Curren Environmental Blog

How long does an Oil Tank Last?

Posted by David C Sulock on Mar 6, 2018 4:01:00 AM

What is the life expectancy of an oil tank?

How long does an oil tank last?  When do you replace an oil tank.  These are popular oil tank questions.  All things have a finite life expectancy. Both aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) and underground storage tanks (USTs) have a usable life. The problem is your tank can fail (holes appear) and you may never notice.  An industry average for the life span of an oil tank is 20 years, some tanks last longer and some shorter.  This time frame is greatly dependent on the type of oil tank, construction of the tank (meaning thicker walled tanks generally can last longer). environment the tank is in (indoor - outdoor),  and the contents of the tank.  Harsher environments tend to shorten the lifespan of pretty much anything, including steel tanks. 

 
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When I ask people how long they think a tank is supposed to last I typically get silence or "I don’t know".   Then, I tell them thank you for not saying "Tanks last FOREVER".   A simple rule of replacement is if the roof has been replaced, so should the tank.    This is for all the people who are using a tank TODAY and if your house was built between 1950 and 1995, your tank is beyond any reasonable expectation of usable life and should be replaced.  No there is not a likely possibility that the original tank from the day your house was constructed has been replaced.  The saying 'if it isn’t broken don’t fix it' is unfortunately followed when it comes to oil tanks.   Simply put, if people replaced tanks within a reasonable amount of time, you wouldn’t have tank leaks and expensive environmental cleanups.

How do oil tanks leak?  Many oil tanks rust through from the inside out.  This most often occurs when the oil is not present, meaning upper portion of the tank where the tank is empty and the oil is not present to lubricate the steel.  Tanks can also leak due to the use of low sulfur fuel.  Heating oil tanks that have low sulfur fuel and water can allow microbial growth to occur.  Secretions from these microbes can produce acids that can corrode a steel tank.

Click Here to Learn about Testing Oil Tanks for Leaks

Aside from corrosion inside the tank, an oil tank can deteriorate from the outside due to environmental conditions.   Rust never sleeps and for corrosion to occur you need metal, oxygen and moisture.   How fast a given metal rusts is based on the environment the metal is exposed too. 

 

Holes in Underground Oil Tank

 

Aboveground oil tanks may look fine from a cursory exterior view but in fact, could heavy corroded on the inside and be ready to fail. 

Underground oil tanks are thicker than comparable aboveground tanks due to a more corrosive environment.  In short, an indoor rated AST is thinner than an outdoor rated AST, which is thinner than a buried UST.  Curren has found that there is a wide variation in indoor aboveground and outdoor aboveground oil tank life spans due to the considerable variation in both the quality and thickness of steel (older tanks seem to have been a heavier gauge steel), which helps prolong the life of the tank.

 

Tank Questions? Click Here

We have seen indoor oil tanks in good condition that are 60 years old or older, and we have found failures in newer oil storage tanks that may have been made of thinner or cheaper steel and that did not last as long as the original ones.  The tanks made immediately following WWII are of higher quality, saying things are not made as good as they used to be is a very true statement when it comes to oil tanks.

Rather than guess a tanks oil tank condition, we suggest that if your home has an older aboveground oil storage tank, twenty years old or older, you should replace the tank.  Keep in mind many brand new oil tanks have a 1 year warranty.

What Can Cause an Oil Tank To Leak?

  • Exposure of the oil storage tank to wide temperature swings, especially in cold and humid climates can increase in-tank condensation leading to corrosion
  • Exposure of the tank fill or vent pipes to rain, especially to roof runoff for tanks mounted under the eaves of a home and especially if the oil fill cap is not securely tightened after filling with oil.  
  • External oil tank rust due to exposure to the weather. Many small tanks, 275 to 300 gallon tanks were used for unintended uses.  Meaning many of these size tanks, were never rated for outdoor use, but have been used for outdoor use and some even buried.   You can tell what use a tank is rated for by reading the UL label that is affixed to the top of the tank.  Manufacturers of newer oil storage tanks in this size range often have removed this "indoor use only" wording from the UL label.
  • Improper oil tank installation  of improper oil tank type.  Meaning the tank was not designed for the current use.  We have found indoor oil tanks that were moved outside and placed onto the underground in the soil surface below a deck, and then partially to half buried. What is this tank, an underground tank or an aboveground tank?  (The government definition of a UST is one where 10% or more of the tank is buried below ground.) These tanks were not rated for outdoor use at all and are at extra risk of leakage due to placement of the tank body directly in contact with the soil.
  • Improper oil storage tank supports, such as failure to keep the outdoor tank off of the ground, to install it at the proper pitch and direction of pitch, and to install it on level surface, unsecured legs of the tank can lead to the tank tipping over, ripping open an oil line, and obvious discharge of oil from the tank.   This is more common with out-of-service tanks.

Want information on tank removal? Clock here Oil Tank Removal

Tags: oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal nj, tank removal grants, tank leak, OIl Tank Sweeps, oil tank

Green Lawn Tips

Posted by David C Sulock on Mar 3, 2018 9:01:00 AM

Green Lawn Tips

Americans spend over $6.4 Billion a year on lawn care, according to the Professional Lawn Care Association of America. Why not get started in the spring to ensure a beautiful green and healthy lawn.

Start out by checking the soil pH levels. Winter can alter the soil pH and create conditions that are friendly to weeds and disease. The soils pH should read between 6.5 and 7.0 which are slightly acidic. You can test your soils pH by purchasing a pH tester. After the soil has been checked, invest in a rental aerator. In high traffic areas grass becomes compacted. The aerator will draw wine cork-sized plugs out of the lawn surface giving roots the room to spread and allow for air, nutrients and moisture to penetrate the soil.

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Pro Tip

The soil cores should not be raked always, as they contain bacteria and nutrients that will return to the soil.

In the early spring, apply a pre-emergent weed control to prevent crabgrass in early spring.

Pro Tip

½ the dosage of preemergent and reapply in 3 weeks to increase the treatment duration. Try to get your immediate neighbors to do the same so you encompass a larger spread of weed control. If your neighbor does not apply preemergent, weeds can grow and move to your yard.

During late spring fix any patchy places and apply your seed. When seeding in the spring it is pertinent that you provide consistent watering to allow the seed to germinate

Pro Tip

Water twice a day for 7 to 10 days to allow the seed to germinate.

When watering, make sure one inch of water to 12 inches of soil is preferred ratio for watering actively growing grass. You most likely will have to seed again in the fall months.

With the spring upon us, it is very important to prepare your lawn for the warmer, sunnier months ahead. Having a nice, thick green lawn helps with excess rain, capturing the moisture so it does not end up in your house to produce mold.

What are Mosquitoes Up To Now?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Feb 21, 2018 8:58:00 AM

What do Mosquitoes do in the winter time? Mosquitoes are cold blooded creatures and do not generally bite in temperatures below 50F. Most male mosquitoes cannot survive the Northern winter months. Females on the other hand actually gain some size and can make it through the cold weather. Before the cold weather the females lay all their eggs. The eggs will winterize and can sustain through the winter. The eggs hibernate as embryos.

What is the life cycle of the Mosquito?blood sucking mosquito.jpg

  • Lay the eggs (in water)
  • Eggs become larvae (in water)
  • Larvae become Pupae
  • Pupae become adult mosquitoes

For more detailed information on the mosquito life cycle click here.

Mosquitoes don’t exactly bite humans, they feed on them. The female needs the protein to produce her eggs. Mosquitoes can spread disease; the diseases are often viruses that are picked up by the mosquito when it feeds on an infected host. When that mosquito then feeds on another host, it can spread that virus and so on. Moving from person to person until the eggs are laid.

Spring is in the air…warm weather and rainy days are ahead. Seasonal Mosquito Remediation packages are available through Curren Environmental.

Call Curren now at:

856-858-7172

or fill out the form and Curren Environmental will respond to you as soon as possible

Tags: mosquito, Mosquito Remedation

What is Mold and why is it not black or toxic Mold.

Posted by David C Sulock on Feb 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM


What is mold and is mold dangerous?   Two common questions regarding mold.  First let’s start with "What is mold?". Mold is ubiquitous in our environment.  There are few places on earth, where molds are not present.  That said, mold (which is also called fungi) is a broad-spectrum term to describe fungi, mushrooms, rusts, mildew, and yeast. As humans, we simply complex things by using the term “mold”. Any mold is a eukaryotic organism, meaning one that has a defined nucleus.  Molds lack flagella and reproduce by means of spores. Spores are released from the mature mold body and spread by air currents on people, animals, and/or materials that travel from place to place. These spores can remain viable for extended periods of time, which, in short, is as long as it takes for a suitable environment to occur which allows the mold to form new colonies.

What is Black Mold? What is toxic Mold.

The next two most common questions. First, black mold is not a mold it is a color, the term was made up by the media. There is no mold that has the scientific name as black mold. The same goes for toxic mold, we think the name toxic mold came from the mold industry to scare people. Again no mold has the scientific name toxic mold.

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Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae that spread to form a network or colony called mycelium. When you see visible mold (spotting, staining, discoloration) you are observing a colony of mold. Most all fungi require oxygen to survive and all fungi need an organic food source.   Unlike humans, molds do not ingest their food but rather absorb nutrients by attacking dead organic matter or parasitizing living organisms. In an outdoor environment you can think of molds as nature’s composers as many molds live in the soil and are active in the decomposition of organic matter.

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Molds are not strictly confined to the outside, although that is their primary habitat.  Molds can grow indoors in a built environment (built being man made structure).  Molds can grow anywhere if the following four primary conditions are satisfied:

  1. Mold spores must first be present in the area.
  2. Food source such as wood, drywall, the paper part of insulation, skin cell fragments, cardboard, carpet, paper, etc.
  3. Appropriate temperature – this is a variable as molds can grow dormant when the temperature is out of range for required growth and then when the temperature is within range mold will grow.  (Think grass growing in summer and growing dormant in winter)
  4. Water or Moisture – if mold was a building, water/moisture would be the foundation, without it, you will not have molds growing and it is the one of the four conditions that can be controlled. Bottom line, if you have mold you have a moisture issue. 
  5. Moisture sources in a built environment are most commonly brought on from water and/or sewer leaks, moisture intrusion (rain) through walls and foundations.  In practice, moisture issues that fuel mold growth are associated with humidity or as condensation in HVAC systems. In terms of relative humidity, causing mold growth, is more of an intermittent issue that can occur at certain times of the year.   Damp, wet times of the year being more likely as opposed to winter when temperature may remove humidity.

    Both national and international health agencies agree that molds can cause health issues to varying degrees.   To the extent anyone is affected by molds relate to the types of molds, concentration, exposure duration and genetic factors of the individual.   There is no perfect fit that would say a certain person would be affected and this person would not.
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Mold affects humans through the inhalation of spores, which is how mold reproduces, so you should realize that when you see mold, spores are present and you could be at risk.  Molds also produce mycotoxins which are chemicals that are created during certain parts of the mold life cycle.  Mycotoxins having the word “toxic” in the name underlines them as a concern.  Mycotoxins can evoke a toxic response, for example, allergic reactions, respiratory irritation, the exacerbation of asthma symptoms as well as other respiratory reactions to an irritant.  Mycotoxins have this affect because they have very low volatility, meaning they have relatively low concentrations in the air, so contact or ingestion rather than inhalation is often the main route of exposure for these chemicals.
Since molds digest matter, they will naturally off gas.  The off gassing of mold often referred to as the musty odor is scientifically called MVOCs or microbial volatile organic compounds.  Their olfactory presence signifies actively growing mold. Fortunately for humans MVOC's have a very low odor threshold, thus, making them easily detectable by smell. Exposure to fungal MVOC's has been blamed for headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.   So, while someone may refer to an odor as musty it signifies the presence of mold and compounds that are airborne that can have detrimental health effects in humans.
Chronic exposure to large airborne concentrations of fungal spores can induce allergy or hypersensitivity in certain individuals. In some cases, chronic exposure to fungal spores can result in a flu-like debilitating disease known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Mold is confusing and the many unlicensed firms that perform mold work dont help to demystify mold.  At Curren will off a free initial consultation.  Call our office Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm EST and speak to one of our professionals.  888-301-1050.

Tags: mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup

                       Environmental Due Diligence

Posted by David C Sulock on Jan 22, 2018 2:40:50 PM

 

If you are purchasing a commercial property, you will be advised to perform reasonable due diligence prior to acquisition.  The standard is performing an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).     A Phase I incorporates research of a site for the determination of past (historical) or current Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) that could affect the value of the property.  Banks typically will require a Phase I for high-risk sites or when loan amounts reach a certain threshold.  Banks typically have buyers pay for a Phase I to protect the bank, as the bank does not want to have a mortgagee be burdened with undue environmental remediation expenses that could in turn affect their ability to pay the mortgage.
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 Any purchaser of commercial real estate is performing Phase I due diligence to protect their interest, not is once again not typically fulfilling a requirement of the law.  Due diligence is a prudent practice to follow for any commercial purchaser.   Many buyers contact our office with little to no real knowledge of what a Phase I is and are being directed to perform one by their attorney or realtor.  Many people view a Phase I as getting their hand stamped and the quicker the better so the transaction can go to settlement.  The due diligence aspect is many times an afterthought.

We are going to cover the different scenarios when a Phase I is completed and when a Phase II or III is triggered and why that is a good thing.

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The best possible outcome for all parties after completing a Phase I, in the eyes of a buyer or seller is that the Phase I finds no issues with the site and accordingly there are no recommendations that any additional work is required such as a Phase II or Phase III.   This is not as common an outcome as many people think or expect.  Sellers do not want you to complete a Phase I as it delays the settlement and opens up the possibility that the Phase I may find an issue.   Buyers do not want a Phase I performed for the same reasons, citing the time it took to find the perfect site at the right price as well as monies already spent to date.  The Phase I is viewed as a necessary evil and one that at best could cost money and delay the sale from 2 to 6 weeks and at worst strike a crushing blow to the sale when a problem is uncovered that the owner was unaware of and unable or unwilling to address.

The odds that the Phase I will come back clean, meaning no RECs are found, is based on numerous factors including the date of site development and historical usage of the site.  We have found that some of the most innocuous appearing sites (upholstery and insurance office), have been found to have potential environmental concerns from PRIOR usage.

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A common Phase I situation is a client that is not required to perform a Phase I by the bank either because the loan amount is not triggering it or they are paying cash or there is a 1031 exchange.  These are rush hand stamped Phase I’s as there are already planned deadlines and the Phase I request is coming from the buyers attorney.  The rush part of the Phase I need is not based on anything pertinent relative to environmental conditions, but rather business or financial needs.   This is where hand stamping is most common.   Timing is relative and the sooner a decision is made on performing the Phase I the faster it will be completed.  In a perfect world a Phase I would be initiated by the seller prior to listing the property for sale.  In practice, it is one of the last things a buyer completes.

Time necessary to complete a Phase I varies.  Most Phase I’s are completed within three weeks, some can take as long as 6 to 8 weeks.  The difference in timing is based on the presence of records at the State and local levels.  The presence of files for a site at an environmental agency is typically unknown until a Phase I is initiated and the agencies are contacted regarding any files.  If files are found, the review of reasonably ascertainable files is required.  There could be a multiple week wait to get access to these files as they may be in storage or the first available date the State gives is 4 weeks away.   The time to access environmental files at a State level is the under looked aspect of a Phase I.  The determination that no files exist allows the Phase I process to be expedited.  The presence of environmentally-associated records indicates that investigation/remediation work may have been initiated or completed.  Records must be reviewed by a person with the experience and knowledge of applicable regulations to confirm that investigations/remediation has been completed in accordance with the local, State and Federal regulations.  A recent Phase I had pertinent files that were at the State.  Based on ability to accumulate the records and schedule the first available review date, it took five weeks to just perform a cursory review.  The review found that the site was formerly a gas station and had gas tanks removed and properly closed though the State.  What the file review did not indicate was the presence of other tanks on the site that appeared to have been either removed or left in place.  The unknown tanks consisted of a heating oil, waste oil and kerosene tank.   This triggered the need for a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of the site to search for the possible missing tanks.  In this case, the buyer was sure that all the tanks were removed and signed off by the State, unfortunately that was not the case.  In this case, the buyer did not buy the site and the owner had more work to complete including the removal of the tanks.

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When you start a Phase I, anticipate that a Phase II may be the necessary.  A Phase II is testing or further invasive evaluation of a suspected environmental concern.   Another Phase I performed found the need to complete soil borings on the site in areas where the operations of the site may have allowed historical seepage of oils and chemicals into the soil.  The Phase II did indeed find contamination in all the borings completed.   At this point the purchaser was into the property for over 20K, which including attorney’s fees, zoning applications, engineering and environmental.  The next step after finding an area of contamination is to determine the extent of contamination and the associated costs for remediation.  This added weeks upon weeks to the financial deal which could lead to the potential purchaser to look for another property weighed against the monies spent to date.  Most contracts allow the buyer or seller to back out of the transaction if repair expenses exceed a dollar amount or a time limit.   Usually at this point the buyer, thinking they were buying a clean site, is upset about monies thrown down the drain and when the end will occur.   Rarely does the purchaser weigh the fact that the Phase I did exactly what it was designed to do which is evaluate for potential environmental issues that could devalue the site.   Slightly less than $100,000.00, later and almost 7 months from the start of the Phase I was the property cleaned up.  The buyer dodged a remediation expense that surely would have been in their lap if the property was bought without a Phase I as the party they sell too would most likely not be as foolish to purchase without performing Due Diligence.

The photo below is a drum storage area, the floor below the wood was heavily stained.  It was flagged in the Phase I as an AOC and testing was recommended and the testing found contamination.

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Phase I cost sharing.  Due to the unexpected outcome of any Phase I’s in some instances the expense of the Phase I is shared between buyers and sellers.  The advantage for both parties it not just financial (50/50 split), but ownership of the report.  If the transaction falls apart for reasons other than environmental finds issues, the owner has possession of the report and can share same with the next prospective purchaser.

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Phase II cost sharing is more complicated.  The Phase II by definition involves physical examinations and in many cases testing.  Phases II expenses can dwarf the cost of a Phase II and due to the potential of finding an issue, many sellers would prefer the testing not be performed.  This is particularly common when the issues being investigated relate to potential conditions that predate the current owner.  This is a very common situation if the current owner purchased the site in the last 20 years and did not perform a Phase I.  Cost sharing is again valuable as the owner has rights to the report and data generated by the Phase II.   In most cases if the Phase II finds an issue that must be addressed or remediated (Phase III) the phase II has to be shared with the owner to document the findings.   Phase I cost sharing is far more common than in Phase II situation.

Tags: Phase I, Due Diligence, Phase II

Oil Tank Insurance

Posted by David C Sulock on Jan 16, 2018 10:46:11 AM

A bill has been proposed in the New Jersey assembly that will require all homeowner carriers to offer coverage to remove residential USTs (Underground Storage Tanks) and to cover remediation. Assembly bill, No. A437 would require the insurer to get written confirmation from the insured that they are declining the coverage.

What this would mean for homeowner's is that coverage could be obtained for tank removals and remediation.

Heating OIi tank removal - NJ

The bill as proposed is as follows:

A437 SCHAER, BRAMNICK 2

AN ACT concerning homeowners insurance coverage and 1

supplementing Title 17 of the Revised Statutes. 2

3

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State 4

of New Jersey: 5

6

1. a. Every insurer authorized to transact the business of 7

homeowners insurance in this State shall make available as an 8

option for purchase, in every homeowners insurance policy 9

delivered, issued, executed, or renewed in this State on or after the 10

effective date of this act, coverage for: 11

(1) removal of a leaking heating oil tank from the homeowner’s 12

property; and 13

(2) remediation of damage caused by the discharge of heating 14

oil from the homeowner’s leaking tank or any piping, fuel supply 15

line, equipment or system connected to the tank to: 16

(a) the homeowner’s property, including any impact on soil, 17

indoor air, groundwater or surface water; and 18

(b) a third party’s property, including but not limited to nearby 19

or adjoining property, or groundwater or surface water. 20

b. The commissioner shall establish by regulation the amounts 21

of coverage per occurrence and the amounts of any deductible per 22

claim or policy period for policies offered pursuant to this section. 23

c. If a homeowner declines the option to purchase coverage 24

offered pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section, the insurer 25

shall obtain a written waiver of the coverage, signed by the 26

homeowner, whose signature shall be notarized by a notary public. 27

d. For purposes of this act, “heating oil tank” means a liquid 28

fuel tank in which heating oil is stored and from which heating oil 29

is delivered or pumped through a fuel supply line to an oil burner, 30

whether the tank is located within a dwelling or other structure, 31

underground, or outdoors. 32

e. This section shall not apply to abandoned, closed, or out of 33

service heating oil tanks. 34

35

2. This act shall take effect on the first day of the sixth month 36

next following the date of enactment. 37

38

39

STATEMENT 40

41

This bill requires homeowners insurance companies to make 42

available as an option for purchase, in every homeowners insurance 43

policy delivered, issued, executed, or renewed in this State on or 44

after the effective date of the bill, coverage for certain leaking 45

heating oil tanks. 46

The bill requires that this coverage be offered for: 47

A437 SCHAER, BRAMNICK 3

 

(1) removal of a leaking heating oil tank from the homeowner’s 1

property; and 2

(2) remediation of damage caused by the discharge of heating 3

oil from the homeowner’s leaking tank or any piping, fuel supply 4

line, equipment or system connected to the tank to: 5

 the homeowner’s property, including any impact on soil, 6

indoor air, groundwater or surface water; and 7

 a third party’s property, including but not limited to nearby 8

or adjoining property, or groundwater or surface water. 9

The bill also provides that the Commissioner of Banking and 10

Insurance establish by regulation the amounts of coverage per 11

occurrence and the amount of deductible per claim or policy period 12

for policies issued under the bill. 13

If a homeowner declines the option to purchase coverage offered 14

pursuant to this bill, the insurer shall obtain a written waiver of the 15

coverage signed by the homeowner whose signature shall be 16

notarized by a notary public. The bill shall not apply to abandoned, 17

closed, or out of service heating oil tanks.

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

 

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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

Mold Prevention Tips

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Sep 7, 2017 2:39:00 PM

Where there is Mold there is water!

Fix the water – stop the Mold growth.

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  • Get a dehumidifier for the crawlspace and basement areas.  
    • Keep the dehumidifier at 60 degrees or lower at all times.  
    • Never turn it off.
    • Have a hose hooked up to the water disposal and have it constantly running to the sump pump or to the sink

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  • Check your attic for any water. Fix any leaks in your roof.
  • If you have an attic fan, make sure it is turned on. Better yet get one that is on a humidity thermostat. 
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  • Make sure the bathroom fans are always on during showers and stay on for at least 20 to 30 minutes after. To make sure the fan is working do the following:
    • Turn on the fan
    • Take a tissue and put the tissue up to the fan
    • Let go of the tissue
    • Does the Tissue fall to the ground? Or does the fan suck the tissue up to it
    • If the tissue falls to the ground GET A NEW FAN! If the tissue goes to the fan, that’s a good bathroom fan.
  • Check your dryer vents and clean them for any dust and particles. Make sure the vent exhausts to the outdoor.
  • While cooking use the exhaust fan, any moisture in the air can cause mold in the future.
  • Check under all faucet cabinets for any leaks, for example under your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • Check in your bathroom by your tub area for any calking that may need to be replaced. Calking may be old, stained and moldy.
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  • Clean roof gutters regularly. With the fall coming, more leaves will be falling clogging gutters. These gutters help water flow away from the home. Clogging gutters also lead to a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Direct the water away from your home by using roof leaders with PVC piping.  PVC piping is much stronger than corrugated and will not become clogged.
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  • Dry any wet areas within 48 areas. After 48 areas mold can get a toehold and begin to grow.  While some mold species are perfectly acceptable in the home, others need moisture and constant water to grow; these types of mold species are the types that are cause for health concerns.

mold prevention5.jpgQuestions?  Email Curren Environmental at info@currenenvironmental.com or call at 1-888-301-1050. Follow these preventative tips and mold will less likely grow in your home.  

 

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. 

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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.

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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?

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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.