean. Unlike soil and groundwater samples that all states have specific government established standards, with mold there are No Federal or State Agency established concentration standards (Maximum Exposure Limits- MEL) or threshold level values for airborne indoor mold or for surface sample analysis of mold. Therefore, if you suspect there is a mold problem and have air testing or surface sampling performed, there is no regulatory standard to compare your results against. Without government standards, there is no common industry standards standard. The reason that there are no standards is that setting exposure limits or MELs would be difficult for a variety of technical reasons, which include limitations in both mold surface sampling and mold air sampling techniques, individual variability in sensitivity to microbial exposure among the human population, occurrence of different types of biological and chemical pollutants in indoor environment and limited data on the exposure-response relationship in humans. In essence, it is difficult to say who will be affected by mold spores and at what concentrations it would take to affect different people.
mold testing
Due to the lack of set government standards, the environmental consulting industry follows general principals when evaluating mold test results. On a basic level when evaluating mold air sampling data, the mold levels should be higher outside than inside. The idea behind this approach is that there are always more molds outside in the soil, mulch, plants, decomposition of organic matter, ect. outside. Aside from an indoor and outdoor comparative evaluation, you evaluate the test results for specific types of mold. This evaluation includes looking for common outdoor molds as well as molds that are more commonly found on moist building materials. Evaluation of these molds goes a step deeper by looking for so-called opportunistic molds (marker fungi), which are frequently found on long-term water damaged building materials. The presence of these molds can point to a long-term moisture issue. These opportunistic fungi include Aspergillus and Penicillium species, Acremonium spp., Sporobolomyces spp., Stachybotrys, chartarum, Memnoniella echinata, Tritirachium oryzae, Ulocladium botrytis, U. chartarum, Cladosporium spp., and Chaetomium spp. These are molds that are not typically recovered in the outside air, so when they are found outside, they are in generally low levels. Conversely when they are found indoors these molds typically point to an indoor water issue. The higher the indoor concentration of these fungi the more likely a long term water issue is present.

In summary mold testing and the interpretation of the analytical results involves the evaluation of individual types of mold you find and determining why they are present.

Finding the type of mold, while interesting it does not explain why it is present. Therefore, every mold survey and mold inspection should not just confirm the presence of mold but also why the mold present is, what created the environment for the mold to grow. The backend of mold testing and mold sampling project include an inspection for the physical presence of mold as well as for water damage.

More common mold questions and answerts can be found at: /Mold-Frequently-Asked-Questions

Tags: mold remediation, mold cleanup, Mold Testing

Buying a house with an underground oil tank (UST) an as is purchase.

Posted by david sulock on Apr 1, 2014 2:21:00 PM

“As Is” Real Estate with an Oil Tank.

 

As the term implies “As Is” real estate means that you are purchasing the property in the current condition the property is in.    When purchasing As Is real estate, the seller is not expected to undertake any repairs or improvements.   To enter into a as is real estate purchase the buyer must complete their due diligence and evaluate the property for defects and repairs, the cost of which needs to be accounted for in the purchase price.  Many properties that are listed for sale as is may already have a reduced market price or at least that maybe the perception of the seller.  The price reduction on the asking price typically accounts for the condition of the real estate (structure, HVAC, roof, ect).  The problem with As Is real estate is that any price reductions rarely if ever account for environmental costs.

Typically due diligence of a property involves two primary areas, one being property condition assessment (on residential sites this is accomplished by a Home Inspection) and environmental assessment (on commercial sites this is completed by performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment -ESA).   For residential sites, an environmental assessment can consist of inspection and testing for past and present Underground Storage Tanks (USTs), mold inspections & testing, asbestos surveys, radon testing, and well water testing.

Of all these issues, heating oil underground storage tanks create the largest financial environmental liability.  Unlike a home inspection which can range between $400.00 and $1,000.00.  The cost to determine if a tank is leaking AND when a tank is found to be leaking to determine to what extent the oil has leaked (delineation) can cost in the thousands of dollars.  The investigation to evaluate the extent of leaking oil tanks can be compared to a doctor performing diagnostic tests such as x-rays, cat scans, blood work to diagnosis a patents ailments.  In both situations a problem exists (health or environmental), which simple cannot be determined by a simple physical evaluation but testing must be performed to define the issue.  These testing costs are typically a major hurdle to a buyer.Leaking oil tank

 

Regulations in New Jersey place the responsibility of the remediation of a leaking oil tank on the property owner.   Most buyers mistakenly believe that if they find a tank leaking on a property they are purchasing they are responsible for the cleanup.

Residential UST Leak

 

Curren’s experience in successful As Is real estate transactions with heating oil Underground Storage Tanks (USTs), is that once a tank is found to be leaking, the cleanup is eventually performed by the seller or a substantial discount is given to the buyer that is in excess of the cost of remediation. This premium reduction is meant to address the management of the remediating the problem as well as the financing of paying for the problem. To actually get to this point in a real estate transaction, thousands of dollars in investigative borings and laboratory analysis is incurred so that the cost of cleanup can be developed.  Without this investigative step, the two parties cannot determine the extent of the contamination (diagnosis the problem), hence the problem with As Is real estate, it is costly to determine the future environmental cleanup expense.    Obviously, the As Is real estate sale is to the benefit of the seller as they avoid the management and cost of making repairs to a site.  Whereas a Home Inspection report can be used to obtain estimates from various construction trades (these estimates are usually provided at no cost and only require the contractor to visit the site), environmental cleanup to be scientifically accurate must be based on soil sampling that define the vertical and horizontal extent of the contamination.  This delineation provides a 3D model of the length, height and width of the area requiring remediation.     Unfortunately, environmental professions cannot simple visit a site to determine remediation cost, as the contamination is buried below ground and invisible to the naked eye.   Remediation costs can range from several thousand dollars or can be in excess of $100,000.00.   What is the difference in the expense?  Location of the discharge, the extent of the plume, duration of leak, geology, ect.  Simple put bigger areas of contamination are more costly to remediate than smaller areas. Oil tank leak 

The real estate landscape is littered with lawsuits on property transfers where tanks were not previously disclosed.  The new owner finds the tank, discovers contamination and is now saddled with the financial responsibility of the cleanup.  Lawsuits typically name prior property owners, insurance companies and parties involved in the real estate transaction.   These suits attempt to uncover if the prior owner knew of the tank and concealed or failed to disclose the existence of the tank.  Other instances are more complex where the prior owner had also bought the property without knowledge of the tank.

At Curren Environmental, we consult on environmental issues pertaining to real estate.

Extention to LSRP May 2014 Deadline Signed by Governor

Posted by david sulock on Jan 28, 2014 3:44:00 PM

Governor Christie has signed legislation allowing for a two year extension to the statutory requirement in the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) for the person responsible for conducting the remediation of certain sites to complete the remedial investigation by May 7, 2014.  In order to qualify for this extension, the person responsible for conducting the remediation must submit to the Department by March 7, 2014 a certification acknowledging that the following criteria have been met at the time of the certification:

(1) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has retained a licensed site remediation professional to conduct the remediation of the site; (2) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has met the remediation requirements included in all applicable mandatory remediation timeframes; (3) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has made technically complete submissions in compliance with all regulations for site remediation, as applicable, for the (a) initial receptor evaluation, (b) immediate environmental concern source control report, (c) light non-aqueous phase liquid interim remedial measure report, (d) preliminary assessment report, and (e) site investigation report; (4) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has established a remediation funding source if required by the Brownfield Act (see N.J.A.C. 58:10B-3); (5) if a remediation funding source is not required to be established, then the person responsible for conducting the remediation must establish a remediation trust fund for the estimated cost of the remedial investigation of the entire site; (6) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has paid to the Department all oversight costs known at the time of the certification and for which the person responsible for conducting the remediation has not filed a dispute with the Department; and (7) the person responsible for conducting the remediation has paid to the Department all annual remediation fees and remediation funding source surcharges, as applicable.

The Department strongly recommends that action be initiated promptly to establish a remediation trust fund, if needed, due to the timing to secure this financial instrument and the statutory requirement to submit the extension request by March 7, 2014.

There are also provisions for receiving an extension to the May 7, 2014 deadline if remediation is delayed due to obtaining state funding.

Tags: LSRP, NJDEP LSRP, LSRP Program, New Jersey LSRP, NJ LSRP Program, Finding an LSRP, LSRP in New Jersey, LSRP in NJ, LSRP costs, NJDEP LSRP Program, LSRP Deadline

When Would I Want a Tank Scan?

Posted by david sulock on Jun 20, 2013 9:29:00 AM

If you are buying a home, you will want to know for certain if there is or has been a tank buried on the property, and if it has leaked into the ground.  Many current owners often do not have knowledge if there is a tank or not, if they did not have a tank survey when they bought the house.  Often a visual inspection of the property is not sufficient to determine the presence of a tank.  It may yield clues, but a GPR survey will give you a definitive evaluation.

 The GPR is a sophisticated piece of equipment that sends a radar signal into the ground and will tell you where an underground tank is located.  A metal detector cannot always find the tank and is not as reliable as the GPR.  Additionally, the GPR can tell you where a former underground tank was located so the soil can be tested for past leaks.

Because the costs associated with removing the tank and any related cleanup are the responsibility of the current owner of the property, have the GPR scan before you purchase the home.  Otherwise, you run the risk of buying the property and moving in, only to discover at a later date you have an underground tank.  At that point, the removal is your responsibility and may end up costing you thousands of dollars.