Hot Environmental Topics

Why is an Oil Tank a concern when Buying a house?

Jun 10, 2024 11:34:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Oil tanks have a finite life span, they rust and they leak.  Did you know the propane tank for your BBQ grill only has a 15-year lifespan?   If you own your BBQ grill propane tank and take it to a home center to get refilled they will not refill tanks older than 15 years.

my oil tank leaked pic2Not shocking, things get old, what is shocking, and mostly to your bank account, is the cost of cleaning up an oil tank leak.   Ever paint and spill paint? You have to clean the paint before it dries or it is too hard to clean up, just as with a stain on your clothes.  Think of that with an oil tank leak. When an oil tank leaks it tends to leak until there is no more liquid left in the tank.  A hole in the bottom of the tank can keep leaking, while slow, it can keep leaking forever.  If there is a hole in the top of the oil tank, either cut out to fill the oil tank or a hole from rust, this will allow the rain or water to fill the hole and the liquid from the oil tank to spill over the top of the oil tank and run down the sides.

100_0669Visualize this, go to your refrigerator pop a pin in a container of milk or orange juice, and walk away.  Come back and you got a big mess.  So when oil leaks you have to excavate soils that have oil impact, gravity pulls the oil down, many times deeper than the foundation of the dwelling requiring structural supports of the dwelling foundation to allow the excavation to be safely advanced DEEPER than the existing foundation.    If it sounds like I am speaking a foreign language, understand this to structurally support a foundation, you need engineering plans, permits, and typical helical piers to support the foundation.  Typical costs?  $11,000 to $20,000.00 on average.  That doesn't include soil excavation, disposal, testing, etc., that is just to dig safely.

The following is from a listing for a home for sale:

Please note, property may have an underground oil tank. No testing has been completed, the seller will not test or allow testing before settlement. Come see this 4 bedroom, 2 full bath home. The home offers a living room, eat-in kitchen, dining room, and family room. The home has a full basement. Located close to local amenities! Home will not be on the market long. Schedule your showing today! The property is being sold As-Is condition. Buyer is responsible for all certifications. The seller never occupied. Neither the seller or listing agent make any representation as to the accuracy of any information contained herein. Buyer must conduct their own due diligence.

Yes, you read correctly, the property has an oil tank and the buyer can't test it.  The buyer won't allow testing because the buyer doesn't want to know if the oil tank is leaking.  Leaking oil tanks cost money to fix and buyers will not proceed with the purchase when there is an unknown liability regarding cleanup of the oil tank leak.  Unfortunately, there is no standard pricing for oil tank leak cleanups.   It's not like a pizza. Looking back over the last 30 days from the date of this writing we have completed oil tank projects that required no remediation, $8,950.00 of remediation, $42,731.00 of remediation, one was $19,564.00 another one was around $13,000.00, a small AST leak was $5,672.00.  The cost to remediate and oil tank leak varies, but to even determine and diagnose the extent of contamination you have to spend several thousand dollars to define the area.   

Do you think digging up the oil that leaked below this garage was inexpensive?

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 The reason there is no home in this photo is that it had to be demolished to remove the contaminated soil from the underground oil tank leaking. 

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With unknown costs for cleanup, you can see why a seller doesn't want to deal with an oil tank.  You can also see how dangerous it is for a buyer to ignore evaluating a property for a tank Tank Sweep, testing a known tank Tank Testing.

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How Long Does a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment  Take to Complete?

May 27, 2024 9:07:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment takes approximately 10-28 Days to complete. How long a Phase I environmental takes depends on the property.  In the year 2023, a property with little history can be completed and delivered in approximately 10 to 14 Days or 2 weeks. A property with lengthy environmental records could take up to 28 days or longer. 

How Long Does a Phase 1 Environmental Take?

Why do some Phase I Environmental take longer?  The more history a site has the more prior data can be available, this information could be in prior environmental reports that the current property owner may not have or may not share.  Prior reports trigger a deep dive into publicly available records such as reports sent to the state environmental agency.  Meaning let's say environmental work was completed and reports sent to the state, so the only prior reports are at the state, and you have to request copies from the state.  That takes time, often weeks to get.

Now someone reading this is going to say they got a Phase I completed much faster, maybe even in a little over a week.  How can some Phase I reports be completed quickly?

Simple sites with no government files to access can be completed in a little over a week as most government agencies are allowed 7 days to respond to public records requests.   In New Jersey, an OPRA request must comply as follows:

Under OPRA, the custodian must respond to the request "as soon as possible," but requesters must receive a response within seven business days after the custodian receives a complete request. That does not mean that a record in storage, or one that is difficult to find, will be available during that time.

Fast Phase I ESA are typically incomplete reports.

Curren reviews thousands of completed Phase I reports for financial clients every year and a common thread in the reports is they have been issued even though OPRA and file reviews have not been finalized.   Meaning data may or may not exist at government agencies, but a report has been issued with the caveat that if files become available an addendum will be issued to the report.  That means two reports could exist.  In practice, no consultant should release Phase I without getting all requested data sets back, but it happens all the time.

Buying a property and need a Phase I?   Be realistic with your time frames, instead of demanding a date as the environmental professional how long they expect the report to take.

Selling a property, expect Phase I will be completed.  Progressive sellers will complete Phase I to both address issues that could arise and to use Phase I to market the property.

Phase I Questions?

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Phase I & II for Leased Spaces

May 14, 2024 8:38:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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If you lease a commercial space, be concerned that you need a baseline of environmental conditions of the property, to avoid future liability.  Although your operations at the site may be innocuous, if contamination is found at the site after you vacate or as you are planning to vacate, the blame can be placed on you.  Think about it what data do you have that would prove otherwise and by data I mean testing.

 

Phase I & II for Leased Spaces

 

This client called our office regarding a commercial space they were looking at leasing:

I am a bit afraid of getting involved with leasing this space.  What is the implication for us as the users if a big environmental issue exists?  

If you have not defined an environmental issue BEFORE you lease a space, you can be pulled into being responsible for the contamination.    Think of yourself as being guilty and having to prove your innocence.  The major big box stores and corporate tenants will do their own environmental investigation of a site before they occupy and yes, this investigation will include soil and groundwater testing.    Deep pocket companies do not want to be pulled into a cleanup that were not associated with and to do that you must baseline the environmental conditions prior to occupancy.

A Phase I and II is designed to establish a baseline of what potential contamination is on a site so that you as the purchaser or lessee do not get hit for a cleanup for something that you did not contribute to.  What if the owner did environmental testing after your lease was done and you moved out and found a significant impact on soil and groundwater?  What evidence would you have to prove that you did not cause that contamination?  A Phase I would have identified potential areas of concern, AOC’s, where contamination may be present.  The Phase II would have confirmed it, both of which would provide you liability protection if it was performed.  The Phase II/Site Investigation (SI) work collects samples to confirm if contamination exists.     Some property owners may or may not agree to have the work done, but most owners will allow you to environmentally baseline a property.  

Read your lease, many have clauses pulling a tenant into being responsible for contamination found on the site, and these clauses do not specify when it occurred or from what.  I have had banks occupy properties as branches and be pulled into cleanup that had no real connected responsivity.

Expert Due Diligence Advice

888-301-1050

 

real estate due diligencePhase I & II for leased property

 

 

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Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards

May 8, 2024 9:19:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, lead paint, Lead paint inspections, Lead wipe sample

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Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards

Many homes and condominiums built before 1978 have lead-based paint. Paint that has chipped or is deteriorating, or on surfaces that rub together such as windows and doors, creates lead dust which can pose serious health hazards to occupants and visitors. Homebuyers and renters have important rights to know about whether lead is present -- before signing contracts or leases.

Home buyers

Federal law requires that when purchasing homes built prior to 1978 be informed of potential lead hazards.  This disclose occurs BEFORE a contract of sale is executed.   Sellers are technically required to provide the following:  (Yes realtors do  a lot when selling  a home)

 

caveat emptor    Dutch boy paint-Apr-23-2024-06-53-37-5147-PM

Provide a copy of the EPA or an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).

Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.  This could be a lead safe cert from an applicable NJ Lead Safe Law property, a copy of any lead risk assessments, or lead-based paint inspections.

You can provide records and reports concerning common areas and other units for multi-unit buildings when information is obtained due to a building-wide evaluation.

Having a Lead Warning statement in the contract of sale and confirms that the seller has complied with all lead notification requirements.

Allow Buyer 10 days to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.   This time frame can be lengthened or shortened if the buyer and seller agree to do so.   Homebuyers can also waive this inspection.

If you have a concern about lead-based paint, stain or varnish you should hire a licensed lead consultant to perform an evaluation and to discuss the hazards of lead.

Lead Expert

888-301-1050

Lead can be found on the periodic table and is a naturally occurring element. Lead was used historically because it had properties that were attractive.  It is moisture-resistant, malleable, easy to work with and rust-resistant.  Lead was used in many products including gasoline, paints (indoor and outdoor), varnishes, piping & pottery. Lead exposure in children can cause nervous system, and kidney damage, as well as learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence. It can also cause behavior, speech, and language problems, hearing damage, decreased muscle and bone growth, and poor muscle coordination.

 

Lead-Based Paint means paint or other surface coating material that contains lead in excess of 1.0 milligrams per centimeter squared or in excess of 0.5% by weight, or such other level as may be established by federal law. The NJ Lead Law assumes lead paint is present. All lead paint inspections include a visual assessment for evaluation of deteriorated paint. The HUD regulation defines deteriorated paint as: "Any interior or exterior paint or other coating that is peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking, or any paint or coating located on an interior or exterior surface or fixture that is otherwise damaged or separated from the substrate."

 

 

 

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How Does the NJ Lead Safe Law affect Real Estate Transactions?

May 8, 2024 9:11:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, Lead wipe sample, Lead Paint Inspection, Lead Free Certification, Lead Free Cert

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New Jersey passed legislation requiring lead inspection of rental properties by June of 2024. Before this,  residential properties had only the Federal Title X to deal with, which allowed a buyer to test for lead in building competent before purchase but did not require the owner to do anything if lead was found.  Owners also have to disclose what they know about lead, which for most properties was nothing because they never did any lead inspections.    This new legislation levels the playing field by supplying owners with lead-based data. 

 

lead paint usage by yearsAny property subject to the NJ Lead Safe Law is now providing property owners inspection reports on lead.  New Jersey lead licensing requires licensed firms to document certain facts regarding inspections nad reports.  In addition, the lead inspections have included dust wipe sampling which tests for lead, these data points are now to be disclosed to future renters and buyers. 

Let me go a step further, the law allows you to obtain a Lead Safe or Lead-Free certificate for target rental units built before 1978.    Lead safe is a never-ending loop of inspections for these properties, every 2 to 3 years.  All inspections carry a cost and the cost is greater if renovation or lead remediation is required post-inspection.  You can imagine a pre-1978 rental property that holds a Lead Free designation is more valuable as it will exempt the property from future inspections.  This golden ticket so to speak is being reached for by landlords in the form of XRF Lead Paint Inspections, which are a surface by surface testing of interior building materials.  A rental property that is two-bedroom could have 200 different tests for lead.    Statistically speaking, the age of the dwelling and painting history are huge factors in your odds of finding lead.  And yes, we are seeing lead in properties where the landlord has professed to the building being totally gutted, completely renovated, we replaced everything. Yet lead we find and a report we must supply, which the landlord must now disclose to all future renters and buyers:

Federal law requires that before signing a lease for target housing, including most buildings built before 1978, renters must receive the following from your landlord:

  • An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards, Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).
  • Any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
    • For multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation.
  • An attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, that includes a "Lead Warning Statement" and confirms that the landlord has complied with all notification requirements.

To make it simple the bolded red statement means before the NJ Lead Safe law landlords knew little about lead other than suspecting lead was present.  Well now the landlord has data points, reports, inspections data, lead wipe sampling and for those striving for LEAD FREE a map of the lead, which must be DISCLOSED.   Sometimes data sets show that lead based hazards were found, or testing found lead dust exceeding applicable standards, which can constitute a lead-based hazard.  

Lead disclosure in Real Estate

What you may not realize are the standards for lead dust wipe samples are very low and have only gotten lower and there is a goal that the standard should be at ZERO, for zero tolerance of residual lead.

The lead safe law is going to buildup data points these landlords/owners must disclose to renters and buyers under federal regulations. This is heavily slanted for those properties wanting to achieve a Lead-Free designation as they will undergo an XRF inspection and the lead will be mapped out in the report, which the owner must share.  More often than not when you do a Lead Paint Inspection, which tests all surfaces for Lead, you realize just how popular lead is in paint, stains, and varnishes.    This is stated because we have inspected many "Totally Gutted", and "Completely Renovated" buildings only to find lead is still present on painted and stained surfaces.

 

If you have to navigate a lead issue, landlord, buyer or seller, call the experts.

 

Lead Experts, Since 1998

888-301-1050

 

Lead Consultant

 

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Lead Free Certification

Mar 8, 2024 4:59:01 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead Paint Inspection, Lead Free Certification, lead free designation, Lead Free Cert

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What is a Lead Free cert?

 

aka how do I get a lead free certification?

 

New Jersey's Lead Safe law is requiring landlords to have lead inspections, basically forever.  When lead is added to paint, stain or varnish, it increases durability, speeds drying time and resists moisture, who wouldn't want it.  Lead was also heavily advertised in paint, think of lead paint as todays Ozempic, people want to try it.

 

leadfree cert nj

 

Although lead was a very popular additive to paint, maybe your house was built closer to the 1978 ban on lead paint (1971 in NJ) or you did extensive interior renovations.  If so, it would worth it to have a lead paint inspection, which entails surface testing of all surfaces inside a building to test for the presence of lead paint. (stains and varnishes as well).

 

A Lead Free Certification is valid for a lifetime.

A property is considered "Lead Free" when the property has been certified by a licensed lead paint inspector as “Lead Free”. This requires a Lead Paint Inspection using an XRF Analyzer to test all surfaces for the presence of lead..

 

At Curren we can discuss your options regarding obtaining a lead free cert and the likelihood of obtaining lead free designation for your property.  We are also fair, if you fail to get lead free or inspectors can pivot and provide lead safe.

lead free certificationhow do i get a lead free certificate?

 

Call the Lead Free Experts

856-858-9509

 

The technical side of a New Jersey Lead Free Certification would go as follow:

 

Lead free would be issued under N.J.A.C. 5:17.

There is a cert (paper form) from a certified NJ lead evaluation company, like Curren Environmental

The inspection required for Lead Free would follow HUD and 5:17 protocols;

The protocols require onsite testing with an XRF gun.  Common XRF units have a radioactive isotope, Curren's units which are saver do not utilize radioactive material.

5:17-3.6 Reports and certificates…

(b) If, upon performance of an inspection of all painted surfaces in accordance with this chapter, a unit or building is determined to be lead-free, the certified lead evaluation firm shall issue certification on a form prescribed by the Department to the owner and, upon request, to any enforcing agency having jurisdiction to enforce lead safety standards at the premises. The certified lead evaluation firm shall report issuance of all such certifications to the Department in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Department. 1. The certificate or report shall be signed and dated and shall identify the building, common area(s) or dwelling unit(s) to which it applies. 2. In order to be certified as lead free, the paint shall be tested for lead content through XRF testing, paint chip analysis or another method of testing the lead content of paint permitted pursuant to this chapter. All such testing shall be performed in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and the protocols established in the HUD Guidelines.

(c) If, upon performance of an inspection and risk assessment in accordance with this chapter, a unit or building is determined to be free of lead-based paint hazards, the certified lead evaluation firm shall issue a certification on a form prescribed by the Department to the owner, and, upon request, to any enforcing agency having jurisdiction to enforce lead safety standards at the premises. The certified lead evaluation firm shall report issuance of all such certifications to the Department in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Department. 1. The certificate or report shall be signed and dated, shall identify the building, common area(s) and dwelling unit(s) to which it applies. The certificate or report also shall include a statement cautioning the owner regarding the need to perform on-going evaluation and maintenance to ensure that the painted surfaces remain in a hazard free condition.

Call the  Experts

856-858-9509

 

lead free cert

 

 

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Unmasking Health Mysteries: Beyond Indoor Mold?

Mar 6, 2024 1:42:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne

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Are you having health issues, such as being sleepy, irritable, angry, tired, achy, or even joint pain? There is a possibility that it could be airborne mold spores that are making you feel ill, but what if it’s not airborne mold spores?

Curren Environmental fields many calls where the client hasn’t been feeling well has several health symptoms, and has not had any findings as to what is causing these symptoms. Google is a great resource and people find that they may have health issues due to mold growth. People then hire a mold inspector to visually inspect the home and provide air samples of some sort. Air sampling is when a machine is used to capture air in a small capsule, which is sent to the laboratory to look for mold spores. Every house will have some sort of airborne mold spores, no home is completely mold-free.

Photo Feb 09 2024, 10 26 22 AMOnce the inspection is complete, you should receive a report detailing what was done during the mold inspection and the interpretation of the lab data. Curren finds many inspectors leave out the interpretation of the lab data, which is pertinent information for the homeowner.

Per the mold inspection report, and the lab data, no visual mold is present and the airborne mold spore lab data shows airborne mold spores below industry standards and complying with typical indoor airborne mold spores – what do you do next?

Some homes accrue large amounts of dust. What is dust? Dust in homes is composed of about 20–50% dead skin cells. So most of the dust is from you, your family, and the animals that share your home with you. If the dust is not cleaned, it can lead to insect growth and a larger problem, health issues. Curren recommends periodically cleaning the interior of your home when mold is not present but dust and dirt are, dust can cause allergies and health issues as well. The CDC says “Maintaining safe cleaning habits helps remove most germs, such as harmful viruses or bacteria, on household surfaces”.

If you have health problems and have exhausted your investigations, it might be time for a deep cleaning.

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Test or Remove an Oil Tank when buying a property?

Mar 5, 2024 10:48:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in buying house with oil tank, oil tank testing

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Most buyers are turned off by oil tanks and mortgage lenders don't like oil tanks either. In most cases, the best choice is to have the oil tank decommissioned or removed – and this is what experienced educated realtors and 90% of attorneys will advise.    Now you may ask "Why remove an oil tank when you can have the oil tank tested for leaks"?   Curren Environmental fields that question many times a day, the answer isn't what you think. 

IMG_6679-3Curren Environmental owns equipment that tests soil for contamination from oil tanks, and equipment to remove oil tanks. Curren can easily get paid to test the oil tank for soil contamination and remove the oil tank after settlement, but that is not what Curren recommends.  It is best if I provide scenarios that explain the process and reasoning for removal over testing an oil tank.

 

House for sale with abandoned not in use oil tank.

Photo Aug 23, 11 50 20 AMIn this situation, the owner (or prior owner) stopped using the oil tank and maybe went to an above-ground storage tank (AST) or converted to natural gas.  If they replaced the oil tank with an AST it is likely because the underground oil tank (UST) had problems, either leaking or taking on water in the oil tank. No one wants to spend money for the sake of spending money.  Why would you want to waste money to test the oil tank, because if it's leaking it would need to be removed anyway?  The professional recommendation is to remove and test under the tank.  The property owner should have removed the oil tank when they stopped using the oil tank rather than shifting the buyer to the cost of removing the oil tank and testing for soil contamination.

I cannot think of any reason why you would choose to test an oil tank rather than just remove the oil tank.

House for sale with an in-use heating oil tank.

2016-10-07 10.31.47The house in this situation is circa 1900, I would estimate the home was heated by wood or coal with an oil conversion after WWII, say the tank was installed in 1950, making the oil tank 74 years old.  This means the oil tank should be retired and collecting social security.  Clearly, the oil tank should be removed and replaced, because even if the oil tank test passes, it would be recommended to remove the oil tank. After all, the oil tank is beyond any expectation of a reusable lifespan.  The oil tank is likely leaking, because what do you have that is 74 years old and is functionally brand new - I'd love to hear about it!

Removing a tank, that is being used triggers the need to replace the heating source, which might mean installing a new AST or converting to another fuel source like propane or natural gas.  Expenses for sure, but someone has been living on borrowed time and has not replaced an old tank.  Know that a brand new oil tank today would have a 10 or 20-year warranty, a 50+ warranty, does not exist.  Would you feel comfortable driving a car that is 20+ years old? 

You may ask if the oil tank is a replacement oil tank for another oil tank that can still be located on the property.

newer ast-1Unless you have paperwork saying the oil tank was replaced, it's the original, I can only recall two people in the past 35 years who replaced their UST with another UST and in both cases, they replaced it because the 1st oil tank leaked and it was dug it up and installed the new tank in the same excavation.  Years later when we removed oil tank #2, boom oil was found in the soils.

House for sale with an in-use heating oil tank, owner will not allow removal, your only option is testing.  Know all oil tank testing limitations.

tank layout-3The concern regarding an oil tank is all things have a finite lifespan and require replacement. You can complete a limited subsurface investigation, a technical name for a tank test, around the current location of the number two heating oil Underground Storage Tank, (UST), 

I state limited, as you cannot drill beneath the oil tank, nor between the tank and the dwelling as that is where the feed lines run from the oil tank to the heater so the borings do not provide 100% coverage as oil can be located in these areas. Please note that any detection of oil is indicative of a release and is reportable to NJDEP.    Our proposed borings will be advanced along the three sides of the tank.

testing oil tank house purchase

10 facts about oil tank testing

  1. Testing is just delaying the removal of the oil tank.
  2. 90% of the time when you test an oil tank and find it leaked, the client bemoans they wasted their money, which should have been spent on removal.
  3. If you test and find a leak, it is required by law to be reported to the state.
  4. To test you need a public utility mark out which takes a minimum of 3 business days to complete, so you have to wait several days to test.
  5. Soil sample analysis at a lab takes about 5 to 7 business days and it used to take 10 days, so add another week in delays.
  6. You typically test a oil tank on a property you do not own, so you need permission to do so, surprising how many owners do not want to let you test.
  7. Check your sales contact, you can test, but the seller likely has not agreed to paying for anything relating to removal or remediation.  So you just lost your money.
  8. When you test an oil tank, it is pass or fail.  If the oil tank fails, you will not know the cost to remediate it as that is a different scope of work.  Expect a second mobilization and thousands of dollars to diagnose the remediation needs.
    Splitting oil tank removal cost with seller is usually cheaper than just testing the tank.
  9. Data gaps exist in all testing, as you cannot test under the tank or between the house and the tank, leaving you open to liability.  

 

 

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What Is A Sewer Line Scope Inspection?

Jan 24, 2024 2:55:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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What Is A Sewer Line Scope Inspection & Do I Need One?

One of the oldest mission-critical pieces of plumbing is your sewer line. It is also as old as your house (most likely) and used daily. Mission critical when it does not function, it means you know what.   Home inspections while a prudent due diligence step in buying a property do not inspect buried sewer lines as part of a typical inspection. The inspection of sewer lines is a separate inspection and is commonly referred to as a Sewer Line Scope.

What Is A Sewer Scope?

A sewer line scope inspection, or plumbing scope inspection, uses a flexible borescope camera, which is run through the home’s main drainpipe aka sewer lines. The inspection as its name implies scopes the sewer line looking for cracks, damage, blockage, caves in, dips, or roots.

How is a Sewer Line Scope Performed?

The inspector will insert a flexible rod with a waterproof high-resolution camera into the sewer line from the house to your main sewer line. Many cameras are 100' long so that is a typical inspection distance.  The camera provides real-time images of the sewer line.  I'll be real it's not a riveting film for sure, but the real horror is when the cameras detect roots, debris, and failure of the sewer line.  In short the inspection allows the inspector to determine the condition of the inside of the pipe and look for any problems.

residential sewer line scope      sewer line inspections

Should I Get A Sewer Line Scope?

Fast answer yes, there is no reason not to, even on newer construction.  We have seen the failure of lines on older homes and dips on sewer lines at new construction (likely from heavy equipment traversing the site and the trench of the line settling). The point is that if you don’t know 100% your sewer line is 100%, you need to know. You sewer line which is typically made of cast iron, PVC, less common or older homes terra-cotta, or Orangeburg. So you have a variety of pipe materials utilized, some better than others but all subject to age, wear, and tear.   You might brag about a new patio or deck, you won’t about a $12,000 sewer line replacement. Yes, you read correctly, you can pay North of $10,000 to replace a sewer line. Knowing that you can see the advantage of inspecting the sewer line.

sewer line scope NJ

What will a sewer line inspection provide you? Sewer Inspection

Most sewer inspections are recorded so you can see where the deficiency in the line is located and if perhaps the line is failing in multiple locations. The point is you can actually see if the pipe is clear or not.

sewer line scope

If you are buying a home a sewer line inspection is a wise inspection to perform. Many home inspectors perform sewer line scope and they should be your first point of contact for the performance of this inspection.

If you are a Home Inspector and perform this service, please leave a comment with your contact information and what areas you service.

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Does my home contain lead-based paint? 

Jan 10, 2024 10:48:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, lead paint, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead safe, lead visual inspection, lead risk assessment, NJ Lead Law, lead paint wipe sample, NJ Lead Safe cert

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Where do you find lead in a home?

It is found in the air (briefly), soil (brought in from outside), dust (the rubbing of painted surfaces generates dust that can contain lead), and the paint (typically beneath newer coats of latex paint, that will chip off or lose adhesion from the building material substrate) of some homes or buildings built before 1978 (Lead paint was banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1978). It has been well-established that exposure to lead can cause serious health problems.

 What are popular times when lead paint was used?

Lead in paint was popularized during colonial times for use in interiors and exteriors of homes, due to its durability. 

 Why was lead even added to paint and stains?

Think about painting, do you want the paint or stain to dry fast, so you can add a second coat or just to put stuff back in the room?   Do you want the paint or stain to be water resistant so if you leave a window open and water hits the window well or sill it resists water damage?   Do you want the surface to be durable and wear like iron, ahem lead. How about making the surfaces washable?   All these desirable features were obtained when you added lead to paint and stain.

 Does my home contain lead-based paint?How can I tell if my home contains lead-based paint?

 What is the most common lead exposure to humans?

Lead dust is the most common way that people are exposed to lead. Inside the home, most lead dust comes from chipping and flaking paint or when paint is scraped, sanded, or disturbed during home remodeling. Chipping and peeling paint are found mostly on surfaces that rub or bump up against another surface.

 

Identifying Lead Paint: What Does Lead Paint Look Like?

 

Which route of exposure is the most common for lead?

Lead exposure in humans and most importantly in children occurs primarily through ingestion. On a normal day dust can be generated by rubbing of leaned coated surfaces, such as doors, windows, and floors (yes lead was used in stains and the friction on floors wears them down and generates dust). This dust can enter your body by touching it and hand-to-mouth activity.

Young children crawling on the floor and playing on the floor are exposed to the dust making it the most common route of exposure. Lead also has a sweet taste so hand to mouth activity of young children is increased due to the flavor profile.   Adults are less likely to be crawling on the floor or chewing on paint chips, but if the dust is airborne from cleaning, lead can be inhaled. If dust is on an adult's hand and hand-to-mouth action incurs lead can be ingested.   Renovation of buildings that contain lead, including component removal and replacement, sanding for painting, demolition, etc. will generate dust that can be inhaled or ingested.  

Where is lead hiding?

It can be found in dirt and dust, some things we eat, paint in old houses, and contaminated water. Even very small amounts of lead are not safe for children. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems.

 Should I have a lead paint inspection performed?

You have to ask yourself if you know where lead is or isn't how is that information going to be used?

A lead paint inspection would tell you where lead is or isn't.  Any construction, repair, or renovation work can disturb lead paint and produce lead dust.  Lead dust inhaled or ingested has well-documented health effects in humans and children in particular.    So knowing where lead is when disturbing building materials has huge value.

How do you remove lead dust from a house?

You can use a special vacuum cleaner called a High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (HEPA) vacuum to clean up lead dust. The HEPA vacuum has a special filter that can pick up and hold small pieces of lead. Another option is to use a wet/dry vacuum in the wet setting to clean up the wash or rinse water.

Lead Questions? Call the Experts

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 What houses have lead poisoning?

Any house or apartment built before 1978 could have lead paint. Houses and apartments built before 1960 have the most lead paint. Common household repairs (like painting or fixing a door that sticks to the doorframe) can produce lead dust or paint chips. This dust and paint chips can contain lead.

Do all homes built before 1978 have lead?

In the environmental industry, you presume it is present until proven otherwise, so the answer is you presume it to be present.   That said although the paint was banned lead paint still existed and may be brought to a home built in 1979 from a home built before 1978. You may also have an heirloom piece (an old fixture of some sort from a pore 1978 home installed in your post-1978 home that has lead paint or varnish. Think doors, old windows, corner cabinets, mantels, etc..

How to know if you have lead paint

I gutted my house, how can it still have lead?

As you scrape, drill, cut, open walls, remove trim, demolish, or perform other renovation activities, you create dust that may contain lead and may remain in the dwelling. Think about lead touching every surface (lead paint on wood, plaster, stairs, etc.), and lead stain or varnish on floors, stairs, and doors.   Now think, did you remove all these surfaces?   Did you gut the closets, and replace the stairs, including your painted basement stairs? How about painted surfaces in the basement? Basement walls, stairs, ceiling, windows, are they painted with lead paint?

The timeline below shows how popular lead paint was in the United States. Clearly, as you approach 1978 lead usage decreased.

Lead paint testing

 

Lead Questions? Call the Experts

856-858-9509

 

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