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David C Sulock


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Should you be concerned an oil tank was replaced?

Jun 28, 2022 11:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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It is not uncommon that Curren receives phone calls regarding a person purchasing a home with an in-use oil tank.  The common question is that even though the house has a new tank and should they be concerned about any other tanks on the property?   Another question asked is how long the new tank will be expected to last?

Should I be concerned a tank was replaced?

But our reality for the real concern is why was the old tank replaced?

In our culture we rarely replace an item before it breaks, newer and better cell phones excluded.

As an environmental company, we find that the replacement of an oil tank is because there was an issue with the old tank, but what was the issue with that old tank? Perhaps water entered the tank and the heater shut off or perhaps they noticed a loss of oil.    Maybe sludge built up in the tank and the heater could no longer pull oil from the tank for fuel.

Not to be a pessimist, but in our 30-plus years in business, we have found most people replace tanks because they had to, meaning the tank had a problem.   Think about yourself, have you replaced a heater or water heater before it had a problem?  How about a dishwasher or washer and dryer?  Well, the same reasoning occurs with oil tanks.

Replaced oil tanks are a red flag

Whatever the cause we have found that we have an approximate 70% probability of finding contamination from the old tank.  This means if the old tank is still in the ground we remove it and find contamination.   We find the tank was removed from the ground sometime in the past, we do soil borings and find contamination.   This also relates to Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs).  We find contamination may have leaked from AST both outside and inside the home.      Tank owners for sure hope no one looks for contamination, but when we have a client buying a home or even selling a home, we have "the Talk" about tanks leaking and contamination associated with the leak.  The expense of a clean-up?   Well on average you could buy a new Tesla with the money spent to clean up a tank leak. 

 

The photo below was a leaking tank and yes the cost was equal to a Tesla.

why are new oil tanks a concern?

We had a young couple buy a home that had an in-ground tank (UST) and an in-use AST.  Curren removed the tank before purchase and bingo it leaked.   We returned to define the contamination and yes it migrated to the neighbor's property (just by a few feet).  Clean-up was budgeted at $42,000.   Now the parents of the young couple and the attorney want a conference call, to discuss the cleanup.  A posed question was "Is this a large cleanup"?   Our answer is no.   SILENCE.   The family and attorney for the buyers were taken back since that much money could redo a bathroom or kitchen or both, which by the way the house needed.    So they were surprised a tank leak could cost so much and they were also taken back by thinking a newer tank was better.

Look, if you manage tanks in three states for over three decades and you become an expert.

Call the experts  at 888-301-1050

*Oh and yes the photo below is from one of our projects in the 1990s.

DCP_0384

 

 

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Mold Disclosure New Jersey

May 23, 2022 9:28:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, Mold Testing, mold expert

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New Jersey allows sellers of real estate properties to complete a Property Condition Disclosure Statement.  The property disclosure statement relative to mold references he following. 

NJ Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement
(N.J.S.A. 56:8-19.1) A. 2685 

Yes    No         
[ ]      [ ]               9)        Are you aware of any water leakage, accumulation or 
                                       dampness within the basement or crawl spaces or any 
                                       other areas within any of the structures on the property? 

[ ]      [ ]               9a)      Are you aware of the presence of any mold or similar 
                                         natural substance within the basement or crawl spaces 
                                         or any other areas within any of the structures on the 
                                          property? 

As revised, N.J.S.A. 56:8-19.1 newly requires that if a filled-in property condition disclosure statement indicates the seller’s awareness of water leakage, accumulation or dampness, the presence of mold or other similar natural substance, or repairs or other attempts to control any water or dampness problem on the real property, the involved real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson is required to provide the buyer with a physical copy of the Department of Health’s "Mold Guidelines for New Jersey Residents" pamphlet. 

Mold Disclosure & Consumer Fraud

New Jersey consumer fraud law bans the "concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any … real estate." N.J.S.A. 56:8-2. 

The administrative rules of the Real Estate Commission provide that real estate licensees must disclose all information “material to the physical condition of any property which they know or which a reasonable effort to ascertain such information would have revealed to their client or principal and when appropriate to any other party to a transaction.” N.J.A.C. 11:5-6.4.  The concern raised by this requirement is that a real estate broker or agent might be called on to answer to a defrauded buyer for passing along bad information originating with the seller. 

  1. Mold disclosure in a typical real estate transaction
  2. Seller answers no regarding water or mold
  3. Home goes under contract
  4. Buyer does due diligence including a mold inspection.
  5. Mold is found and a repair request presented to the seller
  6. Maybe because of mold, maybe another issue but the transaction falls apart and the property is an active listing.

The seller now has to disclose the mold even if it was not disclosed previously. If it is disclosed, the Realtor would need to provide the buyer with the mold guidelines.

Mold growth is due to a water issue, mold will grow back if the water issue is not fixed. After disclosure of mold growth by seller, ask how the water issue was fixed and for some paperwork. Regarding the mold remediation, ask the seller for paperwork from the mold remediation company. The company should provide information on the remediation was performed and warranties on the products used during remediation.

Disclosure of mold by the Seller should not make your run from the property, if you have the proper paperwork backing up that it was remediated and the water issue was fixed, it shouldn't be an issue in the future.

 

Mold Collage-2

 

 

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Should I Replace my heating oil tank?

Apr 20, 2022 11:04:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Should I Replace my Aboveground heating oil tank?

Received a phone call from a property owner in Massachusetts, who had an Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) and wanted to know what he should do with it.  There was no natural gas in his area and he has read a lot about Underground Storage Tanks (USTS) leaking and wanted to know if the same rang true for AST's.

My question was how old was the tank?

      He said over 30 years.

I said is your car that old?

      He laughed he said he has a car that is approaching  20 years old.

I asked if he felt comfortable driving that car to Florida or California.  His answer was he would not be comfortable as the car did not perform like new anymore.  Well, I said neither is your AST.  It has rust inside and out, it is well out of warranty and it has no warning system to alert you when it is going to leak.  The photo below is from a crawlspace, you can see the rust on the tank.  Why would there not be rust, it was in a crawlspace, which is moist.  

When to replace an AST

He wanted to know when the tank leaks -  will it be drip or a flow of oil, I said it could be either one.  He didn't like that answer.

My point being is If you want to store hundreds of gallons of oil, you must ensure the tank is capable of doing that.  Older tanks degrade.  You can see visible rust on the tank exterior, including the legs which support the tank.    In this case the tank did not spring a hole but the leg rusted and gave out, causing the tank to discharge.  A tank is a system consisting of the tank, piping and supports (legs), you only need the weakest link to fail to have a problem. 

AST rusty leg

The result of the tank leaking?   Well oil leaked into a sub pump which then pumped the oil outside.  

Home heating oil AST leak

Not many people are conditioned to fix something that is not broken, but if you wait for a heating oil AST to fail, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars.   When you replace a tank, you get a warranty, which is nice when you go and sell the property.

Look we don't even install AST's, we remove them, but it is a great idea to replace a tank before it fails.   want to lean about closure of AST's?   Click the link below

AST Removal

Call Curren Today

Curren Equipment

 

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Is my business subject to ISRA?

Apr 13, 2022 10:34:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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NJ ISRA: The ISRA process begins with determining if the Act applies to your type of business and transaction. The provisions of ISRA only apply to industrial establishments. What is an industrial establishment? The term "industrial establishment" refers to the type of business operation and transactions that would subject a facility to review under ISRA. An industrial establishment must meet each of the following three criteria: The place of business or real property at which such business is conducted, having a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code listed in N.J.A.C. 7:26 B - Appendix C subject to the specified exceptions and limitations. The place of business must have been engaged in operations on or after December 31, 1983; and the place of business must involve the generation, manufacturer, refining, transportation, treatment, storage, handling, or disposal of hazardous substances or hazardous wastes.

What is ISRA?

The Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) is a unique environmental law which requires the remediation of certain business operations (site) prior to their sale or transfer or upon its cessation of on site business operations. Industrial Establishment is the defined term in the ISRA rule that describes those businesses regulated under ISRA.  Compliance with ISRA begins at the time of specified triggering events. 

Who Must Comply with ISRA?

Any person who owns the industrial establishment, owns the real property of an industrial establishment or is the operator of the industrial establishment must comply with ISRA.   Kind of vague

ISRA Question?  Call 888-301-1050

Aside from NJDEP notification of the ISRA occurring, you will start an environmental audit of the property called a Preliminary Assessment or PA.  The purpose of a PA is to conduct a site assessment that meets the diligent inquiry requirements of the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (TRSR) at N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1 and 3.2 to determine if there may be any potentially contaminated areas of concern (AOC) located on the subject site that require further investigation.  What does that mean, imagine getting all the doctors you deal with (eye, dentist, surgeon, general practitioner, etc.) and having them inspect you, yep that's what a PA is.   Now the PA is historical  assessment and current site conditions assessment which like going to your doctor may lead to testing.

 

Is my business subject to ISRA?           what is ISRA

Recognized Environmental Concerns (REC)

A REC is defined as “the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on, or at a property due to (1) any release to the environment, (2) under conditions indicative of a release to the environment, or (3) under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment

Everything you wanted to  know about ISRA but were afraid to ask.

ISRA Overview

 

 

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How do you know if your tank is leaking?

Apr 5, 2022 10:02:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, leaking tanks, tank leaks, oil tank leaks

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So many people continue to use Underground Storage Tanks (USTS), with the belief that the tank is in 100% working order, meaning no leaks.    How do you know if your tank is leaking -   Ninety-nine percent of the time you have no idea if your underground oil tank is leaking.   Let's be real, your smoke detector chirps when the battery is low, does your oil tank have an alarm or notification system?

Case in point, the following photos show a tank that is in use and was being replaced with an Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) for a future real estate transaction.  The photo below shows the tank fill pipe poking out of the ground about 18" high and in front of the rear stairs, pretty obvious a tank is present.

how do you know a tank is leaking?

 

This tank gets removed, and we find that the tank was filled with oil, this oil was going to get transferred to the new AST.

How do you know if your oil tank is leaking?

So again, tank was being removed proactively, no signs the tank was leaking.  Tank gets removed, soils are a course sand.

2021-08-31 15.15.49

Here is the tank out of the ground after removal.  What you need to note on the tank is the wetness on the top of the tank in the photo.  To you you see the top, but it is the bottom of the tank.   The wetness on the bottom of the tank is actually oil.   Note how soils are sticking to the tank.

what are signs that a oil tank is leaking.Call Curren Today

So if you were on site and wiped you hand across the wetness, it would feel slick and smell oily.  Almost dead center of the photo below you can see the corrosion hole in the tank, almost big enough to put your finger through.  Now this hole was not always so large, it started as a pin hole, working through the tank as corrosion removed layer after layer of steel.  Once the hole advances through the tank shell, oil drips out, saturating soils, causing the soil to bind to the tank and form a plug that slows the oil leak, but does not stop it.

you do not know when a buried oil tank starts to leak

This tank, which was holding most of the oil, was slowly dripping oil for years.  The owner had no idea, because the hole was at the bottom of the tank, so water would not enter the tank and shut off the heater, the oil loss were drips, not dozens of gallons a day.  If you lost 70 or 10 gallons, you would notice, ounces a day, goes unnoticed.  Don't believe me?  Answer these questions.

  • How many gallons of gas are in your car right now?
  • When did or does the warranty on your car expire?  Oh the expiration of the warranty on your oil tank?
  • Wait, does your oil tank have a warranty?
  • How old is the tank?  Did the old owner replace the tank?  If so when?  Did you even ask?
  • Do you have any salad dressing in the refrigerator that have expired?

Not trying to be funny, just making a point, that you don't pay attention to the mundane.   When your computer hard drive crashes, its a catastrophe,   well the same goes for your oil tank.  Rust never sleeps and the majority of tanks are well out of warranty and even farther out of the engineered design life expectancy.

Tanks are out of sight out of mind and people think they have a handle on the tank being in good condition, they think oil usage is normal no water in the tank are all signs the tank is not leaking.  Well water enters only of there is a hole in the top of the tank that would allow water to drain into, oil usage you only notice sudden drops in liquid, which is not the norm for a tank leak.  To be fair commercial tanks have expensive electronic leak detection systems, residential tanks do not.  To think you have a grip on how much oil your using, it giving yourself a little too much credit.

 

Some advice for knowing if your tank is at risk of leaking.

  • Is the tank under warranty?
  • Was the roof replaced?  If so the tank should have been replaced?
  • Are you placing anything in the tank to prevent corrosion from the inside?
  • Do you get the tank leak tested every year?

A no to any of these questions means you should replace the tank.  You can install a new Aboveground Tank that has a 30 or 40 year warranty, yes they cost money, but less than having to remediate a tank leak.  Tank leaks cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Call the experts   888-301-1050

How do you know if your tank is leaking?

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Why is my Oil Tank Leaking?  AST

Mar 25, 2022 3:01:31 PM / by David C Sulock

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Rust never sleeps, your above ground oil tank, either in your basement or outside will corrode not just on the outside, but from the inside out.  Nothing lasts forever and it is estimated that over 80% of aboveground heating oil tanks are beyond their designed life expectancy.   Those that are storing oil in vessels, will likely have that vessel fail without notice.  Your smoke alarm will chirp when the battery is low, your oil tank will leak without such notification.

The photo below is from a crawlspace tank that leaked, the oil ran to the crawlspace sub pump where it was discharged to the backyard.  The red you see is oil, heating oil is dyed red for identification.

basement oil tank leak

What does an Aboveground Tank Leak?

Water damage and condensation are two of the most common reasons that cause a tank to rust.  Outside, your tank is exposed to rain,  snow and ice. That can pile up on the tank during winter and can mean your aboveground tank stays in constant contact with water for months.   In a basement, humidity (which also allows mold to grow) can corrode the tank shell, and moisture inside the tank will allows sludge to form that is acid and corrode the tank from the inside out.   Yep your oil tank is not lubricated on the inside. 

This is the inside of an oil tank, all the rust colored metal, its rust people inside the tank rust.

100_6176-1

leaking basement oil tank

Winter is the most popular time for an oil tank to fail.   It is common when the weather changes that metal expands and contracts, opening up corrosion points in the tank shell and oil leaks. This is very common in the Northeastern United States from January through Spring.   You see the metal of the tank contracts in winter with the cold, warm days allows the metal to expand.  This contraction and expansion happens on the liquid in the tank as well as on the tank shell.  In areas where the metal has rusted (think layers of an onion) this movement can allow the integrity of the tank to be breached.   We see this every winter, some tanks are in use so hundreds of gallons of oil putting pressure against the shell of the tank further stresses the corrosion of the tank.   Fortunately sometimes these leaks start as a slow drip, other times as a steady stream of oil, as more and more oil moves through the corrosion holes, the holes get bigger.

Call Curren Today

The extreme temperatures that occur during the winter can also cause problems. Over time, rapid heating and cooling can cause cracks to form in the equipment, leading to leaks. Combined with moisture damage, one bad winter could mean you have to replace your tank, even if it’s still new.

How do you Know if Your Aboveground Tank is Leaking?

A leak in an above ground storage tank, or AST, can be determined in a few different ways.  First, do you smell oil?   Any home with oil heat can have a faint smell of oil (faint), but a strong oil odor, well that means fresh oil is leaking from the tank hence the strong odor.   Even a small cap full of fuel oil has an extremely pungent odor.  Discoloration of the floor below the tank is another easy cue that the tank has a leak.  If you open your refrigerator and see milk on the shelf, its a safe bet to say the milk container is leaking.    Outside your home if the grass is brown or dead by the tank, that s a sign oil has leaked.    You can also do your own tank leak test.   Simple DIY heating oil AST leak test, take a paper towel and run it along the bottom of the tank like you were polishing the tank.  If you get any oil on the towel, well its leaking oil should be on the inside of the tank not the outside.

Now if the tank is like the one below, you will have  a rough time wiping the tank due to all the rust.  Well this is a trick question because if you feel the corrosion, you should know the tank is rusting away and time to replace the tank.

 

Aboveground tank leaks

Have tank Questions?

Want to remove a tank?

Call the experts

888-301-1050

best tank removal

 

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First Time Home Buyer Environmental Tips

Mar 16, 2022 10:45:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Buy a home, you are a home owner you are also a property manager, unfortunately the home didn't come with an instruction manual.  Don't you wish a baby came with an instruction manual?

Your first or fifth home all hold similar responsibilities in property management and I have seen all sorts of mismanagement by new and veteran homeowners, simple because no one was trained on how to manage a home.   case in point maybe your neighbors yard looks better than yours, not because it is professionally done but rather your neighbor has more knowledge regarding lawn and yard care, hey its not rocket science but there is some science to it and when was the last time you took a science class?

Raise your Homeownership Property IQ

Chemical Storage  (Cleaners, paints, fuels, chemicals, pesticides, etc.)

Yes you own a home, so you own chemicals, more so than when you and I am not 100% talking about cleaning compounds, although Lysol and anything that kills Covid has an EPA registration number meaning there is some hazard.  You know that left over paint can with the dried paint?   Yes the paint can is not 100% air tight and will slowly release compounds in the air, as will many other chemical storage container.  (Had a guy getting sick in his basement office because it had 27 cans of paint, some mold as well but more about that later.  I am going to use chemical as a broad term to refer to anything you are not eating or using to do laundry, leaves a long list of things doesn't it.

Simple chemical storage solution  store chemicals together away from living area, garage or shed is best, this way you are not breathing anything that can off gas from the containers (gas cans should be stored outside the footprint of the home).  90% of homes we inspect do not follow this rule.

Take an inventory of your chemicals, including partially used paint cans, if you no longer use the color, get rid f it.  (latex paint cans can be opened and left to dry and disposed of by most municipal trash collection), household hazardous waste days are common and will accept most all chemicals homeowners want to disposal.  Longer you live in a home more chemical you collect, buy a home, well prior owner will leave a slew of items they didn't want but thought you would, go through it and get rid of what you don't need.    And yes most everything can have an expiration date so that pesticide you maybe saving has likely lost efficacy (the ability to produce a desired or intended result), dispose of it properly.

Water Management aka Preventing Mold

Mold can grow anywhere in your house if water is present and 60 to 70% of home we perform mold inspections at have mold, so how can you be the mold police?

On a rainy day (I mean a rain event of an hour or more), go outside and walk around your house.  If you see water pooling within a few feet or even next o the dwelling foundation you must adjust the outside grade because you don't want water by your foundation.    Water saturated soil can freeze in winter causing soils to heave and can crack your foundation (we see this all the time).   Also any water near your foundation can enter your home, which can burn out your sump pump, damage finished area and cause mold.  Know this a mold problem is a water problem.  Remember I said go outside after its been raining an hour?  Well if you see water by the foundation imagine what happens if it rains for 8 hours?

Take note of your gutters, if water is pouring out of the lengths, you likely have a clog or the gutter are undersized and can't mange the water, this is a situation where size does matter bigger is better.  I have seen new $850,000 homes with undersized gutters because the builder saw a way to save money and aside from us, most people don't look at gutters.

Exhaust Fans

100% of the time they must exhaust to the outside.  Cooking adds moisture to the air increasing humidity which can foster mold growth, many kitchen exhausts only recirculate air.   Bathroom fans if people use them often are exhausted to the attic fueling mold.   

first time home buyer environmental hazards

Did you know you can install a humidistat controlled switch for your bathroom fan, click it on after you shower and it turns off when humidity drops, you will never get that naked chill again.

Pro Tip:

Turn on your bathroom fan and hold a paper towel up to it, if it clings to the fan, good fan, if it doesn't the fan sucks and not in the good way.  Yes bigger bathroom needs a bigger fan, 1 CFM per square foot of room. So a 50-79 sq. ft. bathroom would need a fan with a 50 to 80 CFM rating.

Attic:

Regarding mold, attics are one of the top three areas we find mold growth.    After we remediate (Average cost to remediate an attics is about $3,000.00 plus or minus, gain size matters) the remedy to prevent further growth is better air (humidity management).  Aside from venting the bathroom exhaust outside, ridge vents on the roof, humidistat controlled exhaust fans are huge lines of defense.  Even insulating the hatch to the attic helps because warm air during the heating season can migrate to the attic (heat rises) mixing with cold winter air which drops out moisture, fueling mold.

Do I need a humidifier?

If you have  basement, yes.    Because the soils outside your foundation hold moisture and moisture goes where it isn't.  Even if you have a finished basement with heating and cooling the area will never be the same temperature as upstairs.  Also basements without dehumidifiers invariably have mold.

Pro Tip:

Buy a dehumidifier that is sufficient for size of the room and use the supplied hose to drain it to a sump or sink.

Dehumidifier-jpg

*Remember there is a dust filter on the front of every dehumidifier, which you should remove and wash every 3 months.

HVAC The Lungs of the Home  aka how do I make my home healthier

Everyone is concerned about health, but no one thinks much about the HVAC system in a home.  The HVAC is managing the air you breath in the home and most HVAC systems are sub par in adding any real health benefits.  This topic could cover a whole article so I am just going to provide an overview.

  1. Filters should be replaced every 3 to 6 months depending on the MERV rating.  No one remembers, so you should always write the date of last filter change on the filter and think about changing the filter when you pay your property taxes.
  2. Operating a whole house humidifier on the HVAC System (forced hot air only) keeps optimal humidity in winter, viruses thrive in low humidity environments.
  3. Increase the efficiency of your HVAC filter, most 1" filter catch the golf ball size particulate, look into having a MERV 16 filter installed.  What is MERV 16, think of it as installing an N95 Mask to your HVAC system.  Think about what that filters.

Home Energy Efficiency

You own a home, and your utility bill is likely higher than where you lived before.  Statistically we use less electricity today than 10 years ago due to lower energy demand of newer electronics and the availability of energy efficient products.  So lets start with the low lying fruit of home energy efficiency.

  1. Replace high use lighting with LED which can be 80% more efficient that historic lighting.  What is high use areas?  Kitchen, front door light, primary bath lighting, bedrooms, home office, hallways.  All these are common left on when no one is in the room or home, so consider that when replacing bulbs.  really most every bulb could be replaced.
  2. Smart Thermostats, they can save 10% annually on heating and cooling.
  3. Water Heater Blanket, if your water heater does not have an extra insulation layer, you are losing energy

Pro Tip:

Consider an on demand hot water heater, they have come down significantly in price and consume less space than traditionally water heaters.  Think about it does your hot water need to be hot at 2 am, likely not so why spend money to heat it at that time of day 365 days out of the year.

*Go look on the serial number plate of your hot water heater, it will tell you year it was manufactured.  Know they last about 16 years on average, you may need t replace before you need to, plumbers make their money on emergency service and lack of hot water is an emergency. 

Call Curren Today

 

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Phase II ESA

Feb 3, 2022 11:40:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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In real estate you have a three step process when evaluating environmental concerns during a property  transaction.  The three steps are summarized as follows:

Phase I:  Historical research

Phase II Testing for suspect issues found from the Phase II

Phase III, commonly called remediation or corrective action.

Between Phase I, II & II, phase II is the most commonly misunderstood part and many people think you can combine a Phase I & II, which you can't.  The reason being is you need to do the Phase I to draft a road map (navigate) more or less of issues with the property that you use the Phase II to actually quantify (quantitative data).

Lets have an example of a Phase II.

Phase I is performed of what the casual person would consider low risk.  Multi story building with retain on first floor and residential units on higher floor.  The Phase I review historical research (it is surprising what databases you can pull from for a property.  A Phase I historical research includes evaluating Sanborn historic fire insurance maps (if available for a site).  In a snippet from a sandorn map for this site, the designation GT was noted.  GT = Gasoline Tank.

Phase II GPR survey

So you now compare the map with an overlay or aerial photographs to evaluate the location.

The Phase I consists of a walking inspection of a property, which you should not perform before you obtain and review your historical research.  So in this scenario you would have reviewed the Sanborn map band noted the historic gasoline tank.    Clearly when you do your walking inspection you evaluate this area as you have noted it through historical and current imagery.

Phase II Testing

You can see from the photo of the area that  there are still visual clues of the gas tank being present.

You are now moving forward with the Phase II as the gas tank may still be present or removed, it could be either.  Bear in mind the current owner has been interviewed and has no knowledge of a gas tank.

A common Phase II task is completed a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR Survey). Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a geophysical technology that uses radar pulses to image below grade (subsurface) objects. It is a non-intrusive and nondestructive method to look below the surface, so to speak. By using electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band, signals are sent into the ground and when the radar encounters a solid object (buried objects), the signal is reflected back to the antenna and interpreted.

The photo below shows a GPR unit accessing the area of the suspect tank.  

The image interpreted by the unit shows the reflection of a tank.

Phase II Ground penetrating radar survey

So in this scenario, a mostly residential site had a Phase I performed, because performing a Phase I is SOP for commercial sites (the uninformed would believe a Phase I is not necessary).    No one was aware a gas tank was present.  The Phase I research pointed to a gas tank being present at one time.  Property owner believed if a tank was present it was removed, I mean why leave the tank in the ground.  A Phase II was performed (and no you don't commonly carry geophysical equipment when you walk a property doing a Phase I) and low and behold a gas tank was found.

 

To summarize, you do a Phase I to look for potential environmental issue.  You do a Phase II t see if potential issues in the Phase I are issues.  In this case the Phase II found a gas tank which will lead to a Phase III which would be tank removal.

 

Phase II Questions?

Need a Phase II?

Call Curren Today

Phase II company

 

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Black Mold

Feb 2, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Black mold, the most feared, most misunderstood mold that isn't even a mold.  People here this, there is no such thing as Black Mold.  There is no mold with a scientific name of "Black Mold" .  Molds have names that are much harder to pronounce than a color.    Black mold is a color of mold, there are 100's of molds that are black in color, but there are not 100's of "black" molds.

black mold

The media, lawyers and other mold companies will try and tie the mold Stachybotrys chartarum  to black mold, because that mold is a greenish-black mold.   This mold had the unfortunate timing of being found in a famous case on mold (it made the national news, there was a lawsuit and a 32 million dollar award for mold damage).  The media sensationalized the mold by labeling it the Black Mold.    Black mold you see is easier to pronounce than say Stachybotrys chartarum, acremonium, penicillium aspergillus, chaetomium etc, all scientific, hard to pronounce names that do not readily roll off the tongue.  

If there really was a black mold, wouldn't you also expect there to be a molds called white and grey which are also colors of mold?

Black mold was made up by the media to sensationalize mold.    People who do mold work use the term black mold to scare people into action, typically remediation.  Now, I am not saying if you have mold that is black in color like the photo below its not a problem.  Clearly it is and needs to be addressed, but trust me mold is not like a spider web  that pops up over night.    Mold takes time, right environment and moisture to grow. There are many different species of molds that can grow and cause health concerns. If you see what you think is mold or there is an odor, call a professional. 

Call for Mold Questions.

black mold in attic

 

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In person or Remote Leaning in Business?

Feb 1, 2022 2:15:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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At Curren Environmental, we are consultants and educators.  We provides classes, talks and seminars on environmental topics for a variety of professionals.   Prior to Covid-19, in person attendance was 100%, now, we are dealing with  a mixed of 100% remote classes and in person/live streaming to people who could not attend.

Did you know that education is something that people are willing to pay for and are willing to get nothing out of it?   It's the hand stamp mentality, and its a real statement, go do an internet search on it.

So where do we find that you will get the most out of a education?  Well assuming you want the knowledge provided, in person is hands down the winner.   I say this as I am actually trained and Arello certified to teach remotely, but I much prefer in person.   I compare in person to going to the movies vs watching a movie at home.   I will give a run down as to why in person hands down beats remoted hosted classes.

1.   As an instructor you read the group in front of you. You know who is and isn't engaged.   There are points where you can lose the whole group, as environmental talks can be boring for sure.  By knowing how the group is engaging, it's the instructors responsibility to bring people back into being interested and actually learning.   Yes, the instructor who is in front of the group can create engagement when the attendee engagement is lost.  Trust me - we know when you are listening when you are in front of us.  Hey does a bartender know you need a drink?  We see that you are going rogue, but when you are not in front of us? It is immensely harder  to read your interest level (Oh and not showing a live image of you is pretty much a slap in the face saying, I have other things I am doing that are more important).    So If I don't know your bored, I don't know how to bring you back to engagement.  A common practice in live classes is to toss in some humor, trust me if people in the group laugh, the uninterested perk up to see what they missed, I have seen it countless times.  You know when you go to the movies and the crowd erupts in some form of emotion?  Well that group reaction helps with engagement.

 

Curren Environmental CE Class

2.    In person also allows an instructor to pull a group together so knowledge is actually absorbed.  Case in point, at times the blank look on people faces tells you they missed what you said.  At that point you propose a question to the group which re-engages attendees.  Trust me it's nearly impossible to perceive this in remote learning situations, in short, you all look like zombies.  Just go look at the person next to you watching television, do they look enlightened?  That is your look as you stare at your computer screen.

3.   Reading a group is easier in person.  Think about looking at your computer monitor with 40 little faces of attendees  to periodically scan to evaluate engagement, it is hard and distracting -  oh and larger groups are absurdly small to view and to read faces.

4.  I took a public speaking class some 30 years ago (actually longer, but I don't want to age myself) and a facet of speaking was to spread your view slowly across the class, from right to left and then back again.   The point being looking at people engages people, also when you move your brain is tricked into following the motion and thus engagement.

5.  When you instruct you want questions from attendees. The reason being if you have a question on a topic that we thought was clearly discussed and explained, as instructor we have to do a self evaluation that perhaps we were not that clear and the presentation needs to be tweaked.  We do this constantly and maybe as simple of a slide or photo not being clear.     We gauge how many questions we get and the amount for remote learning is about 60% less than in person.  Nearly 100% of the time for in person classes, at the end of the class stragglers will pose a one on one question.  Typically it relates to them personally or they just wanted to be polite and pose the question which can be slightly off topic and not burden the group with it.   Clearly we don't see this with remote learning.   

6.  You cannot discount group interaction.    Questions commonly get asked during presentations.    These questions may represent a group question but only one person is bold enough to pose the question.   Answering questions in real time helps bind the information to the attendee.  Sometimes the question posed is responded to by saying "that question will be answered in about 10 minutes".  I say this because we get the same question over multiple seminar, we make sure that information is clearly integrated in future classes.  Remote classes are handicapped by  a dearth of question which limits future improvement of the presentation.

 

Environmental Education Classes CE

Clearly remote learning has a practical aspect relative to both travel and a pandemic.   Not to tout the advantages of a pandemic but the pandemic has made great strides in increasing the functionality of distance learning.    From an instructor standpoint where you want attendees to absorb the material, in person instruction continues to be the clear winner.

What type of format class would you rather be in? 

 

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