Hot Environmental Topics

New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification

Jan 26, 2023 1:09:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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The New Jersey Lead Safe law is making lead a concern for rental units, both tenants and landlords.    NJ’s New lead-based paint law went into effect on July 22, 2022, and affects ALL pre-1978 rental properties.   So if you are a landlord of a unit built before 1978 and you have not received a lead paint designation, you are subject to the law.

 

New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification         Lead Paint Inspections

 

All single-family, two-family, and multiple-rental dwellings must be inspected.

 

This new lead law is being referred to as, New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification and requires lead-paint inspections, visual &/or dust wipes on all nonexempt rental properties at tenant turnover or before July 2024. The inspections are perpetual. A lead-safe certificate is good for two (2) years but can last as long as three (3) years before a reinspection is needed if the tenant remains in the unit from the 1st 2 years of issuance of the lead-safe certificate.

 

 What does the Lead Safe Certification lead law require of a property owner?

 If you rent a pre-1978 property that does not qualify for one of the exemptions, beginning July 2022, you will be required at a minimum to have a visual lead-paint inspection.  When we say the minimum, some towns have children with elevated lead blood levels, so units in these municipalities also require that lead dust wipe samples be obtained as part of the inspection.

 

 Visual Inspection:  Just as at sounds like, visual lead inspections look for hazards.  How does one identify lead-based paint hazards?  Lead-based paint hazards is deteriorating lead-based paint peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, or damaged paint. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can reside on surfaces and objects that people touch.

 

We examine all painted building components for deteriorated paint or visible surface dust, debris, or residue. We look for paint chips or dust from painting activities that were not cleaned up and paint residue on floors.

 

Who can perform lead inspections for rental units?

 

The lead inspection can only be done by  

1) Municipal local agency inspection program,  

2) NJ DCA-certified Lead Evaluation contractor hired by the municipality

Or

3) the property owner can hire directly a NJ DCA Certified Lead Evaluation contractor to provide the required inspection services. 

 

No matter who the lead licensed individual is, there is a fee for the lead inspection. The lead inspection fee is outside of the $20 fee the lead law requires the municipality to collect on a per-unit basis.

 

Visual Lead Inspections

Landlords can hope for the best outcome from the lead inspection, which is that no lead-based paint hazards are found during the inspection, and the local agency or the DCA-certified lead evaluation contractor can certify the dwelling unit as lead-safe on a form prescribed by the department of Community Affairs.

 

A failure of the lead inspection would be that lead hazards are found, then the property owner must address the hazard.   Properly addressed by means of either lead-based paint abatement or lead-based paint hazard control methods.   Additionally, if the lead evaluation entity (municipal or private) finds that a lead-based paint hazard exists in a dwelling unit upon conducting the inspection under this law, the lead evaluation contractor or permanent local agency shall notify the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

 

Lead hazards that are addressed require a lead re-inspection. Specifically, the lead law states that “upon completion of correcting any lead-based paint hazard identified during the visual Lead Safe Certification Inspection”, the Lead evaluation contractor or permanent local agency shall conduct a follow-up inspection (visual &/or dust wipes) of the unit to certify that the hazard no longer exists.  

  

The lead law places documentation and notification requirements on property owners. Owners are required to provide copies of all Lead Safe Certifications (per unit) and leases to the DCA inspector during their five (5) year multiple dwelling inspection.  Property owners are also required to provide copies of a current or newly issued Lead Safe Certificate to new residents specific to the unit they will be renting as part of the lease documents.

 

If a resident resides within the unit during the re-lead safe certification renewal cycle for three (3) years, the resident must sign a copy of the Lead Safe Certification.   This documentation must be maintained by the owner and made available during future DCA inspections.   Compliance is mandatory under the law failure to follow failure to comply can incur fines of up to $1000 per unit per week.

 

What to do to get ready for compliance? 

 

Call Curren Environmental, we have been consulting on environmental issues in real estate since the 1990s.

Call Curren Today

 

 

Do you think your property is exempt from lead inspections? The property must meet the following criteria: 

  1. The property has been certified to be free of lead-based paint,
  2. The property was originally constructed during or after 1978,
  3. The rental unit is in a multiple dwelling that has been registered with the DCA as a multiple dwelling for at least 10 years either under the current or a previous owner and has no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection performed on the multiple dwelling under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,”
  4. Is a single-family or two-family seasonal rental dwelling that is rented for less than 6 months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals; or  
  5. Dwellings that have been certified to be free of lead-based paint under N.J.A.C. 5:17-3.6(b).
  6. The unit is owner-occupied.

lead inspection company 

Pro Tip

If you have not tested for lead-based paint and the property is pre-1978 original construction, the law states you must assume it is lead-based paint.

 

 

 

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Environmental Due Diligence

Jan 17, 2023 7:15:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Phase I, Environmental Site Assessment, Due Diligence, Phase I ESA, ASTM E1527-21

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What is Environmental Due Diligence?

Environmental due diligence is the process that evaluates the environmental conditions and risks associated with a property. The process can be at the request of land developers, lenders, attorneys, or private owners who intend to purchase, refinance, or occupy a property.

The rub with performing environmental due diligence in real estate is buyers spend countless hours researching properties to purchase and when the right one is found, no one wants a delay or a cause a problem.

Environmental due diligence is essential for anyone looking to buy a property, whether commercial or residential. Hidden environmental liabilities are a massive problem you can face when purchasing a property that has not been evaluated for environmental due diligence; before making any large real estate transactions, make sure to understand the importance of this process.

When Is Environmental Due Diligence Required?

Lending institutions typically require environmental due diligence before they will finance a real estate purchase, refinance an existing loan, or accept collateral for a construction loan. If a cash buyer is involved, it is up to them to decide if a Phase I or other form of due diligence is necessary.

Environmental Due Diligence

Who Benefits from Environmental Due Diligence?

Anyone purchasing a property can benefit from environmental due diligence, even if a lending institution is not involved in the sale. The process reduces the chances of someone purchasing real estate inheriting ecological concerns created by the former owners, it also provides an essential legal defense should issues arise.  Buyers get to know if there are environmental issues.  Sellers, although they typically would prefer a buyer not do due diligence, can avoid liability after the sale in the event contamination is found when a Phase I was not performed.  Lastly, lending institutions ensure that their loan is protected from contamination that can diminish the value of the asset.  A million-dollar property with a $400,000 cleanup is not worth 1 million dollars.

How Does Environmental Due Diligence Protect You?

Suppose environmental due diligence is performed before purchasing a property. In that case, the purchaser can gain protection from being held accountable for any pre-existing contaminations on the land according to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensations, and Liability Act provisions. If this process is not completed, the new owner can be held responsible for repairing the contamination.

Buyers can also avoid being hit with the cost of environmental cleanup.   After completing tens of thousands of property transactions, the cleanup of sites is most commonly found when the current owner was lax in performing any environmental due diligence.     There are many properties that are being sold or planned to be sold that have been held by the owner for a number of years and they never did any environmental assessment of the property.  

Environmental Due Diligence

What Does the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERLCA) Require?

CERCLA establishes the process of determining who is liable for any hazardous substances on a property. Any property owners who are found to violate environmental due diligence can have to pay fines and fix the issues are their own expense, even if they aren’t responsible for the original contamination. Merely owning a contaminated property is enough to make you liable in the eyes of the law; this is why environmental due diligence is so necessary.

What is common Environmental Due Diligence?

The most common environmental due diligence is performing a Phase I ESA.  Phase I is an investigation into past and current ownership and uses of a property to assess the potential existence of hazardous substances or petroleum contamination on, in, or at a property.  It will even look at neighboring properties to see how they can affect the target property.   A Phase I ESA investigation is purely research and a site visit.  There is no testing during Phase I because you don't know if you have to test a site until Phase I is completed.   

There is a level of service you can expect from Phase I as they must be completed by an “environmental professional”.   The goal of the Phase I ESA is to identify recognized environmental conditions (“RECs”) that may affect the property or trigger liability for the buyer and determine whether further due diligence in regard to the RECs is appropriate.  Further evaluation can be Phase II or Phase III.  More about a Phase II & III can be found here  Phase II,  Phase III

A great resource with questions and answers regarding Phase I's can be found below. 

Phase  I  FAQ

Due Diligence Questions?  Call the Experts

888-301-1050

Due Diligence Questions

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Lead Paint Inspection vs Risk Assessment

Jan 10, 2023 9:15:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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"Why would I have my home inspected or assessed for lead paint risks?"

  1. Your child has been diagnosed as having lead poisoning. The most common home-based source of lead exposure is deteriorating lead-based paint which results in settled dust that young children can encounter.  
  2. You live in a home built before 1978 where small children are or will be living.  Lead paint was banned nationally in 1978, some states banned lead paint earlier.
  3. You are going to remodel, take down walls, enlarge a room, etc., anything that is going to disturb lead-based paint or generate lead-based paint dust and chips that can harm you and your family.

When buying a home, federal law allows the purchaser to conduct lead testing to determine whether lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards are present. This is of particular importance if you have or plan to have young children in the home, but what type of lead inspection do you need, Lead Paint Inspection or Lead Paint Risk Assessment?

If you are concerned about possible lead exposure to you, your family and pets, or visitors, then knowing if a hazard exists and where is the first line of defense against the hazard. 

lead safe-1

What is the difference between a Lead Paint Inspection (LPI) and Lead Paint Risk Assessment?

A Lead Paint Inspection (LPI) is a surface-by-surface investigation to determine whether there is lead-based paint in a home or child-occupied facility, and where it is located. Certified inspectors or risk assessors can only perform lead Paint Inspections. Lead-based paint inspections determine the presence of lead-based paint.  Lead Paint Inspections utilize an X-Ray Fluorescence device to establish the presence, if any, of lead-based paint. XRF units produce x-rays and allow the user to determine on-site if a surface contains lead paint.  Inspections by using testing equipment. It is beneficial in determining whether lead-based paint is present prior to purchasing, renting, or renovating a home, and identifying potential sources of lead exposure at any time.

A Lead Paint Risk Assessment is an on-site investigation to determine the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards (including lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil) and suggests ways to control them. Risk assessments can be legally performed only by certified risk assessors. A Risk Assessment does not have to test for lead as most inspections are performed with the presumption that lead paint is present.

You can also have a combined inspection and risk assessment.  With any of these options, the risk assessor or inspector will provide you with a written report of findings.

Lead Paint inspections determine if lead is present and where on the property.  A lead paint risk assessment presumes lead paint is present and assesses hazards associated with lead paint.

difference between a Lead Paint Inspection (LPI) and Lead Paint Risk Assessment

Lead Questions? 888-301-1050

Lead Paint Inspection Procedure

The lead-based paint survey begins with inspectors/risk assessors walking the subject property and documenting room equivalents, testing combinations, and selecting test locations all while looking for lead-based paint. The walls/sides of the property are distinguished by Side A, B, C, or D. Wall or side A is facing the street, then moving clockwise would be wall/side B, C (located at the rear of the property), and D. After the testing strategy is determined, the inspector/risk assessor uses a Lead Paint Spectrum Analyzer (XRF) to determine the lead content (mg/cm2) of painted surfaces at the subject site.  Surfaces with paints or coatings with concentrations of 1.0 mg/cm2 or greater are considered lead-based paint. The inspection follows  EPA’s work practice standards for conducting lead-based paint activities (40 CFR 745.227), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing (Guidelines), and all State and local regulations.

Lead Risk Assessment Procedure

Lead risk assessment entails a comprehensive visual evaluation of potential lead hazards, including lead-based paint, lead dust, lead in water, and/or lead in soil.  Testing can be completed as part of risk assessment. If you have questions regarding lead paint inspections please give our office a call.

Call Curren Today

Questions and Answers for Homeowners and Renters about Understanding Lead Inspections, Risk Assessments and Abatements

 

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Oil Tank Removal Contracts

Jan 5, 2023 2:31:43 PM / by Tiffany Byrne

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Homeowners, Sellers, and Buyers seem to have oil tank removal issues.

Curren receives calls from people after their tank is removed that may or may not have an environmental issue and Curren sees this in both NJ, DE & PA. 

Where’s the Tank Removal Report

leaded_gas_tank_removalHomeowners with old underground oil tanks need to remove these tanks before they leak, well hopefully. When looking for tank removal companies, homeowners should receive a tank removal contract that provides costs and tank removal reports. Many removal companies provide no written tank removal report included for the tank removal work performed. Clearly, tank owners should and want their tank removal documented. The documentation of the tank removal can be passed on to a buyer when it is time to sell the property. The most important statement of an oil tank removal is “the tank didn’t leak”. The written report should provide documentation on the tank removal soil samples and explain how the tank removal company determined the tank leaked or did not leak. If the tank leaked, the tank removal report should explain what was seen, and the determination of the oil tank leak. Examples would include

  • Were there two pin holes in the tank?
  • Were there no holes in the tank but the soils had evidence of an oil impact?
  • What did you see when you removed the tank?

At Curren, we find homeowners don’t get a tank removal report regardless of if the tank did or did not leak.   Of course, if you read the tank removal contract you can clearly see no report is referenced, but people don't know a tank removal report should be expected once the tank is removed and soil sample tests have been received.

Underground Oil Tank RemovalAnother problem is that tank removal companies do not prepare tank removal clients regarding the “what if the tank leaked”. We often hear from people who had their tank removed and it leaked.  The conversation before a tank is removed pertaining to the “What If” scenario of a tank leak is,   “we can address a tank leak when it happens”. Here at Curren, we see every tank removal could be a leaking tank removal so the potential downside should be discussed with the tank owner in preparation for a tank leak and what soil remediation involves.

Companies are removing tanks and not taking any soil samples and most notably, not including soil sampling in the tank removal cost. When tanks leaks and samples are not acquired (certainly not the 5 to 6 samples you would want if a tank leaked to evaluate if remediation is warranted), the tank owner is informed that remediation is required. The less scrupulous companies that remove tanks want remediation, even when they don't know 100% that remediation is warranted. By not including soil samples many tank removal companies provide a very low-cost tank removal and quickly flip the client a quote for remediation, when often remediation is not warranted and, in many cases, lacks any qualitative data that’s oil levels are above standards. We see this in all three states all the time.  You can't tell someone's cholesterol level by just looking at them, right?  Bloodwork is needed to know the levels of cholesterol and what types of medication are warranted.

Tank Removal Contract

Underground Oil tank removals require permitting in the state of NJ. People do not understand that when a permit is required, the permit is for the tank removal alone, no environmental testing is required to pass inspection.  Tank leaks and soil contamination are not a construction matter, which means the permit does not cover that part of the tank removal process, that part is environmental.    Some inspectors might not even get out of their vehicles if they see the removed tank aboveground.  Other inspectors will be more thorough and ask if holes were found in the tank, which if present will be referenced on the permit of either approval or fail, some inspectors fail tanks if holes are found in the tank.  The tank failing inspection complicates matters even more because the permit's objective was achieved, which was the tank removal. There are times when the inspectors fail the tank because holes were seen, but the soil samples come back days later and are clean.

Tank RemovalThe tank removal company will make the inspector look like the bad person in the project for failing a removed tank that has holes. The permitted task of removal was achieved, the tank was removed from underground. This leads the tank removal company to push for the need for remediation.   Inspectors want to make sure an observed tank leak is documented, and they typically request to be supplied with the tank leak incident number. This all leads to the tank owner thinking the local inspector failed their tank removal due to the leak when the bad news of a tank leak falls on the tank removal company.  If the company is licensed, they are familiar with the environmental regulations.  

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Lead Safe Certification New Jersey's                           New Lead Paint Law

Dec 5, 2022 7:50:19 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead safe, lead visual inspection, lead risk assessment

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Lead-Based Paint Inspections in Rental Dwelling Units as per  P.L. 2021, c. 182 aka New Jersey's Lead Safe Law July 2022

 

What New Landlords need to Know

July 22, 2022, New Jersey’s newest lead-based paint law is now in effect and the law affects all pre 1978 rental properties. The law is being referred to as New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification and requires rental property owners to complete a lead paint inspection. The inspection is either visual or visual and wipe sampling depending on the municipality.

What landlords need to know

The New Jersey lead law requires that the landlord of residential properties (apartments, houses, duplexes, etc.) hire a certified lead evaluation contractor to perform inspection on target properties single family, two-family and multiple rental dwellings for lead-based paint hazards every three years. The first inspection must be completed by July 22, 2026, or at tenant turnover if that occurs prior to July 22, 2026.

If your rental property has not had lead testing performed previously and you would have obtained a Lead Free certification, then you are to assume lead paint is present and have the lead paint inspection performed. In short if you don’t have paperwork stating the building has no lead paint you must perform the required inspections.

Curren Environmental offers lead based paint risk assessments and lead based paint inspections for NJ property owners.   888-301-1050

lead safe inspection

 

Visual Lead Safe Certification: The Curren certified lead inspector will perform a visual inspection of all interior areas of the rental unit, looking for deteriorated paint. New Jersey considers deteriorated paint to be chipping, peeling or flacking paint.   If no deteriorated paint is found the rental unit owner can receive a Lead Safe Certificate which is good for 2 years.

For example, one of the photos below would pass the lead safe inspection, the other would not.

 

lead paint inspection-1lead safe

Dust Wipe Testing for Lead Safe Certification:   The Curren certified lead inspector will perform a visual inspection of all interior areas of the rental unit AND obtain dust wipe samples for laboratory analysis.   If no lead is found by the analysis above government standards, the rental unit owner can receive a Lead Safe Certificate which is good for 2 years.

 

Call the Experts Since 1998

888-301-1050

 

Lead paint inspection company

 

 

 

 

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Bank owned properties with Environmental Issues

Dec 1, 2022 11:02:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Bank-owned properties with Environmental Issues.

Curren started dealing with Bank owned properties both residential and commercial starting in the 1990s.  Aside from the fact that buying a bank-owned property means you are buying a property that the owner will make no representations on, you are also likely buying a property with an environmental issue.  So due diligence is of paramount importance to protect your best interest.    For commercial sites a Phase I is mandatory and expect a Phase II.   For residential aside from a typical home inspection, you will need to pull the trigger on a tank sweep and mold inspection (be sure to get air sampling with the mold inspection).

Bank owned properties with Environmental Issues

Be double concerned if the bank-owned property was flipped.  

Flippers don’t do due diligence generally, so they are out looking for problems.  What issues have we seen with buying a flipped home $10,000 to $210,000 of Environmental remediation?  These costs relate to unhealthy levels of EDA leaching from the water pine, leaking oil tanks, hidden structural issues, and of course mold.

Oil tanks at bank owned properties

Pro Tip - We find mold issues in approximately 80% of former bank-owned sites.  The #1 reason is that the home was vacant and stuff happens when no one is home, like uncontrolled humidity and of course water leaks and rain entry into the structure that gets confidently covered over by the flipper.

Don’t Blame the Bank for Environmental Issues.

Unfortunately for both banks and borrowers, many mortgages fall into foreclosure with the bank taking title to the property.  Banks want to loan money not foreclose and clearly, people that obtain a mortgage do so with the intention of enjoying homeownership. Environmental contamination at bank owned properties

But economic hardships happen,  in the 2007 recession thousands of homes had mortgages that were more than the property was worth, triggering a wave of foreclosures.  Mostly

this wave has subsided, although we work with banks and government agencies and are told that there will always be a large pool of properties where people default on the mortgage.   Talk to any experienced house flipper and they will tell you that bank-owned properties have always existed and represent a good investment for them.

The photo below, a restaurant that the bank owned.  The place sold and still smells of mold.

mold and foreclosed properties

The rub with bank-owned properties is that the bank must take the asset back because the mortgagor is not paying the mortgage.  So if the house has a leaking roof,  the bank has to manage it.  Can you say mold?  Obvious issues with the home have to be addressed so the home does not decrease in value and is also in a condition where the house can be sold.    Undisclosed oil tanks are not an issue on the banks' priority list.  In practice, most banks are not equipped to process a foreclosed property.  Remember banks lend money, yes they have people to manage foreclosed properties but that is not their primary business so do not expect them to excel at it.    Banks are also looking to minimize their losses as they are now forced with taking a property back, so corners get cut. 

Did you know most banks once they take a property back utilities are shut off? If the house has a sub pump and it rains, well water fills the basement and mold grows. 

Pro Tip - Environmental issues can drive a property into foreclosure because the costs of remediation and the amount owed on the mortgage can exceed the property value.

The reality is with an uncertain economy, homes fall into foreclosure, making the bank responsible for the upkeep and future sale of the asset. Many of these properties have active and often times inactive tanks, and failing infrastructure, if you let the property fall into the bank's hands you don’t have the funds to maintain the property.  

Regarding tanks, the homeowner may have converted to natural gas, leaving the tank in place as it was just another expense.  Fast forward to today, the home is being sold "as is", the bank represents that a tank is onsite, but that’s it.  No warranties regarding contamination are expressed or implied.  

Buyer comes along and tests the tank because they are savvy enough to know tanks can leak and tank leaks are expensive to clean up.  They do a boring and find oil and either want to back out of the deal or want to know the cost for cleanup so they can negotiate the sales, and lower the cost of the purchase.  The problem is all they know is the tank leaked, clearly if the tank didn’t leak no cleanup is required no further worry.  What they don’t realize is that a tank leak is a whole other issue and you have to go into an investigative or diagnostic phase to determine the extent of the contamination.  Budget $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 on average to define (delineate) the contamination so remedial costs can be developed.  Delineation is akin to an architect drafting plans to build a home or an addition.  The architect's plans allow the owner to split costs on construction as the plans define things like the size of the house, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and type of windows, in short, the details that make up the bigger picture.  A delineation says the contamination goes 16’ deep, groundwater is 14’ so you have a groundwater issue, contamination extends 2’ onto the neighbor's property, 6’ under the house, etc. get the picture?  

A tank test says hey there is an oil by the tank, a delineation says where the oil stopped flowing.  It gives you a 3D map you can follow to determine how much soil needs to be removed.

Now, what buyer is going to spend thousands of dollars to figure out remedial costs the bank may not even agree to since the sale is as is?  The answer is not many, people hope that the leak only costs 5k or $10,000.00, when in reality the cost could be $70,000 or $110,000.  You don’t know until you wrap your hands around the size.

Your best outcome is either to bite the bullet and do the delineation so you can actually have real costs to clean up or push the bank to delineate so you can negotiate a purchase price knowing the cleanup is only $42,000.00.   What bank is going to give a mortgage on a property that needs $42,000.00 worth of cleanup?

Now I just discussed neglect of the property during bank ownership.  How about intentional damage?   We see it, you can imagine losing a property is stressful.   Well, it can drive people to do destructive things. Think pulling out the cooper plumbing lines, cutting electrical wires, hammering holes in Sheetrock, and even dumping chemicals in the ground. Yea the last one is real we had a $800,000 property become bank owned, and the owner dumped oil, gas, and other compounds in the ground.  A neighbor told us he drained a boat into the ground and dumped oil out of lawn equipment on the ground.  You really can’t make this stuff up.

Environmental issues relating to real estate are complicated, you can trust issues want a firm with over 2 decades of experience.  Call Curren at 888-301-1050.

 

Environmental liability of bank owned properties

 

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GPR Tank Sweeps

Nov 29, 2022 11:43:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, tank sweeps with GPR, gpr tank scan

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A GPR Tank Sweep uses non-invasive subsurface technology (Ground Penetrating Radar) to locate buried Underground Storage
GPR Tank Sweep
 Tanks (USTs) and subsurface and training to provide the safest and most accurate methods for locating underground storage tanks. It is essential to know the difference between the typical “tank sweep” and what we provide. The typical “tank sweep” is completed with a simple metal detector. If they find something they say, “maybe it’s a tank or maybe something else”. We perform multiple “Area of Concern” investigations each week for clients who had hired (and paid) other tank sweep companies but could not actually determine if there is a tank below the surface.
 
When we perform a tank sweep, we ensure our technicians have removed tanks by working on our field crew.  We are licensed in three states for tank removal and have removed tens of thousands of tanks, we know about tanks.  That fact by itself makes our work better than almost every other company that professes they can locate tanks but can't remove them.
 
Our Geophysical division has over a quarter million dollars in equipment investments to ensure we have access to all the tools in the toolbox.   
 
 Pro Tip:
 To be fair successful tank sweeps rely heavily on the experience of the technician as well as using more than one tool to locate a tank.  
  
Why is Curren so good at Tank Sweeps?
From years of experience, a GPR Tank Sweep by Curren provides the most comprehensive and successful approach.  When we find a tank, you also get a cost to remove it with our report.  We also strive to submit permits for removal within 24 hours of being hired, which is an industry-leading standard.
 
Pro Tip:
When the GPR scans over an oil tank, it provides a very distinct bell curve. Due to its unique dimensions, it is unmistakable from other underground anomalies. 
 

UNDERGROUND TANK LOCATION EXPERTS

GPR Tank Sweep

Photo Jan 18, 9 55 09 AM

A leaking oil tank can be the nightmare below the surface of the property y you are buying.   When oil tanks leak, they contaminate the soil and even the groundwater. Due to what we view as slightly unfair environmental regulations, if a property is purchased with a leaking tank, the new owner is responsible for all environmental cleanup costs.

Environmental cleanup costs can range from what we call a small amount of $10,000 to over $100,000 depending on how much fuel oil leaks into the surrounding soil. This cost is not covered by most homeowner insurance policies.

Don't let this be your house.   

Best gpr tank sweep

Call Curren Today

 

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Do oil tanks exist under buildings?

Nov 2, 2022 3:50:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in oil tank removal nj, oil tank removal pa, underground oil tanks, tank abandoned in place, filled in place tank, pa tank removal, leaking tanks, tank leaks, oil tank leaks

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It is not unheard of that buildings are built on top of oil tanks.  Definitely not a good idea, but the structure was typically built either before environmental regulations or without regard for the regulations, or the oil tank. 

Oil Tanks Under Buildings

Every oil tank that is underground and even under a building has the possibility of leaking.  When a tank leaks you may have to clean up the leak, which requires removing soils (soil remediation).  How do you do soil remediation when you have a structure over the tank?    The photo below is a garage, where the walls were supported and the floor and contaminated soil was removed.  

Oil Leak in Garage

If you want to buy a house with a tank under the house or think of selling a house with a tank in this situation, think again.  The concern with oil tanks is they leak and if they leak you may have to clean them up and that can cost money.  I know a number of properties that owners tried to sell, but having a tank buried under the sunroom was a sticking point and prevented a sale.  The only way these houses went to the settlement table was by having the owner cut open and clean the tank and take samples to show the tank did not leak.  Yes, a project like this can cost thousands of dollars but these are costs that are the responsibility of the property owner even if they never used the tank and bought the house knowing a tank was under a structure. 

In practice, many tanks that are under a garage, house or porch we find are not leaking. Why?  Well because you have an umbrella over the tank being the structure.  The house keeps the tank dry which in turn inhibits rust.  Don't get me wrong some do leak, but the drier any metal is the more corrosion resistance will occur.

oil tank under porch

When decommissioning the tank a confirmation that the tank did not leak can be acquired by soil sampling.  This entails entering and cleaning the tank of all residual petroleum compounds (liquid and sludge).  The empty cleaned tank can then be removed and soil samples acquired from the tank excavation.    But in the case of a tank under a building where removal is not practical, you can cut holes through the shell of the cleaned tank and obtain soil samples.    

So you see there is no reason you can't take soil samples from tanks that have been filled in place.  People who own tanks do not want to take soil samples because they may get bad results.  The saying goes if you do not test you have a 100% chance of finding nothing.

managing oil tanks under houses

 

The photo series below is of a tank under the crawl space floor that was cleaned and tested.  The rub was that the tank leaked and remediation was necessary.  So contaminated soil had to be removed.

 

IMG_0600          IMG_1647

IMG_1660The tank was removed, and the soil contamination removed.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Oil Tanks Under Buildings

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Best Oil Tank Removal

Oct 26, 2022 3:53:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in oil tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal nj, tank removal, oil tank removal pa

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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 $1,800.00. 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 $1,800.00, 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 $1,800.00. 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 small remediation can cost over $8,000.00. 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 have 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, and soil samples and will eventually sit behind a desk to type a report. That all takes time and there is a cost involved. The bottom line make sure the contract includes a report.

Tank removal site assessment soil samples when acquired for independent laboratory analysis provide quantitative, not qualitative data. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have one comparative standard for number two heating oil in the 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 the 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 are 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?Call Curren Today

 

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How long does an aboveground heating oil tank last?

Oct 20, 2022 11:41:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Let's agree nothing lasts forever.  Most people would likely never change the batteries in their smoke detectors if the unit did not beep when the batteries were low.   Additionally, not everyone buys Top of Line products.  Meaning, that you get what you pay for, so cheaper tanks, have shorter warranties than more expensive tanks, and no this is not a generalization it is fact.

A standard tank has a short warranty (10 year)  Residential Oil Tanks | Granby oil tanks | Oil tanks | Granby Industries.   Tanks with 30 to 40-year warranties, well they can be 4 x the cost of cheaper tanks. The average age lifespan of an oil tank is 20 years

If your tank is going to be staged outside or you are on an island, your tank is subject to harsher conditions and you likely should use a tank with a more extended warranty and one that would be more resistant to the elements, but people buy what they can afford.  Painting it is also a good idea, manufactures don’t paint tanks because people want them to match the house and the tanks get scratched before they arrive on a site.

How to Prolong the Life of Your AST

Tanks typically arrive in a primer red color and so many of these tanks never get painted post-installation.  So paint your tank with weather-resistant paint.  Lighter colors are better than darker colors. That said,  a black tank is subject to larger temperature swings than a light-colored tank, meaning more likely to develop condensation and if it's on an island salt air. Remember the tank has a vent so you are subject to moisture in the air. Horizontal tanks have a larger bottom surface area than horizontal tanks so water on the bottom has more surface area to impact, meaning rust.

How long does an AST (Aboveground Storage Tank) Last

Keep the environment where the tank is located as dry as possible.  Clearly outside staged tanks are difficult to control moisture, but indoor tanks can be managed.  Note the tank in the following photo, the tank looks pretty good but the two legs of the tank you can see are clearly rust-stained.  A dehumidifier in the basement would be a form of moisture control.

How to Prolong the Life of Your AST

 

Maintain your oil tank. After you paint it, keep an eye on it, if you see rust forming, alight sand and a coat of paint will help prevent future rust on the exterior.

how to manage a heating oil tank

Keeping the tank near full will also limit the surface area inside the tank where moisture can cause corrosion.  Nothing gets younger, so even a new tank will become old and out of warranty, know the age of the tank and be prepared to replace the tank before it leaks.  Note the photo below of a cut-open AST, note the rust.   Moisture inside the tank as well as low sulfur fuel corrodes the tank. 

Why do tanks leak

 inside of AST with rust

Final note, if you have a heating oil AST that is no longer being used, get it removed.  The largest vessel on your property holds liquid (pools and hot tubs excluded).   These abandoned tanks take up space and will leak and the empty tank you thought you had, well when it leaks you will find that the tank actually had oil in it.

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Tank Removal Costs - find out more about the costs of tank removals. 

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