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David C Sulock


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Bill S-829 Requires Lead Disclosure in New Jersey

Jan 20, 2022 11:34:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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New Jersey has joined other states in taking a more proactive approach to managing lead.  A three prong bill has been passed to help reduce lead exposure.

Bill S-829  signed 11/08/2021

This bill requires property condition disclosure statements to include a question concerning the presence of lead plumbing in residential properties. Under current law, a real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson is exempt from punitive damages and other penalties under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) when communicating the condition of a residential property if the broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson relied on information provided in a property condition disclosure statement. The property condition disclosure statement is the form provided by the seller of residential property to the real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson in order to disclose certain information prior to the sale of the property. The bill provides that in addition to any other question that the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety may require to be included, the property condition disclosure statement is required to include a question that specifically concerns whether the seller is aware of the presence of lead plumbing in the residential property. A real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson who communicates the condition of a residential property to a prospective buyer without obtaining this information from the seller could be liable for providing false, misleading, or deceptive information.
 
How does Bill S-829 affect real estate transactions?

The property condition disclosure statement will now include a question concerning the presence of lead plumbing in a property being sold.  The question relates to the home seller’s awareness about the presence of lead plumbing and lead service lines onto the property.   This is meant to act as a step in education of home buyers regarding lead. 

How does Bill A5343 affect  Public Water Supply Lines?

The goal is to remove lead from drinking water. As part of a three-bill package signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Bill A5343 that water companies in New Jersey will replace all  lead water pipes within the next 10 years. The bill is meant to   comprehensively address the longstanding health hazard of lead in the water supply system.  Water companies will be allowed  to raise rates on property owners to pay for the pipe replacements.  Although monies could be drawn from President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, which  explicitly calls for removing lead pipes nationwide. 

 Why?
*It is estimated at least 20 percent of lead exposure towards humans comes from drinking water, with formula-fed infants possibly receiving 40 to 60 percent of lead exposure from the same source.
 Bill (S1147) passed November 2021

Bill (S1147) takes aim at lead paint and dust, the most common sources of exposure, by creating a new requirement that any rental property in New Jersey built before 1978 be inspected for lead. This closes a loophole in the state’s existing lead testing regulations, which allowed single-family and two-family rental units to go without inspection.

The law also requires that if lead is found, affected tenants are eligible to be moved into lead-safe housing with financial help from the state Department of Community Affairs

 The law  expands inspection requirements, requiring lead remediation, and creating a lead paint hazard education program. (A1372/S1147)

Will All Rental Properties be Subject to the Regulations?

Currently many properties will qualify for exemption. The regulations will NOT apply to:

  1. Buildings, dwelling units, or common areas that have been certified to be Lead-Free in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:17; or
  2. A building or dwelling unit that has been certified as having a Lead-Free
    Interior in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:17. Lead-Free Interior does not
    exempt the entire building; only the dwelling units or common areas
    identified on the certificate as lead free are exempt.
  3. A seasonal rental unit that is rented for less than six months’ duration each
    year; or
  4.  An owner-occupied unit.
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When is Mold not a Problem?

Jan 5, 2022 10:26:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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When is mold not mold? Aka why Black Mold isn’t bad

 Mold, the 4 letter word, gets blamed for many things such as ill health, odors, why people don’t use exercise equipment. Ok the last one I made up.   But seriously mold is a common suspect when people think something is wrong.   A few thousand mold inspections later, we can say with a high degree of certainty that:

  • Not all discoloration is mold
  • Not every smell is mold
  • And there is no mold called black mold.

 Two case studies where mold was suspected but was not present.

If you are living somewhere and you are having health issues or smell a weird odor, you will finger point that the problem is mold. For sure anyone can have a reaction when exposed to mold, but a common denominator is mold or should I say active mold growth is the musty odor associated with mold. The musty odor is the off gassing of active mold growth.

Case Study 1 Bathroom odor and mold is suspected.

Last Spring we did a remodel on our 2nd bathroom  (new flooring, vanity and sink, and vent) and a short time later, there started to be a weird smell at times, which seemed to be coming from the sink water. It’s not all the time, but sometimes the smell is stronger than at other times. And sometimes it smells like rotten eggs.

Pro Tip

Rotten eggs is a sulfur related smell not mold.

This prompted me to call a plumber. They spent 1 ½ hours trying to recreate the smell, and ended up spraying mold spray in both the sink and shower overflows. The smell then went away for a couple of weeks, but the smell has since returned. My older daughter, when home from college, seems to notice it more and says that she has started to get headaches now when she’s home.

Pro Tip

Mold is a musty odor, and the fact that odor went away after a disinfectant was applied to the drain lines indicates that there was something happening in the piping, not behind a wall.

A DIY investigation of a sulfur odor source can take the following approach:

Confirm smell is from the water or the drain. Test this by fill a glass with water from the cold tap and take it outside to smell it. Repeat with hot water. . If there is odor in both samples, there is a high chance that the contamination is in the water supply. If the smell is only present in the hot water, the hot water heater maybe the source. If there is no smell in either sample, the likely source is the drain

A sewer vent blockage can interfering with the drain water flow (drainage from the toilet, sink or bath shower drain) creating pressure that pushes sewer gas through the sink trap. (if you note gurgling sounds and slow draining. The blockage may be caused by an obstruction in the waste line). You could also have a blockage from the vent stack opening on the roof, this is a little harder to inspect so always start with the easier approach.

In this circumstance, the owner had renovation performed in the bathroom, so since no odor was present prior to this work, the cause is likely tied to the work.   Sometimes when plumbing is renovated a pipe that was no longer necessary may have been capped off, allowing anaerobic bacteria to thrive, which can produce a sulfur smell or technically a hydrogen sulfide gas. You see if no water is flowing through the capped off pipe, anaerobic bacteria can flourish since water is unable to flow through the dead pipe.  The solution is to cut the dead leg out of the plumbing.

Rotten egg sulfur smell water

Bottom line a sulfur smell is not a mold smell and some DIY research and a competent plumber, the problem can be addressed.

 Case Study 2 - Residents have health issue, allergies generally. They did mention research on causes of allergies and finds that mold is a cause so they wanted a mold inspection with testing.

In this situation there were five people in the home that complained of allergies.   There were no specific areas of the house where the allergies were more severe and there were no must odors noted in the house by any of the residents.

We take health concerns seriously and without a specific area of the home, we evaluated the entire home and acquired nine air samples throughout the home. Air testing is performed where people live, so bedrooms, family room & entertainment areas.

Our inspection found no visible mold growth, no musty odors or evidence of water damage. Now we observed many other things, but nothing that would be a mold trigger. The air tests came up clean relative to mold (basically normal fungal ecology) but all samples had a higher debris rating than would be considered usual.  

The home was about 3500 sq. ft. and about 10 years old.   We observed while the home was not falling apart, there were visible layers of dust throughout the house on flat surfaces. The home had multiple cats and each bedroom had a cat bed and some form of scratching post. The air filters for the HVAC system were all in need of replacement (there were two units) and none had a date of last replacement. The home also had many candles they burn as well as scented vaporizers. Both can affect indoor air quality and not in a good way.

Our conclusions were that dust and airborne compounds and particulate can be an irritant and people can develop allergies to cats. The recommendation was a new cleaning service and thorough cleaning of the dwelling, replacing air filters every 3 months and removing cats beds from the bedrooms.  Shocker, the allergy complaints went away.

                                   IMG_3311  IMG_3445-3

Examples of dirty. dusty ducts work. 

So not every mold compliant is actually a mold problem. 

Do you have mold questions?
Looking for expert advice?
Call for Mold Questions.

 

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Why Remove a Heating Oil AST (Aboveground Storage Tank)?

Dec 27, 2021 11:30:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Why Remove a Heating Oil AST (Aboveground Storage Tank)?

When you convert from oil to gas, you will spend thousands of dollars.   What you may not spend money on is removing the now obsolete heating oil Aboveground Storage Tank (AST).    Unless there is a local ordinance there are no state regulations for homeowners to decommission the AST.   Because of the lack of regulations and money issues, people leave these rusting metal tanks.  Properties will often be bought and sold with the AST still being present.

There are real hazards associated with leaving heating oil ASTs. 

Metal rusts inside and out. Low sulfur heating oil actually causes corrosion inside a tank, so don't think the oil is lubricating the tank.

heating oil ASTs are a liability

Water gets in the tank through condensation causing corrosion.  ASTs are never 100% empty and banging on even a 1/2 full tank gives a false empty sound. Go push a 5 gallon bucket of water over, soo how far it spreads.

Quick story, couple buys a home with gas heat, basement has an AST that is not being used nor planned to be used.  Fast forward 15 years, strong smell of oil in the basement.  Call fire department, who pumps 160 gallons from the empty tank in the basement.  Oil has spread across the basement floor flowing into the sump (Fortunately the sub pump was broken) .  Oil hit boxes that are placed throughout the basement,  some cardboard boxes some Rubbermaid (Sound like your basement?)

AST leaking basement

Smell of oil in house is so strong, people have to move to a hotel.   Now the basement has to be cleaned up, the tank decommissioned and a hotel paid for.   Thousands of dollars spent.  Could have been avoided.

out of service heating oil ast  basement AST removal

This house was bought and sold twice with an AST in the basement, even had a sign on it saying the tank was empty.  Curren removed approximately 200 gallons from the tank.   Caught this one before it leaked. 

residential AST

Why did dad, the old owner, whoever leave the tank to rust? Because to do anything would cost $$.

Buying a house with an out of service AST, get owner to remove it. Selling a home with an out of service AST?  Remove it because the buyer is going to ask.

Call Curren Today

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Tank Sweep Finds a Tank

Dec 21, 2021 9:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Due diligence is what a party does to  assess a property prior to purchase.  Due diligence would include a title search, home inspection, radon testing and a tank sweep.

So what happens after you do a tank sweep and an undisclosed tank is found?

To be clear, the concern with petroleum storage tanks is they leak product (oil) into the ground and sometimes groundwater, which can require remediation (cleanup).   The RP (Responsible Party) for cleanup is the property owner, even if they never used the tank, did not know the tank was present or were told that the tank didn't leak when they bought the property.

To avoid the above, you do a tank sweep to protect your interest when purchasing a property, residential or commercial.

So what happens after you do a tank sweep and an undisclosed tank is found?

Eighteen percent (18%) of the time, the seller suddenly recalls that yes an oil tank is present, sometimes they have paperwork, sometimes they do not.  100% of the time the buyer is upset they paid for a tank sweep and that the seller was not honest about the tank, so they question what else in the transaction is  not 100% truthful.

100% of the time they have nothing that actually proves the tank did not leak, if they did like an NFA  or a report with laboratory testing they would have supplied it previously.  Because why would a seller want a buyer do a tank sweep on a property the seller knows a tank was removed and has proof it didn't leak.  Sorry that is a rhetorical question.  For you buyers out there, some properties have more than one buried tank, no lie, we have seen it before.

100% of the time the found tank must be removed and tested.

tank sweep finds a tank

Greater than 60% of the time we find contamination, there are many variables that direct this outcome, of the leaks some need remediation some do not.

 

tank scan finds an oil tank

Sometimes the owner of the newly found tank doesn't want to do anything.  The deal clearly falls apart as contracts commonly have clauses to rescind the contract regarding environmental or structural issues.     The seller is now tasked with dealing with the tank, there is also now a record that the property was under contract and then out of contract.  Future perspective buyers can trace the paper trail to find out why the sale did not go through.   Rarely ever does the home sell with the tank in the ground, the ones that do typically end in litigation, we know because we wind up getting called by the buyer to assist after a neighbor or other good Samaritan tells the new owner that there is an underground oil tank.   The photo below 100% real, the writing suddenly appeared before settlement.

Sometimes the owner of the newly found tank doesn't want to do anything.

When Curren finds a buried tank during a tank sweep about 60% of the time we are contracted to remove the tank.  Some sellers accept a found tank for what it is, an obstacle to selling the home.  Yes the seller is upset, but most understand they wouldn't buy a home with a tank.  Some are upset because they did a tank sweep and the tank was missed.  More about missed tanks , shortly.

After we find a tank about 40% of the time the sellers hire someone else to remove the tank, we get blamed for finding a problem.  90% of the time the buyer, our client wants us involved with reviewing the contract for removal and the post tank removal report, so many times the contract doesn't include testing because the seller doesn't want to find a problem, they just want to remove the tank.   We had a site where an environmental attorney (yes someone well versed in environmental liability) had a tank filled in place without testing.  This is from someone who knew that if you test you might find a problem.  We had to reverse engineer the prior tank closure and test, yes some tank issues can get complicated.

What about missing a tank after a tank sweep?

First, most sites will not allow 100% coverage?  Why, well things get built over buried tanks, hot tubs, sheds, additions, woodpiles, boats, cars etc.  If you can't access the area you can't inspect it.    Incompetence (lack of experience & training) of the individual performing the scan can also give bad results.  In short, if you don't actively remove tanks you can lack necessary skills to provide a thorough tank scan, in 28 years of dealing with tanks even today we find unique tank situations, experience is invaluable. 

best tank sweep in delawaretank sweep pennsylvania

tank sweep Philadelphia

Equipment failure can be another reason a tank sweep fails.  Metals detectors which cost about $1,000 to buy and are used for the $200 tank sweep, hence low cost equipment not used for locating tanks, can commonly miss tanks.  A metal tank buried near a chain link fence will confuse a metal detector. and can miss a tank.

best tank sweep

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is what is used on commercial sites because it is more thorough.    Really a mixture of tools is needed for a thorough evaluation.   GPR provides a graphic image of buried objects.  The image on the right side of the screen shows the radar signal of a found tank.

found oil tank

The photo below shows a typical set of tools utilized for a Geophysical evaluation or what people commonly call a tank sweep.

You want a full tool box.

tank sweeps, PA, NJ & DE

You don't hold tank licenses in Delaware, New Jersey & Pennsylvania without having some level of expertise.  You don't remove tens of thousands of tank over 20 plus years and not gain experience. 

Call the Experts  888-301-1050

tank scans delaware, new jersey & pennsylvania

 

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Worst Oil Tank Removal.

Nov 1, 2021 9:51:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in oil tank removal, oil tank removal nj, tank removal, oil tank removal pa, NJDEP Unregulated heating Oil Tank program, abandoned oil tank, oil tank leak

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The saying we get better with age, well that relates to a foundation of knowledge based on years of experience.   At Curren Environmental those that know teach, those that know, know from decades of experience thousands of sites.   We do peer reviews of the work of other environmental companies every day, thousands of reviews a year.  These reviews are both paper reviews (in office) as well as on site over seeing work for clients protection.  Needless to say we see the good and the bad.  The bad is also not always the cheapest price.  Bad projects have a common thread of promising things that they cannot deliver on or to be put frankly telling the client what they want to hear, even though this may be the opposite of what other firms are saying.  Key topics, don't worry about a leak, we can manage the leak if one is found, lastly we can remediate for a lump sum and we do not need any testing data (these firms have x-ray vision.

bad tank removal

Recently I had to oversee the removal of a residential oil tank.  The tank was actually found via a GPR tank sweep by Curren. The  owner had no knowledge that a UST was present Tank Sweeps with GPR.    Owner got a really inexpensive cost to remove, so client (buyer) wanted the removal to be overseen.   Now I am not saying cheap isn’t good, everyone wants a bargain, you don't want to pay full price, but you also get what you pay for.  Cheapest is rarely best, its the cheapest.

The photo below shows one of the onsite projects reviewed. I knew that the person wearing gym shorts at 9 am  and no shirt  meant the day was going to be interesting.  Let’s start by saying, gym shorts and a tank top are not proper work attire.  It’s was a hot day so the gym short person took the tank top off, at was maybe 9:10 am.  Things didn’t get better from there.

Oil tank removal problem

 

improper tank removal

Yes that is a person inside the tank with no PPE (personnel protective equipment, respirator etc.), completely not according to regulations.  

Although the company had lettered vehicles they spelled remediation wrong.  If you say your do something  you should be able to spell it.  

worst tank removal

So the tank gets excavated just enough to clean it.  Took them 2 hours to remove the tank after cleaning, because the tank was 80% buried. They couldn't see the logic in uncovering the tank to the 50% mark so the earth wouldn't hold it in place.  Over the course of two hours, they damage the driveway, killed mature shrubs and after removal hit a sewer line that would have been avoided had they had gone into the basement to evaluate for utilities.  Inspecting a basement to see where underwound utilities enter is excavation 101, utilities are not marked accurately 100% of the time, property owners may not know on where what utility is located and lastly not all utilities get marked.  In any event the damage could have been avoided.

Now the good part, tank is removed and it requires two inspections.  No one knew of or when that would occur.  To be brief they had no inspection, took no soil samples (sampling is the only way you can 100% verify the tank did not leak) and backfilled the hole.

How do you avoid tank removal mistakes?

To be clear removing a tank is not building the international space station, but there are a slew of regulations and protocols you must follow API, OSHA, NIOSH.  You can check reviews on line for sure, but here are some tips that can find out the good from the bad.

  1. Was the person you spoke with more car salesperson than environmental consultant?  You don't want to be sold into making a decision.
  2. Did the company walk you though the steps they will follow?  This is an easy one and even the bad companies do it.  
  3. Did they  put their steps in writing?  Again easy.  There should be a report stated in writing you will receive after removal, its super important.
  4. Did they discuss the possibility of a leak?   What about if levels of oil are above standard?   What are the standards?  What amount of oil is permissible?  Look every tank could leak so you need to know the dark side of a tank removal that leaks, this needs to be discussed and put in writing.
  5. Is their email a Gmail or yahoo email.  It might not sound like much but if a company doesn't have a hosted web site with hosted email with their domain, well you maybe buying into a Chuck in a truck.

It's tough to compare environmental services to other industries, but our office get a large share of property owners gripping about how the hired the wrong company.  To be fair most people will never have to remove two tanks in their lifetime or complete two mold projects, so you are doing something once and likely won't do a good job at it.

Want expert advice and deal with professionals?

Call Curren Today

 

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Why every home sale should have a tank sweep performed.

Oct 20, 2021 12:15:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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Tank sweeps/tank scans have exponentially increased in popularity for home buyers.   While a home inspection has always been part of buying a home, a tank sweep has become just as common.  The reason tank sweeps are so important is because a small tank leak remediation averages around $10,000.00     Remediation in excess of $100,000 are not uncommon either.

How do you know the home may have oil heat and a tank scan is prudent?

  1. Oil heat was the choice of fuel source for close to 100 years
  2. The older the home the more likely there was oil heat.
  3. Many property owners removed evidence of their oil tank in lieu of removing it.
  4. Many people also filled tanks in place as per construction codes, but never checked for leak's.
  5. Many people bought homes knowing a tank was removed and not tested.

People also  bought homes that they knew had a tank filled in place.   Below is a true story. 

Curren was hired to do a tank sweep. Owner of home greeted our technician with "The tank guy is here". Curren locates a tank and informs our client (buyer).

Owner of home within 48 hours, releases paperwork for the tank.  Apparently  the tank had been filled in place in the 1990's by the previous owner.  In short, current owner bought house knowing tank was on site but did not disclose this nugget of information when the home was listed for sale.  Buyer was a little angry that this paperwork magically appeared.   Makes you think what else these sellers are not disclosing. Curren is hired to remove the underground oil tank,  and it is found to be leaking, buyer backs out of deal. 

tank previously filled in place

Another true story.  Many people also filled tanks in place as per construction codes, but never checked for leaks. Owner is upset,  and said the tank was not a big deal to them when they bought it.   Remediation completed  was completed and the property was eventually cleaned up ($42,000) and sold nine months later.

soil_remediation

Ever heard of Midnight oil tank removal?  It's when someone who is not licensed removes their oil tank so no one knows that they removed it.  Even though the tank has been removed, no soil samples were acquired and they may not have removed the supply and return line.  

Do your due diligence and do a tank scan prior to purchasing a property. 

 

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What is a Phase II ESA and do you need one done?

Oct 12, 2021 11:15:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Curren touches thousands of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) every year.  We either do the Phase I or we review the old one.  We also speak to first and multiple time buyers of commercial properties. Curren prepares, reviews and/or utilizes hundreds of Phase I ESA reports every year.  Curren also interacts with a significant number of residential, commercial and industrial property buyers, sellers or their attorneys. 

Most buyers/sellers and real estate agents have an idea or a vague idea of what a  Phase I & Phase II are all about.  Most also [buyers] have a basic understanding of the different Phases for site assessments, but it’s typically a basic understanding. Although Phase I ESAs are generally similar, Phase II assessments  can vary significantly from state to state and will vary based on what the investigation is directed at solving.  If you manufacture something, provide a  service or perform some management expertise you have no doubt more knowledge about these topics  as it pertains to your business, but you may not have a complete understanding of the potential environmental considerations involved while performing that process.   Even if you read this web page and spend hours reading many others, you don’t have the seasoned experience, or the actual practical knowledge of investigating and addressing potential environmental concerns comes with the experience that Curren Environmental has developed over decades of performing such work. So many people think they understand basic environmental risk, however,  several millions of dollars have been spent with Curren relative to people managing environmental testing and remediation after they have owned the property.   It is as basic as not completing the right level of Due Diligence when purchasing a property.  There are untold numbers of property owners who did not complete a basic Phase I ESA or ,at minimum, a Transaction Screen so that there is some level of understanding of the potential environmental pitfalls associated with a property.   This DIY environmental due diligence may work for some people, but we typically get involved with the sites where the lack of proper environmental due diligence creates thousands of dollars worth of problems after purchase.  Obtaining professional advice could provide insight into potential problems for buyers prior to you being responsible and provide options for property owners where environmental issues exist.  

Bottom line you do a Phase I because something may have occurred at the property that has some form of environmental risk, and the risk is having to spend money to address an environmental issue.

As I write this post, we are doing soil borings at a building, because a Phase I found a risk and a phase II found contamination.   We are now trying to define the extent of the contamination. 

It can be an uphill battle to  complete a Phase I but typically when other professionals in a real estate transaction recommend a Phase I (attorney, mortgage company) a Phase I is performed.  The bigger battle is when a Phase II is needed, people ask why look for a problem?  Well, because problems cost money.

understanding a Phase II

Why was the Phase II not stressed enough?  

In a word Phase II is testing.  You test to see if something in a Phase I poses a problem.  A Phase II could be $500 or it could be $16,000 (both numbers of Phase II’s we recently completed.).  The cost is not the topic, the issue is by doing the Phase II you are affording yourself protection.  Not doing a Phase II, well you open up a can of risk.   Case in point we have a company, a franchise, for a well known consumer brand.  They purchased a property, did a Phase I, and the Phase I flagged some potential open issues on the property.    A Phase II was not done, why the client didn't tell us, but  after spending over $50,000 in remediation their complaints were loud and clear.  Why was the Phase II not stressed enough?  

why is a Phase II important?

Hey if a doctor tells you to watch what you eat and exercise more, the doctor is not going to chase you down and hound you to do it (maybe they should) and  neither is your environmental consultant.    You are likely going to spend thousands of dollars for a Phase II, it's your money if you choose not to do a Phase II it is your decision.  (*Banks like Phase II work, because they have first hand knowledge of the risk.  In short they know a Phase II can save money in the long run.) 

Phase I & Phase II

Why do people skip Due Diligence?

Bottom line the company wanted to buy the property, it was the best property for their needs, they wanted it and ignored or didn't see the warning signs and they paid for it years later when they went to sell.  

 

Phase II Testing

Could they have done the Phase II and fixed the issue before purchase?  

Likely yes, but you can’t step in your time machine.  From experience when we find contamination after a Phase II, the vast majority of time, it gets fixed and the property gets sold, either to the original buyer or another one.  When the sale doesn’t go through it typically relates to time it takes to perform the remediation or the cost of remediation.  Trust me if the buyer wanted the property bad enough and the math worked, no amount of remediation cost would deter a buyer, but every deal has limits.

To be clear many Phase I’s don’t require a Phase II.

Guaranteed anyone contracting for a Phase I, buyer, seller, mortgage company, bank, nobody wants the Phase I to lead to a Phase II or III, because if it does it could create a problem and the deal may not go through.  This is true time and again, if I had a nickel for every time someone said they hope the Phase I is clean, I would have a bathtub full of nickels.

Hire professionals and listen to professional advice.   If a phase II is warranted do it.

Call Curren Today

 

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Why Metal Detector Tank Sweeps Fail?

Oct 6, 2021 11:56:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, tank sweep, gpr tank sweeps

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Tank sweeps, or tank scans are an evaluation of a property for a buried Underground Storage Tank (UST). Unfortunately, these sweeps/scans have become generic to so many and people are unaware of the limitations, between both the companies providing the scan and the technology used.

Metal Detector              Pat GPR Office-1

                             Metal Detector                                      Vs.                         Ground Penetrating Radar

Best price, means least expensive technology (metal detector), for example would purchase a 5SE phone vs. the IPhone 12? Maybe for your young kids, but not for you. The best  utilized  technology for locating underground oil tanks is Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).                     

An example of using a metal detector as opposed to a the Ground Penetrator Radar - Curren was provided a report from a client who asked for an underground oil tank removal. Oil tanks were discussed in the report. The tank locatoror who provided the tank scan with noted the following: “While conducting the oil tank scan it was noticed that there is the possible presence of an oil tank at the front of the home. This was noticed using Schonstedt magnetic locator which detects the magnetic field of ferromagnetic objects. The object that was detected is 3ft x 5ft. After detecting this object a 4 ft probe was inserted into the ground in this area and we detected a object about 3 ft below the surface. A qualified oil tank removal company should further evaluate to determine the size and depth of the possible tank. This company should also conduct proper soil samples to determine if a leak is present at the possible tank.” Several photographs were also included to indicate the meter utilized, and the areas investigated. 

Instead of doing another scan with the Ground Penetrating Radar, the client asked Curren to remove the said underground oil tank found with the metal detector. Curren mobilized equipment and labor to remove the #2 fuel oil UST (subject tank). Curren excavated in the area identified in the Tank Inspection report to a depth of 9’.

No tank was located. Curren then excavated toward the residence additionally to 9’. No tank was located. Curren inspected the basement for copper lines and no copper lines were found.

Conclusions & Recommendations

The conclusions are based upon the review of available information, field observations and test results obtained during this project. Curren Environmental, Inc. does not assume any responsibility for using this report for purposes other than those indicated in the specific area investigated.

Based on onsite observations, the areas indicated in the report were investigated, no underground storage tank was located in this area. The client, ended up spending a large sum of money to remove an oil tank that was not there.  

What is a metal detector? "Metal detectors use electromagnetic fields to passively or actively detect the presence of metallic objects. Passive detection measures the changes in the Earth's magnetic field caused by an object."  The photo below shows some debris, that debris was located by a metal detector.  Curren was contracted by client to remove the "underground oil tank".  The metal detector tank sweep found debris, not an oil tank. 

buried metal debris from metal detector tank sweep

What is a ground penetrating radar system? Learn more here.

 

 

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What kills mold after a flood?

Sep 29, 2021 8:20:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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"What kills mold after a flood?"  It's becoming a pretty common question to our office.   Killing and controlling mold are two different things, let's focus on controlling mold, as you want to have the upper hand with mold.  

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If you have water entry from a flood or a storm, the number one thing you have to do is dry out the area.  Mold will grow when things are wet.  

Ever leave wet clothing in the washer?   Can you smell the mold?

Yes, if you can dry a wet area within 48 to 72 hours, you will prevent mold growth.   Water is needed in the life cycle of mold, so if you can cut the water off you will stop mold growth.

You have to understand invisible mold spores are everywhere, they become a problem when they land on a wet organic surface.   When you get water entry in a building or a home, immediately the wet areas create a conducive environment for mold growth.    Mold colonies will continue to grow as long as the moisture level is high.  But other surfaces in the room can also harbor mold because the moisture content in the room where water entry occurred is also a great area for mold to grow. 

Pro Tip:

Keep humidity levels below 50 percent will discourage mold growth.  A run of the mill dehumidifier will control humidity. 

Humidity levels below 50 percent will discourage mold growth

Aside from drying out an area after a flood or heavy rain event, you can apply a fungicide to kill the mold spores present in the room.  Dead spores will not reproduce.  Bleach will kill mold spores, as well as many fungicides you can buy at home improvement stores.   There are even some Covid-19 disinfecting compounds that kill mold spores (read the label).   To apply a fungicide to control mold, the absolute best way is by fogging or misting, this allows a more thorough treatment.   To be honest, using a small trigger sprayer is just not as effective to treat an area.

Call for Mold Questions.

How do you know if you have a mold problem?

  1. If you smell the distinctive musty odor, you are smelling active mold growth.
  2. If you see discoloration or spotting on surfaces, that you can wipe with a finger, if it comes off you may have mold.
  3. You can have a professional mold inspection performed of the problem area.   Inspections are performed by trained personnel who have completed hundreds if not thousands of inspections and have also performed remediation so they know they know the signs of a mold problem.
  4. Air testing for a complaint room is also a great way to look for hidden mold, this is typically performed at part of a mold inspection, but not always, as obviously mold growth typically does not require testing. 

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Are free Mold inspections scams?

Sep 23, 2021 2:33:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold professional, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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It is not uncommon for mold to be found at a residence. Mold will grow silently over years in areas of your home that you may not even go in. 

Free mold inspections
During the home inspection or a mold inspection, mold  will show up during a real estate transaction. The rub with mold is that someone may see staining and call it mold or during a  home inspection, the inspector may test a surface for mold and confirm mold and then you are left with the knowledge that mold is present. What you won't know is why it grew, how to prevent it in the future and to what extent the mold is present.

The mold dilemma is there are only 11 states that have mold regulations so the industry lacks real mold professionals. If you are in NJ, PA or DE there is no mold licensing so in theory you can't find a mold professional or you can't find a state licensed professional.

The lack of mold regulations create no barrier of entry for someone wanting  to do mold work.  If you don't need a license  that saves you a lot of time and brain power.

Companies try and drum up work by offering "Free Mold inspections".   Are mold inspections truly free?    The time to give professional advice is not free,  as there has to be a cost involved to evaluate a property and provide professional advice. Free mold inspections, should read, "You are going to pay me to remediate mold if you need it or not". In the photo below, an inspector said that was mold and recommended remediation. 

Mold or water damageProfessional mold inspections can average around $500, plus or minus depending on size of property and if surface or airborne sampling is performed.

mold inspectionsLet's be clear we have given thousands of 2nd opinions over the years and there is always three common threads we find with mold advice.

  1. Many owners of properties that are told they need mold remediation, do not actually need mold remediation.
  2. Mold often grows back when the mold was inadequately addressed. Read, consultant never stopped the actual cause of the mold. (Leak, moisture intrusion, humidity, etc)
  3. The mold testing person doesn't understand the results of the mold testing, the cause of the mold growth or the actual extent.  Case in point inspector sampled a crawl space and a basement that were connected. We were asked to provide a cost to remediate the crawlspace, when in fact the basement had the bigger mold issue and people used the basement to exercise, so the mold exposure was greatest in the basement, but that is not what the consultant recommended.    The problem with non-mold professionals is they like to take a samples because they will get a really long, slick looking report of lab data, which is all pretty boilerplate, but it looks nice.  Because the lab gives such a nice package the actual mold consultants feel they do not have to provide an opinion in writing, it happens all the time.    So they find mold but they can't say it doesn't have to be remediated, why it would need remediation, what would be the difference or really most important what is the cause, causes or even likely causes for the mold.  

Regarding the "report".  A mold inspection report isn't the lab data from the lab, it should be a written report detailing the inspection, what was found, what wasn't found, and most importantly is why was there mold in the first place.  The report should also go over, in detail, what the lab data means, along with photos.

The bottom line is many mold companies work in their best interest not that of the owner or client.  This is particularly true if you are being offered free advice.

 

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