Curren Environmental Blog

7 Things I wish I knew before I removed my oil tank.

Posted by david sulock on Jul 25, 2018 9:11:47 AM

 A construction permit is required and it can take up to 20 business days to get the permit, which is a month.

 I thought that my out of use tank could remain where it was buried.  Nope, the buyer of my house needed a mortgage and to get the mortgage to buy my house, the tank had to be removed. Their attorney also advised that it be removed.   Yep found this out 9 days before settlement.  Did not know the tank removal permit took weeks to get.   Settlement eventually happened but it was 4 weeks later.

 

home tank removal

 

A tank removal report is important.

Had my tank removed no leaks.  Listed house for sale, buyer wanted proof that the tank did not leak.  I had a copy of the contract for the removal and I had a paid tank removal invoice, that was not enough,. The company I hired to remove the oil tank did not give me a report.  Stupid me the contract for removal did not include a report.   I had to pay another company to dig up the old tank grave, test the soils, and give me a report that the tank did not leak.  Apparently, buyers want 100% confirmation that the tank did not leak.  I mean it makes sense you want a report of the tank removal if you are buying a house, but why didn’t the tank removal company tell me that or give me one? 

Tank removal soil sampling is really important.

I was told I did not have to soil test when the tank is removed.  Apparently, testing is not required by law.  Well I removed the tank and it leaked and the immediate diagnosis was $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 to remediate the leak.  When I mean immediate, I mean I had an estimate to clean up the tank leak 2 days after the tank was removed.   I ultimately fired the tank removal company and hired another company.  The new company told me that you could not conclude 100% if remediation is necessary without soil testing.   Bottom line I got the soil tested, yes there was oil; no, it was not enough oil to demand remediation.  Saved the $10,000.00.  Couldn’t the company tell me that testing while not required is worth it if the tanks appears to have leaked.

Not all oil leaks mean you have to remediate.

As I learned, a hole in a tank only means that the company that removed the tank is going to give me an expensive quote to clean up the oil.  Apparently there are legal amounts of oil that can remain in the ground, kind of like good and bad cholesterol, but you would never know unless you test.

 

Holes in oil tank, but oil in bottom of tank

How excited the tank removal company crew would become after they removed my tank and found out it was leaking.

Got my oil tank removed, took the day off from work. The whole thing was very stressful as I bought the house with a sand filed tank and now 10 years later I am selling the house and the buyers want the tank removed.   When the tank was removed and I saw holes in the tank, my heart sank.  The mood of the tank workers was elevated when they saw the holes in the tank   You would think the Philadelphia Eagles won a 2nd super bowl.   I feel like they were leading me down a path to spend money I didn’t plan for or have.   Look I understand tank leaks but I was never told about what happens when a tank leaks.  It was upsetting that they were happy for by problems.

Getting something in writing is really important.

I hired a tank company to do my tank removal.  They talked a good game and had a very good price.   They had a 2-page proposal, it was brief and somewhat vague now that I think about it.  Well when I found out my tank leaked soil testing which I thought was done or would be done (we did speak about it) was not done.  They actually took a soil sample but it was not for determining if the oil level in the ground was legal it for the disposal of the soil.  I was presumed guilty.    I was more than a little miffed; I didn’t want to pay the bill until I got a report of removal.  I didn’t get that either.  I complained to an attorney who reviewed my 2-page quote.  I was told if it is not in the contract the company doesn’t have to do it.  So, I got no testing and no report, but I was told I would if in the small chance my oil tank leaked.   It was a case of he said she said, the attorney agreed it was deceptive but not worth the money to go after legally.

The cheapest price is not the best.

I figured a tank is a tank is a tank, so a tank removal is a tank removal.  I picked the least expensive company.  I thought I compared apples to apples and was picking the shiniest apple.  Well my tank leaked and I was up charged more than 5 times what the cost to remove the tank was.    What I learned from one of the tank company workers who needed to use my bathroom was the company doesn’t make money removing oil tanks.  The cleanup is much more profitable and their goal is to get as many tank removal projects  as possible, which increases their odds of finding a leaking tank.   They are supposed to call the office once they know a tank leaked, I guess to toast to their good fortune but not mine.

These seven snippets of experiences all came from clients of Curren who had their tank removed by another company.

Do something once and you are a novice.

Do something twice, well you are not a pro but you know more than you did the first time.

Bottom line, we have been performing tank projects for over 20 years.  Thousands of tanks tested, removed, and remediated.   Referrals are our largest source of work and we don’t advertise, no ads on the internet promoting Curren Environmental.     We do get many calls from people who after reading our web site and speaking to us wished they called us first for their tank removal.

If you have a tank and you want solid advice and your work professionally done, call our office.  We provide free consultation and estimates.  We have no sales people and 20 years of satisfied clients.  You can be the next one.

Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm   

888-301-1050

 

Tank Removal Question

 

Professional Tank Removal

 

Tags: oil tank removal pa, oil tank, tank leak, oil tank removal nj, oil tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, tank removal

Best Oil Tank Removal

Posted by David C Sulock on Jul 16, 2018 1:31:38 PM

 

If you are involved with an oil tank removal project, it is probable your first tank removal and likely your last. The odds of you making the best decision are slim. Let’s agree that the best tank removal is one where the tank does not leak and you don’t have to remediate.

That said, you could expect a cost for tank removal on average to be about $1,500.00. This cost entails the time to get permits, equipment and labor to excavate the tank, trained personnel to cut open and clean the tank, oil recovery, tank removal, soil sampling, backfill material and labor and ultimately a report from the company so you can document the tank removal. The tank report is completed weeks after removal and is performed in an office utilizing the notes and data collected from your site. Sounds like a lot for $1,500.00, well it is.

 Best oil tank removal

Let’s talk about what makes your tank removal the best tank removal.

Your cost is close to the average cost of $1,500.00. Why, well the firm that sells these services has to do the work at a market rate where they can make money. Otherwise, they are offering the work at a loss, with the plan that they will make the money on the backend, which is the remediation and even a small remediation can cost over $5,000.00. You get what you pay for, remember that.

If you buy a house that had an oil tank, you want to know that the tank did not leak. The only way to know that is if you have testing completed. Being the owner of the tank you may think you do not want to have testing done, or else you may find a problem. After 25 years of dealing with tanks the bottom line question everyone wants to know is if the tank leaked. Buyers and sellers because that answers can make or break a real estate transaction. Bottom line tank soil samples when the tank is removed

Why do many contracts for tank removal not include soil sampling? Short answer, it is cheaper. Soil samples cost $120.00 on average and with two soil samples being the average number acquired sampling can raise the cost by $240.00, plus the time to write a report that talks about the test results. Look, you are removing an old buried metal object, you are fooling yourself if you don’t think that rust and extensively has not occurred to the tank. Your low cost tank removal company is counting on this and will be happy to give you a cost to remediate the tank once contamination is discovered.

Why do many contracts not include a report of the tank removal? Cost again is the culprit. If you write a report you need someone present during tank removal that will be taking notes, photos, soil samples and will eventually sit behind a desk to type a report. That all takes time and there is a cost involved. Bottom line make sure the contract includes a report.

Tank removal site assessment soil samples when acquired for independent laboratory analysis provides quantitative not qualitative data. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have one comparative standard for number two heating oil in soil and that is by laboratory analysis. Visual, oil water agitation or olfactory evaluations have no standards so you have no foundation to lay an opinion.

Residential tank removals do not specifically require that you obtain soil samples. This conflicts with the interest of a purchaser (mortgage or insurance underwriter) for a site when hard data is requested. Legally you do not need to test, if a buyer wants to test prior to purchase it is their due diligence and hence their cost. Obviously it is less expensive to acquire samples from an open excavation at tie of removal, as opposed to post removal and backfilling.

What is the best tank removal? The best is one where testing and a report is provided as part of the tank removal. It is what is required for commercial sites, so why wouldn’t you do the same for a residence?

 

Tank Removal Question

Tags: tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal, oil tank removal nj, oil tank removal pa

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

First Time Tank Removal

Posted by David C Sulock on Feb 7, 2017 10:15:00 AM

So here's the story...a hired tank removal company was found on the first page of Google, they had the cheapest price.  A tank was found to have a hole after it was removed from the ground.  No evidence of oil contamination was present in the soil, meaning staining or odors of petroleum in the tank grave.  Due to the hole the NJDEP hotline was called and a case number was obtained.   Removal company acquired one soil sample for laboratory analysis, which was found to have a level of ND (Non Detect).  After removal, client was billed almost double the quoted amount and then told they would have to spend another $3,600.00 to close out the called in NJDEP case number, even though the tank did not leak (Soil sample was non detect).

 450 Fox Chase Tank Blog.jpg

This was the story that was explained to our office.   Curren reviewed the removal contract, soil laboratory test results and the subsequent proposal for $3,600.00 to do additional testing.  It was at this point that it was clear to Curren Environmental that the property owner did not have to do anything and was being taken advantage of.

The property owner hired a removal company without doing the proper research and inturn getting taken advantage of - these are the mistakes the owner made:

  • Owner went with cheapest price, which is really getting what you paid for. When you compared the quotes there was a difference between the hired company’s cost and the next one.  We often see these low cost quotes try to make up the difference by selling additional services that are not typically warranted.  Keep in mind a tank removal is perhaps a once in a life time decision.
  • The tank removal contract had no reference of taking any soil samples after removal, even though there was a chance the tank may have been found to be leaking.
  • Going back to item 2, there was no explanation regarding if testing was performed what would constitute a good or bad results. Results of Non Detect (ND) requires no further testing. 
  • The contract did not include any report. If you were buying a property that had a tank removed, wouldn’t you want a report about the removal?

In this case, the soil test was clean and the tank company said more testing was required, the owner was confused as to why more testing was necessary.  Curren thought it possible that a case number was obtained due to a hole in the tank, which may not have discharged any oil as the hole may have not fully appeared until AFTER removal from the ground.  It is confusing that if the tank leaked that your soil sample is clean. 

We asked the owner to question the need for further testing, their response was as follows:

Unfortunately NJDEP regulations state that if there are holes in a tank then a case number is required.  Even if contamination is not found in the ground, the potential for contamination is cause for a case number. 

Soil samples for closure are required to be collected by a NJDEP licensed subsurface evaluator.  Once the samples are collected and returned from the laboratory, a report can be generated to close out the case number. 

We cannot provide any letter stating there is no contamination or closeout the case with NJDEP without the required samples that must be collected by a NJDEP subsurface evaluator.

The only time sampling is not required is if the tank passed inspection and was not considered a leaking tank. 

Have an Environmental Issue? 

Their response is misleading.  Yes a hole in a tank can be cause to report a spill, but if you acquire a soil sample and it is clean, you have proven that the hole did not create a discharge to the environment.  The NJDEP can be contacted and explained to that the spill reported was in error.   This is what was ultimately done with Curren’s assistance and no further monies were spent.

Curren explained that no testing is required by law for a tank removal and the contract clearly does not include any contingency for sampling the tank excavation after removal and what the results would mean.    Testing is important to prove the tank did not leak and should have been included as an option in the quote, it was not.

Tags: tank removal

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