Curren Environmental Blog

Successful Oil Tank Removal - Avoid Tank Problems

Posted by David C Sulock on Jun 6, 2017 9:57:36 AM

Keep in mind that if have an oil tank you need removed, this will most likely be a he only time in your life you will ever have to deal with something like this.  Odds are against you making the best decision regarding removing the underground tank, which is why we have devised this handy tank removal reference guide.   The following information regarding tank removal are a cumulation of 20 years of tank removal experience and speaking to people who had their tank removed and their decision making regret.

Google oil tank leak and you will see some scary web pages. If you are selling a property with a tank and don't you think it's an issue, realize your buyers are reading these pages and they know an oil tank can be an issue.

New Jersey tank removal.jpg

 Here are important oil tank removal fact.

  1. Most oil tanks do not leak.
  2. Most oil tanks that leak do not require expensive remediation and can be addressed by testing.
  3. Every state allows a permissible amount of oil to remain in the ground.

Few if any tank removal firms will tell you these facts.

Tank removals while not cheap can cost between $1200.00 and $2,000.00 on average.  Remediation of leaking oil tanks can cost $10,000.00, $16,000.00, $40,000.00 dollars or more.  Do I have your attention?  Many firms will suck you in with a competitive price on tank removal and then whack you with a bill to remediate the leaking oil tank.   Many people call our office after their tank is removed and after they get an outrageous proposal to remediate.   These tank remediation quotes appear on the same day as tank removal or within a few days and are 90% of the time baseless money grabs.  

Google oil tank removal and you will see some slick web pages, not as scary by any means as the tank leak search. These pages have happy people, testimonials and some sales oriented content. You may be swayed by the nice web pages or even that the company is LOCAL.   Local has nothing to do with an oil tank removal, you probably have a few pizza shops close by and one is your favorite.  Proximity to your property is not like a pizza shop, good environmental companies are not known to be as popular as pizza shops.  Contract with these firms and if your tank has any remote evidence of leaking, you will regret your choice of contracting.  Here is why. 

I had no indication that my tank was leaking and the company I hired agreed.

Big, big trouble is brewing in this sentence.  I would hope that no one wishes ill will on anyone, but let us look at an oil tank leak as a possibility based on the following.

Oil tanks do not last forever and on average a tank lifespan is between 20 and 30 years.

Age of tank.   If your oil tank is the original oil tank for the house and it is older than 30 years, well it has outlasted the refrigerator, washer, dryer, roof, ect. It is most likely the oldest replaceable fixture in the dwelling that was NEVER REPLACED.   So can we agree there is a CHANCE the oil tank maybe leaking?  Just a chance.   If your answer is yes, well should a brief conversation occur about the oil tank leak scenario?  If yes, then the what if my oil tank leaks discussion should be written into your oil tank removal contract, so you know what steps will occur in the event of a leak.   Trust me the answer is yes and your proposal like so many we see will not have the language in there and you are setting yourself up for problems. 

 Soil samples.  You do not want them because soil sampling is not required by law, you do not want to test because you do not want to find a problem.  I mean who wants to go to the doctor, you know the doctor is going to find something wrong.  Soil sampling after a tank is removed is 100% important and not sampling is the biggest mistake you can make. 

Remember the google search for oil tank leak?   Well how are you going to certify the tank did not without testing?   Perhaps you think the township will inspect and certify the tank did not leak?  Wrong their job is a construction inspection, remember they are not licensed to remove an oil tank, the company you hired is licensed and they hold the burden to certify the work. 

leaking oil tank.jpg

How do we certify that a tank did not leak?  

Not by looking at it, believe it or not.  No one knows your cholesterol level without blood work, there are marathon runners that have heart disease, healthy looking people get cancer, my point is looks can be deceiving you cannot look at an oil tank and be 100% certain the tank did or did not leak.   Please do not tell me you will be able to tell if the tank leaked because you are going to look for black oil in the ground, because everyone knows that is how you can tell, WRONG.   The tank is not the Beverly hillbillies, heating oil is not black its dyed red.  (Google it, heating oil is red, no lie).

Back to soil testing, hey if you were buying a house with an oil tank that was removed, wouldn't you want testing completed and a report certifying the tank did not leak?  If you don't care, leave this web page, go play words with friends, understanding the pitfalls of oil tank removal are not your topic of interest. 

Soil testing protects you from unscrupulous tank removal firms that would remove your tank, show you a hole in the tank after removal, show this hole to the construction official, report you to the state and give you a cost to remediate, which is many times more expensive than the tank removal and more profitable for the removal company.

 

Here is the short story of a property where a tank was removed, the tank was found to be leaking and got a quote 

1.Oil tank was removed.

2.Property owner want soil testing.

3. Tank removal company says soil testing is a waste of money.

4. Tank removal company has X-ray vision and can just tell that the tank leak is bad and you need remediation, why test?

5. Owner is told testing is expensive, $5,000.00, true story, owner was told why spend the money to test if you know it leaked?

6. Truth, testing of an oil tank, say a 275 to 550 gallon oil tank would cost under $250.00!  Think that money is worth spending?

7. Owner was given a quote to remediate a day after removal.  

At this step in the tank removal, the ownerr felt something did not add up.  Owner brought in another company to test the removed tank area.   Yes contamination was found, but it was with acceptable standards.  

Success tank removal depends on testing, if you test, you could save thousands in unnecessary oil tank remediation.

If you don't test the soil after a tank is removed, the removal company can quote you an expensive remediation, good for them, not for you.

Why are we posting oil tank removal problems, showing you how to be a better consumer of these services, well we remove tanks but we also help people who had their tank removed and we are repeating their stories for your education.   Unethical tank removal firms give all companies a bad name.   To be frank as well, we get a little tired of hearing the same story over and over again.

 Common compliants after a tank is removed?

My oil tank contract was based on the tank not leaking.  It leaked and I am getting billed alot more than the cost of the removal.

My tank had holes when it was removed and I have to remediate.

My leak was reported to the NJDEP AND NOW I HAVE A CASE NMBER.

The removal company said testing wasn't in my contract so they didn't test.

The removal company said testing was a waste of money and I have to remediate.

Environmental company gives a 10k quote to remediate, my house is under contract for sale and I have to clean up the leak or risk losing the buyer.

 

We have been involved with more projects than I care to count that fits those details. Sit down before I tell you what we find at these sites.

Close to 80% of the time, we find little to no oil in the ground or we find that oil levels are within acceptable levels, meaning no expensive remediation.

The other 20% of the time, well yes, remediation was necessary but sadly, not to the extent they were quoted.

 Do you have questions we didnt answer?   Common oil tank question and answer can be found at Residential Heating Oil Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 Want to speak to a live person call up MOnday to FRiday 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Esatern Standard time at 856-858-9509

Tags: NJDEP oil tank removal grant, oil tank removal new jersey, tank removal, tank leak

NJDEP Oil Tank Grant Changes Effective September 2011

Posted by david sulock on Sep 29, 2011 2:14:00 PM

Changes to the NJDEP & EDA Tank Grant Effective September 15, 2011

Grant applications that have already passed NJDEP review and have been submitted to the EDA are now being processed by the EDA with the monies added to the Grant Fund from the 2012 State appropriation.   These applicants who had submitted their grants prior to the May 3, 2011 fund change  will be receiving notification from the EDA over the next few weeks.

Applications that are in-house at the EDA but incomplete will be reviewed and processed in the order that they were received and held until sufficient funds become available.

There is a priority system that is in place pertaining to which applicants get funding first as per NJSA 58:10A-37.4, which is as follows:  

1) Applications indicating a discharge posing a threat to drinking water, human health or sensitive ecological area;

2) Supplemental applications for remediation of discharge from regulated tanks;

3) Applications for remediation of discharge from regulated tanks;

4) Supplemental applications for remediation of discharge from unregulated tanks;

5) Applications for remediation of discharge from unregulated tanks;

6) Non-leaking tank applications

Within each of these categories, priority is based on the application filing date and processing dates that EDA staff adheres to when conducting its review.Click me

Tags: oil tank grants, tank grants, NJDEP oil tank removal grant, tank removal, tank removal grants, tank grant changes

Oil Tank Removal in New Jersey

Posted by david sulock on Jan 28, 2011 9:00:00 PM

The purpose of this document is to provide a concise reference to the preferred practices and procedures for oil tank removals in NJ. 

oil tank removal nj 

Buried oil tanks raise a variety of environmental, safety, legal and economic concerns for home owners and home buyers. The largest concern relates to the environmental issues that are caused when the oil tank leaks and causes  soil or groundwater  contamination. 

The following is a breakdown of the proper steps that should taken in order to remove your residential oil tank. 

Step 1: Permitting 

Local construction/demolition and/or fire subcode permits need to be applied for and the permits approved by the municipal office.     Once the local permits are approved, it is typical that the local inspector will need to be onsite for all or a part of the removal activities.  Permit application, insuring permit approval and scheduling of local inspectors is always done by Curren Environmental before removing the oil tank. 

Step 2: Underground Utilities 

State law requires that before any excavation activities can commence, a utility markout will need to be performed. The company performing the oil tank removal should call for an underground markout through “NJ One Call”.  t is the law in New Jersey and other states, to call for a utility markout before you dig. Make sure the company you choose to remove the tank obtains a markout confirmation number.  It protects all parties involved. 

Step 3: Oil Tank Cleaning 

Cleaning of the tank will consist of wiping, squeegeeing and removing all liquids and sludges from the tank.  Liquids are then either  placed into onsite storage containers or a vacuum truck. . 

Step 4: Oil Tank Removal    

It is recommended that all oil tanks be removed from the ground  when taking a tank out of service.  (In some instances when removal of the oil tank may damage the integrity of the structure an abandonment in place can be performed.)  By removing the tank from the ground a site assessment can be performed to determine if the tank has maintained integrity. 

Step 5: Oil Tank Site Assessmen

After the oil tank is removed a site assessment can performed by Curren’s certified NJDEP Subsurface Evaluator.  The site assessment to evaluate whether contamination is present in the excavation can be carried out in a variety of ways  while the tank is being removed. 

▸   Evidence of contamination can be determined from product odors, product stained soils, and/or visual evidence of free product.   

▸   Inspection of the Underground Storage Tank, (UST), for evidence of corrosion or perforations. 

▸   By a series of observations and measurements during the tank excavation and decommissioning operations such as  soil and ground water sampling and analysis. 

In New Jersey the standard analytical testing method for #-2 heating oil is Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH). All samples must be submitted to an independent NJDEP licensed laboratory for analysis.  EPH results are measured in part per million or ppm. Samples results above 5,100 ppm are actionable and require remedial activities to be completed.   EPH results  between 1,000 ppm and 5,100 ppm require an additional analysis. 

Step 6: Backfilling 

Once the tank is removed from the ground the void space must be backfilled with clean certified  fill.  The general equation for backfilling is five cubic yards of backfill material for every 1000 gallons of storage capacity.  For example a 500-gallon tank would require 2.5 cubic yards of fill material.  Suppling and installing the backfill is always performed by the firm removing the tank and should be included in tank removal cost. 

Step 7: Site Investigation Report - Tank Certification

Curren Environmental will prepare a Site Investigation Report which will document the tank removal activities.  The report will detail the heating oil tank removal and provide certification of the tank removal.   The report will include the following information: 

   1.  Copy of the local permit for tank removal 
   2.  Liquid receipt from the tank cleaning. 
   3.  A thorough written description of the tank removal activities. 
   4.  Photo documentation of tank removal (if available). 
   5.  A copy of the tank scrap receipt. 
   6.  Any applicable laboratory test results. 
   7.  A detailed text description of the condition of the tank and if any petroleum contamination was noted in the tank excavation. 

Curren Environmental, Inc. is a licensed by the  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to perform closure activities associated with Underground Storage Tanks, (USTs).   

Tags: oil tank grants, tank grants, NJDEP oil tank removal grant, free oil tank removal, oil tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal nj, tank removal, tank removal grants

Oil Tank Removal & Remediation Grants

Posted by pat warren on Dec 1, 2010 2:31:00 PM

NJDEP Tank Grant Change Posted May 3, 2011

New Jersey Tank Grants are being depleted faster than the NJDEP and EDA anticipated, this in conjunction with a lack of funding replenishment has caused the NJDEP to withhold processing new tank non leaking grants starting May 3,2011.  What this means to grant applicants and carriers:

 

  1. Any applicant that has received a funding approval agreement from the EDA can safely proceed with the remedial work as approved.   Applicants with any cost overruns on the remedial work can still apply for supplemental funding.  These supplemental fund requests will be reviewed but funding may not be approved based on available monies in the fund.
  2. Any grant application submitted after May 3, 2011, will be time stamped and reviewed when the NJDEP catches up to that part of the queue and based on availability of funds.
  3. The NJDEP has found that the grant program offerred to homeowners to remove underground oil tanks has driven a rise in tank removals and associated case numbers for leaking tanks.   Without the financial incentive, the oil tank removal rate will attenuate to historic levels, with an increase during peak residential real estate sales periods.
  4. Grant applicants have been encouraged to perform testing and have been reimbursed for forensic investigations in order to date the range of when the tank leak occurred.  This approach is to try to obtain partial insurance coverage from past policies.  Most homeowners do not realize that insurance coverage may be available from the insurance policy for tank leaks.
  5. Insurance Carriers will have to perform tighter investigation to ensure that plume areas are well defined as homeowners will have to bear the burden of remedial costs without the benefit of financial grants from New Jersey.
  6. If additional funding is transferred to the grant fund, the NJDEP and EDA may take a stricter stance on the need based criteria for grant approval to help supply grants to the neediest of applicants.   The NJDEP previously implemented this approach when regulated commercial underground storage tanks had access to this grant funding, on June 30, 2010, this funding was closed to new applicants.

 

When will monies be added to the fund so that new applications can be processed?

The fund was set up as an act of legislation or law that required funding to be added after the fund is depleted below the $20,000,000.00 level and to continue to do so until 2021.  Monies are scheduled to be added to the fund during the next financial year which begins in July of 2011.   The amount of funding is not known. The NJDEP is also looking at amending the application process criteria, i.e., who is eligible for the leaking and non leaking tank grant.   These changes are not known at the prresent time, but it is possible that income levels and financial asset limits will be lowered to ensure that the neediest of applicants have access to the grant.

 

*The Following has been taken from the NJDEP web site.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE - NJDEP PETROLEUM UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK REMEDIATION,UPGRADE & CLOSURE FUND (UST FUND)

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EFFECTIVE MAY 3, 2011, NEW UST FUND APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED OR PROCESSED DUE TO INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. New UST Fund applications will be date stamped at the time of receipt and held until such time as sufficient funding becomes available. At that time applications willbe reviewed and processed based on the order of receipt.

The Department of Environmental Protection is aware that contractors advertise that state funding is available and tank removal and remediation can be done at no cost to homeowners. Please be advised there has never been a guarantee of funding to any UST Fund applicant.

 PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE REVIEW OF SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVAL REQUESTS. If you have previously submitted an application that has been approved, any supplemental funding request for that application will be reviewed and processed until such time as available funding is exhausted.*

 

*Taken from the NJDEP web site.

 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) grants funds to eligible homeowners that proactively upgrade and close their underground storage tanks.  The Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund (PUST) Program for Non-Leaking Residential tanks awards eligible applicants’ full or partial reimbursement of the costs of upgrading oil heating systems.  Eligible applicants may be awarded full or partial reimbursement of the cost incurred from UST removal and AST installations.  Eligible applicants may be reimbursed up to $2,100.00 to remove a UST and up to $4,100.00 when the removed UST is replaced with an AST. In the event that a grant is not awarded, many applicant may still qualify for a loan, which may be repaid over the course of up to ten years.

NJ Tank Grants
For properties that have oil tanks that leaked in New Jersey, grant funding is available up to $500,000.00 for eligible applicants. 

Curren Environmental has a full time New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) grant administrator that can assist you with both the residential  Non-Leaking and Petroleum Underground Storage Tank (PUST) grant applications.  Both applications are more commonly referred to as the New Jersey Oil Tank Grant Program or the NJ Oil tank Grant program.  No matter what you call the program, our administrator will help you complete and file all the necessary forms so that you can be reimbursed for monies spent to remove your oil tank or to replace your oil tank with a new Aboveground Heating Oil Tank.   Having completed these applications since the program was started in 2006 we offer the expertise in getting the application fully completed and formatted so the grant can be reviewed quickly and easily by both the NJDEP and the EDA.  What this means to our clients is a smoother and quicker application process.   We are not only experienced with completing the oil tank grant applications, but we are also licensed to perform oil tank removal and cleanups (remediation) from oil tank leaks.   

If you have questions, we have answers and are happy to assist you.  Call today and ask to speak to our grant administrator.  Call 888-301-1050.

Tags: oil tank grants, tank grants, NJDEP oil tank removal grant, NJDEP tank grant discontinued, NJDEP oil tank grant change may 3, 2011