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Buyer Beware when it comes to Mold & Oil Tank

Oct 5, 2022 3:00:00 PM / by david sulock posted in Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold assessments, professional mold remediation, tank sweep with gpr, tank sweeps with GPR, tank sweep, gpr tank swep

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Buyer Beware when it Comes to Mold & Oil Tank

Mold Growing in Crawl Space

If you are buying a home, it may be your first or may be your third.  Either way the internet has no doubt made you a sharper consumer. You can assess the property online by evaluating photos, sometimes 3D tours of the home, school districts, past sale prices for the property and the neighborhood, property taxes, the list goes on.  No doubt you know how to google information. So you find the home, make an offer, it goes under contract and now your due diligence happens.  A home inspection, etc.  You are a savvy buyer so you look into other inspections you can do, Roof?, Mold? Oil Tank Sweep?  Yep, you do them all but guess what the seller has access to the internet as well, they may even be buying another home so they have concerns with inspections of their own.  But since they are selling they are also concerned with what you might find and the cost.

Be fair, if you had a buried tank at a home you were selling and you googled oil tank leak and the following photo popped up, how forthcoming would you be about the tank?  

Oil Tank Leak

True statements:

Sellers don't want to have to spend money to sell their homes.

Buyers, don't want to spend money on unexpected repairs, mold and oil tanks are top of the list. 

Both items are not covered by a home inspection, so while a home inspector may flag that the hot water heater needs to be replaced, they are not going to point out a $4,000.00 mold remediation.

The best advice we can provide is to be aware of what inspections are prudent during the home buying process.  

Regarding tank sweeps, they can be a lifesaver.  Tank Sweeps

Tank Nightmare aka property listed again with no mention of the oil tank

The contract of sale falls apart due to the oil tank.

The story goes that the owner selling their home finds that their old unused oil tank is not a selling feature so they decide not to mention it on the listing information.  Home goes under contract and out of guilt, sellers admit to an oil tank when asked.   Curren quotes the removal and the seller wants to know what happens if the tank leaks.    The seller decides not to remove the oil tank, this killed the deal.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the property is relisted, again with no discussion of an oil tank.    So now a seller is flat out forgetting a tank was known to exist (I don't say lie) and we get a call from a new buyer for the home and they want us to do a tank sweep.

oil tank sweeps find tanks

Really, must we be the only straight-talking people?  Hey, this situation is easy to resolve, we remove the tank.

oil tank inspections

But how about the person who buys the house with a tank that was not disclosed (we found it for another buyer) and they get transferred with their job in a year and have to sell the home?

The anger, the lawsuits, heck the only happy people are the attorneys.   Happens again and again. Realtors if you are reading and if you know the listing has a tank and the buyers are not disclosing, you better disclose, I have a few realtors getting sued for this.  Email can be forever, people talk, buyers share bad news (ever hear of social media?), I am not going to say how each attorney researches facts,  to trace how someone knew something and didn’t disclose it or blankly fabricated an untruth, but it's much easier than you think.

Ground Penetrating Radar

Now to be fair we have been around for over 20 years, we touch thousands of sites a year and every so often we get a boomerang.  What is a boomerang?  A project we were involved with stopped dead in its tracks, Curren finds a tank, finds mold, finds contamination, the deal falls through, owner cancels the contract for tank removal/mold.  Ok it happens, we aren’t pushy, if the owner changes their mind they have our number.

Why talk about this, because buyer beware, I would rather consult for a buyer to interest BEFORE they buy a problem.

Why are we happy when we find a tank, find mold, or contamination for a buyer?   Because our client doesn't own the property yet, we did our job we found a problem and now this problem can be presented to the seller for correction.  Surely the seller doesn’t want to sell you an environmental problem costing thousands of dollars?    Sadly there is a % of people that will, many step up, but some sellers do not, hence you need for proper due diligence.  

When buying a home a home do your due diligence.

Tank sweeps?  Click here  Tank Sweeps

Mold Inspection Click here  Mold Inspections

Expert advice you can rely upon, that Curren Environmental.

 

Call Curren Today

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How to read mold test results.

Sep 6, 2022 12:29:00 PM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, Mold Testing

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How to read mold testing results.

A Mold Survey involves mold sampling for the presence or type of mold. Mold sampling is completed in two ways, mold surface sampling and mold air sampling. Mold surface sampling is completed on a surface that is suspected to contain a mold-like substance, this type of sampling can be completed by performing acquiring a mold tape lift sample or a mold swab sample. Both methods involve acquiring a sample of the mold-like substance and having the sample analyzed by a laboratory. Your results should determine the type and quantity of mold. The interpretation of sample results pertaining to mold concentration has to be evaluated objectively when the analysis finds mold as you are sampling an area that has a mold-like substance, which can typically represent the suspected highest concentration (worst area), otherwise, why would you sample that particular area. The other type of mold sampling is mold air sampling. Mold air sampling is accomplished by running air through a laboratory containing that that captures microscopic airborne particles (fungi). The sample container is then analyzed by a laboratory for mold type and mold quantity. The analysis can be studied for both viable molds, meaning the sample is studied to see if the mold spores grow or by non-viable meaning, it what is the overall type and quantity of mold found. Mold non-viable air sampling is more common as it has been established that mold spores alive or dead can be an irritant.

Learn the Facts about Mold

Once you have the laboratory analysis completed, you now have to discuss the results and what they mean. Unlike soil and groundwater samples where all states have specific government-established standards, with mold there are No Federal or State Agency established concentration standards (Maximum Exposure Limits- MEL) or threshold level values for airborne indoor mold or for surface sample analysis of mold. Therefore, if you suspect there is a mold problem and have air testing or surface sampling performed, there is no regulatory standard to compare your results against. Without government standards, there is no common industry standards standard. The reason that there are no standards is that setting exposure limits or MELs would be difficult for a variety of technical reasons, which include limitations in both mold surface sampling and mold air sampling techniques, individual variability in sensitivity to microbial exposure among the human population, the occurrence of different types of biological and chemical pollutants in the indoor environment and limited data on the exposure-response relationship in humans. In essence, it is difficult to say who will be affected by mold spores and at what concentrations it would take to affect different people.
mold testing
Due to the lack of set government standards, the environmental consulting industry follows general principles when evaluating mold test results. On a basic level when evaluating mold air sampling data, the mold levels should be higher outside than inside. The idea behind this approach is that there are always more molds outside in the soil, mulch, plants, decomposition of organic matter, etc. outside. Aside from an indoor and outdoor comparative evaluation, you evaluate the test results for specific types of mold. This evaluation includes looking for common outdoor molds as well as molds that are more commonly found on moist building materials. Evaluation of these molds goes a step deeper by looking for so-called opportunistic molds (marker fungi), which are frequently found on long-term water damaged building materials. The presence of these molds can point to a long-term moisture issue. These opportunistic fungi include Aspergillus and Penicillium species, Acremonium spp., Sporobolomyces spp., Stachybotrys, chartarum, Memnoniella echinata, Tritirachium oryzae, Ulocladium botrytis, U. chartarum, Cladosporium spp., and Chaetomium spp. These are molds that are not typically recovered in the outside air, so when they are found outside, they are in generally low levels. Conversely, when they are found indoors these molds typically point to an indoor water issue. The higher the indoor concentration of these fungi the more likely a long-term water issue is present.

In summary mold testing and the interpretation of the analytical results involves the evaluation of individual types of mold you find and determining why they are present.

Finding the type of mold, while interesting it does not explain why it is present. Therefore, every mold survey and mold inspection should not just confirm the presence of mold but also why the mold present is, and what created the environment for the mold to grow. The backend of the mold testing and mold sampling project includes an inspection for the physical presence of mold as well as for water damage.

More common mold questions and answers can be found at: /Mold-Frequently-Asked-Questions

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Environmental Liability & 1031 Exchange

Aug 23, 2022 1:53:00 PM / by david sulock posted in Phase I, Due Diligence, 1031 Exchange, ASTM E1527-21

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1031 exchange gets its name from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which allows you to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property and reinvest the proceeds from the sale within certain time limits in a property or properties like kind and equal or greater value.

Not dissimilar to the photo below showing the progress of the famous tower, a 1030 Exchange can allow an investor to keep building up a real estate portfolio.   Unfortunately, skilling environmental due diligence on a commercial site can be a costly mistake when remediation is needed.

Phase I and 1030 Exchange

As a  real estate investor, a 1031 Exchange can allow you to leverage your investment in real estate.  In the environmental due diligence world, we find that 1031 Exchanges tend to skip over environmental due diligence, which places the parties involved at risk.     People need to understand, that the owner of the property =  the RP.  (RP = Responsible Party).  Even in situations where the seller agrees to perform the remediation, we have seen RP's disappear and regulatory agencies will also look toward the owner of the real estate. 

Generally speaking A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment should be performed for all commercial real estate transitions, including 1030 exchanges.    Learn About Phase I

 

Phase I Due Diligence

 

Let's start with the appeal of the 1031 Exchange

First, it allows an investor to pick a new property that allows a greater ROI or diversify the portfolio of properties.

You can use the exchange to consolidate several properties into one asset or vice versa acquiring more properties in exchange for one more valuable one, possible for estate planning.

On an accounting basis, you can reboot the depreciation clock. Meaning rather than simply selling one property and buying another one the 1031 exchange allows you to defer capital gains tax, thus freeing more capital for investment in the replacement property.

That all sounds great right?  Well, the environmental rub is there are time frames for 1030 to execute and we are finding many people have skipped over doing environmental due diligence including Phase I, II & III.   The rub is all Phase I studies follow an outline established by ASTM.  ASTM updates the standard every 8 years.  Generally speaking, when a change occurs Phase I becomes more inclusive.    a Phase I from 20 years ago would be a faster read than one today.  So you can expect that today's Phase I will be more thorough.  

The oil that leaked from this previously sealed pit is now the owner's responsibility to address.

 

Oil pit

How do you protect yourself with a 1030 Exchange?

Real estate transactions are complicated and 1031 Exchanges add a short window to identify properties, which makes people cut corners.

  1. Be savvy and have your environmental consultant evaluate the potential sites.  You can start with a cursory environmental evaluation to find any red flags, you don't always have to do a Phase I.  You can do a Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA): Which is where an environmental professional obtains, reviews, and summarizes an ASTM 1527-21 compliant database for the noted property and the surrounding one (1) mile. The review will focus on any pertinent listing for the Subject Property as well as any surrounding properties which could pose a potential Recognized Environmental Concern (REC). The environmental professional will also perform a reconnaissance of the Subject Property. (Access to interior building areas must be granted.).   RSRA's can be converted to Phase I after the decision is made to pursue the property.  RSRA's are helpful if you are evaluating multiple sites but only plan on acquiring one of them.  Now an RSRA is not a substitute for Phase I but rather a way for an investor to evaluate multiple properties without fully committing to Phase I.
  2. Of course, you can also perform a Phase I for the target property.   Savvy investors will get the target property owner to share the cost of the Phase I which will allow both buyer and seller to retain rights and use of the report, in case the 1031 Exchange does not go through.
  3. You can also have the owner perform the Phase I as a condition of your acquisition.   Hey to be fair, the property is going to need to have a Phase I for any buyer and many sellers contract for the Phase I to help expedite sales, even before the property is listed for sale.   Realtors take note, properties with a completed current Phase I go to settlement faster.  Buyers can always have the Phase I peer reviewed by an environmental professional.  Curren Environmental peer reviews a few hundred Phase I reports every month, so this is not uncommon.
  4.  
  5. At this point we hope you have a bit more knowledge about Environmental and 1031 Exchanges.  Want to know more?  Call an environmental professional.
    Call Curren Today

Pro Tip:  Curren Environmental has been doing Due Diligence for close to three decades (Yea we are old).    When you need a Phase II, well we just pivot and come back to the site with some of our equipment. 90% of other companies call a subcontractor which adds cost and time.

Environmental Liability & 1031 Exchange

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Home Inspection finds a buried oil tank.

Jul 21, 2021 11:03:09 AM / by david sulock posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, tank sweep, gpr tank swep, foam filling oil tank, gpr tank sweeps, gpr tank scan

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What  happens when a home inspection finds a possible underground oil tank?

A common request our office receives regarding a tank sweeps.

"Hello, I'm selling my home and we suspect that the buyer did a tank sweep with a metal detector vs GPR. They supposedly think they found a tank on the property. We do not see any evidence of a tank, nor was one disclosed by the previous owner (who bought the home in the 70s, house is 80 years old). Is it possible that this 'tank' is just a gutter drain pipe, part of our sprinkler system and/or rubble backfill such as a chunk of concrete sidewalk with rebar or metal containing soil? If so, would a GPR scan be conclusive? Thanks."

This is a common situation we get from property owners who are told they have a buried oil tank.   The owner has the question regarding if the meta detector is reliable.    Here are some common talking points...
  1. The property owner is unclear how the suspect tank was found.  Was it found with a Metal detector, or  Ground Penetrating Radar or both? (both GPR and a metal detector would be best) The solution would be having the owner receive a copy of the Tank Sweep Report so they would have a baseline regarding what they found and where. Yes, every professional service should come with a report, no report, then question how professional the service was.
  2. The property is over 70 years old, so while the owner has no knowledge that there was an oil tank, they also have no documentation that there was not an oil tank. A 70 year old property most likely had oil heat at one point in time as oil was very popular in the past and other fuel sources such as natural gas was not commonly available or financially appealing until the 1970's.
  3. The tank scan found a buried object, presumably metal. If only a metal detector was utilized, you can't say 100% if the metal found is a tank as metal detectors detect metal and properties have all sort of buried metal. Metal can be in the soil naturally, you could have buried debris, buried metal pipes or surface metal (like a fence) that distracted the metal detector and have a false buried metallic signature reading. Happens all the time. A metal detector on a sandy beach is great it will find buried metal, likely a bottle cap, but people hope for coins or expensive jewelry. People paying a couple hundred dollars for someone to use an $800 metal detector to find a tank are also helpful.
Call Curren TodayThe photo below was where a metal detector thought there was a tank.  There was no tank, just soils with a metallic signature.

tank home inspection

The guy in shorts, is using a $900.00 metal detector and found a suspect tank in the front yard.

metal detector tank scan

When you scan for a tank, the more expensive the equipment the better.   GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) costs tens of thousands of dollars because it has the technology to do the job.

best oil tank sweep with gpr

 Effective Oil Tank Scan or Oil Tank Sweeps like on commercial sites would use GPR as it will                            provide a signal (image) of buried objects.

buried oil tank found via GPR

The signal above shows the underground oil tank. 

Purchasers of commercial properties are more aware of the liability associated with leaking USTs (Hundreds of thousands of dollars) compared to a residential home buyers (Homeowners think a few thousand dollars is a lot.) So on the commercial side of real estate tank sweeps are completed with GPR, not metal detectors. Most environmental consultants that perform tanks weeps will use GPR and discount the cost for residential sites. Nobody wants to see someone buy a house and find a $50,0000 cleanup is required.

What if a buyer finds a suspect tank?

This is a really hard question because it relies so much on the quality of the tank sweep.    If they used GPR, if the property is likely to have had an oil tank (older the home, the more likely) and if the buried anomaly has the signature of a tank.  Well then you have to excavate and confirm that object is an oil tank.

Who pays for the oil tank removal?

Owner will pay 98% of the time as finding a hidden oil tank is a defect that needs to be addressed.

Do they have buried oil tanks at the beach (shore)?

If the home wanted heat, then yes homes along the coast and on islands had buried oil tanks.  Oil was king up until the late 1970's in New Jersey.  The photo below is of a home we scanned on a barrier island.  Many older beach houses eventually converted to natural gas, as gas could also  fuel the stove, dryer,  hot water heater etc.   After conversion to gas, it was not uncommon that the tank was just left in the ground.  So short answer beach houses had oil tanks.

Tank sweeps at the beach

What if a suspect tank is found and we don't believe its a tank?

Short answer prove your opinion right and dig it up and verify its not a tank.

What is the best tank sweep?

Using Ground Penetrating Radar is the best technology for finding buried tanks at properties, period.  Can you use a metal detector to verify a GPR signal that identified a tank?  Sure, always verify the object is metal.  GPR can't penetrate metal so when a GPR sweep pings a tank, it means the radar can't penetrate the object (likely a metal tank) but there are buried concrete tanks.  Metal detectors can verify an object is metal, but a metal detector  should not be used to be your sole technology

Call Curren Today

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Bank Owned Homes & Mold

Jun 19, 2020 8:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments, mold consultant

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The recession of 2008 can still be felt today in the form of foreclosed properties that have been flipped.    These flipped homes look nothing like the home when it was bank owned.   Flipped homes certainly hold appeal for homeowners who want move in conditions homes.  The photo below shows a house that went through renovations.

flipped home-1

This is a photo of the same home same area pre renovation.   Note the mold on the wood furniture on the left hand side of the photo.

mold in home before flip (002)

Bank owned houses due to no occupancy, have wildly ranging temperatures and humidity fluctuations.  In short, the house gets hot and humid in warmer months, which allows mold to grow.  We have done homes where we come across mold on walls, trim, furniture, attics, basements and crawl spaces due to the house not being heated and cooled.  These homes also may be like this for years.  This certainly makes for homes that are in desperate need of rehabilitation, the question you have to ask is was the mold addressed?

Almost certainly mold in attics and crawl spaces are typically not addressed as these are not areas where the flipper will get bang for their buck or even look for repairs.

Basements typically get partially redone because it creates a living space that was not present before.  The problem is mold that has grown during the foreclosure process gets covered over by clean sheetrock, concealing the mold.  We have seen cracks in foundation walls covered by fresh sheetrock.

Basement mold

 

Basements in bank owned homes typically will have some levels of mold growth.  Again, when these homes are not occupied, there is a high possibility of mold growth.  

Why Mold Test a Flipped Home?

Many house flippers tend to look over the mold growth in basements, one because they are not aware it is mold growth and two, they are unaware of any water issues.  It is Curren's recommendation to always do  Mold Testing in basements of those homes that are being flipped, especially if they were once not occupied and a Foreclosure, sheriff sale, tax sale or bank sale property. There are times when basements are finished or re-finished and the mold growth is covered up, but not specifically remediated.  Meaning, mold will continue to grow and fester in these areas and will not just disappear.  

Attics are yet another area that are not in the realm of a house flipper.  When an house is not occupied for a period of time, humidity and moisture builds up, especially in an area that has no air flow.  Non-occupied homes do  not always have electricity and whole house attic fans, attic fans and humidistat attic fans will not turn on when necessary.  These situations lead to mold growth in attics.

mold can grow in an attic

Curren Environmental suggests Mold Inspections and testing in homes that have not been occupied for a period of time.  Mold growth will occur within 72 hours in the right environment.  Its not to say that home flippers are hiding the mold, they may just be missing that what they see is mold growth.  They are not mold experts.

Questions?

Call Curren Today

or email at info@currenenvironmental.com

 

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Should I buy a house with a buried oil tank?

Jun 10, 2020 10:15:00 AM / by david sulock posted in oil tank removal, oil tank removal nj, oil tank, oil tank leak, buying a home with a tank

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Should I buy a house with a buried oil tank?

Buying a house with an oil tank is one of the biggest financial liabilities a home buyer can assume.  Buried oil tanks and Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs)  leak over time, and the oil pollutes subsurface soil and leaches into underground water.  Bottom line, oil tank leaks are expensive and owners of contaminated sites are responsible to clean up these leaks.

Environmental regulations dictate what is permissible amounts of oil that can remain in the ground. If oil levels are above permissible limits you have to remediate, remove contaminated soils to clean up the oil. The owner of the property is the responsible party. Small oil tank leak cleanups will cost around $10,000.00 and large soil remediation projects can exceed $50,000.00 even up to  $100,000.00. At that point, sellers are motivated not to make a big deal about an oil tank and buyers have to be cautious about buying a house with an oil tank.

 

oil tank remediation

Oil tanks are confusing for those involved, as these oil tanks and leaking oil tanks have laws, regulations and liability    Oil tanks have liability like that of driving your car, risk is everywhere, but to understand the risk with oil tanks you have to look at the tank on a molecular level.

First 98% of oil tanks are made of steel. Steel rusts.  During the life-span of a tank it will eventually leak.  

all oil tanks will leak evantually

The home below was built in 1968, tank was removed in 2019 = 51 year old tank.

buying a house with an oil tank 

90% of tanks have exceeded their designed life expectancy.

New tanks today, on average, have of 10, 20, 25 and 30 year warranties, depending on what tank you buy.  Clearly the more expensive tank has the longer warranty.  The tank on the left has a 30 year warranty, the tank on the right if bought today with a basic warranty would have a 10 year warranty.

 

Double wall Tank 30 year warranty

Above Ground oil tank Leaking-1

 

Think about buying anything, how focused are you on the warranty?  can you remember how long the warranty is on your car, dishwasher, hot water heater?

Calculating back from the year 2020, the following would be the age of a tank from the home you are buying.  Rarely EVER do people replace USTs with a new UST. Think about the following:

  • Home Built in 1940 has a 80 year old tank
  • Home Built in 1950 has a 70 year old tank
  • Home Built in 1960 has a 60 year old tank
  • Home Built in 1970 has a 50 year old tank
  • Home Built in 1980 has a 40 year old tank

 

Is buying a home with an oil tank a good idea?   Well if the oil tank has been replaced and you have a warranty, then you have a good baseline regarding when the tank will need replacement.  This unicorn and rainbow scenario is likely three percent of transactions where an oil tank is present. The norm is the seller will say "I bought the house with the tank and so should you".

Mortgage companies and insurance companies are well acquainted with the liability of oil tanks.  Residential buried oil tanks consistently cause trouble for home sellers and home buyers.  Sellers do not want the liability and many want to sell the home "as is" with the underground oil tank.   Buyers, are more informed than ever and they don't want to buy a leaky tank.   Add in mortgage lenders who are wary of  buried oil tanks and may refuse to provide loans to purchase homes having them. Insurance companies may not want to write a policy for a property with an oil tank.  

If you are buying a home with an oil tank, the best advice is to ask the owner to remove and replace the oil tank.  The reason being, the tank is most likely well past a reasonable life span, and when it leaks you will not know, it's not a roof where leaks are obvious.  It is also not always worth testing the tank due to the age, regardless of if you get a passing tank test, there will be a recommendation to remove the tank due to take age. 

If your trying to sell a home with an old oil tank, read the paragraph above.  No one wants to buy an old tank, which by all standards (common sense included) is old and should be replaced.  If you are the last person holding the straw and are responsible for removing the tank, I am sorry, I would give you the same advice if you were buying a house with an oil tank.

 

Call Curren Today

 

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Will mold be an issue in my home sale?

Jun 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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Will finding mold growth hurt my chances of selling my home?   This is a common question we are asked when a home buyer finds mold during a real estate transaction.   Mold is a known health hazard, from inhalation of mold spores to the generation of MVOC and mycotoxins, which are generated by mold growing can adversely affects human health. And although you may be living with the mold without incident, you can guarantee that the new owner will not want mold in their new home

In states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware where the housing stock is older, building materials have had more time to degrade which allows mold to grow.  Heck a 50 year old home has had plenty of time to have plumbing issues.  If purchasing an older home, expect mold during a sale.

attic mold

Finding mold and having to remediate mold is not driven by laws like a leaking oil tank would dictate remediation. Rather remediating a mold problem is going to be on the top of the buyers "To Do List" prior to purchase. Buyers can overlook the worn carpet, older windows and out-dated bathroom, but buyers can not overlook mold that tends to have buyers draw a line in the sand.  For one, buyers have plans for new paint, replacing the windows and carpet but not having to cleanup a mold problem.

basement sheetrock mold

Clearly visible mold is not a desirable feature of a home, we have never seen someone promote the presence of mold to sell a home. Sure we see homes that are being sold as is, which is a clear indication the owner knows there are defects in the home somewhere. But to say you have large walk in closets, newer kitchen and mold in the basement, yep we don't ever come across that statement.

Fretting over the type of mold and hazards associated with mold are a mute point, you won't see someone allergic to nuts try and differentiate the dangers between a peanut, walnut or cashew. 

Level heads prevail when managing a mold issue, you have to address mold on a molecular level.   You have mold growth in a home because the environment was conducive for the mold to grow.   Arguing that only a little water seeps into the basement after a heavy rain will not get a buyer to stop crowing about wanting the mold fixed. 

A competent mold company that is looking out for everyone's best interest is harder to find than you would expect, this is directly related to the fact that there are no mold regulations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware.  Without mold regulations, you have no licensing, without mold licensing you have no competence hurdle for someone to perform mold work.   Any "Chuck in a Truck" will proclaim to be your mold expert.

At Curren we have completed 1000's of mold inspections and remediation and while each one is similar (they have mold) there are nuances to the project.  See the photo below, mold was caused by a disconnected dryer vent which exhausted moist air in the ceiling.  

mold in ceiling

We have seen a few things when it comes to mold.  We have a team of experienced inspectors and our crews are trained from the top down to do your mold job right.  This starts with finding the cause, fixing the sources and removing the mold.

mold inspections mold remediation

Mold Questions? Click Here

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Buying a House with an abandoned oil tank.

Jun 2, 2020 11:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in oil tank removal nj, EDA tank grants, tank leak, underground oil tanks, filled in place tank

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If you are purchasing a property with an abandoned oil tank, be concerned that you are playing with fire.  Let's be clear, the concern with any oil tank is if the tank leaks.  If the property with the abandoned oil tank has a report that includes soil testing you should not have any concerns,  but that is not the common situation when a property has an abandoned oil tank.

The real hurdle regarding a property with an abandoned oil tank is that the owner does not want to do anything with the oil tank.    People will say the tank is fine, that they, themselves, purchased the house with the abandoned tank so its fine for those homeowners because they don't have the monies to remove the tank. 

So what is the underlying issue? The homeowner doesn't want to find that the tank is leaking.  It's costly to remediate, and they can easily pass that along to buyers who don't do their due diligence.    In some cases, buyers are tempted to take a credit for tank removal to allow the sale to go through.

oil tank leak

This photo is from a leaking oil tank.  Cleanup cost exceeded a $100,000.00

I cannot advise having the work performed after settlement as you do not have enough data to determine what would be a prudent amount of money to set aside in escrow in the event that the oil tank leaks. For your reference, a small oil leak can cost $5,000.00 to $10,000.00, with larger oil leaks costing tens of thousands of dollars. In the absence of a written narrative (report) from the tank closure company and associated laboratory analysis that would have been performed during the closure activities, you cannot say that the tank does not represent an environmental issue.

Oil tanks represent an unknown financial liability that can affect the value of a home, the ability to obtain a mortgage and homeowners insurance. Since the abandoned oil tank is the hurdle to overcome in a real estate transaction, removing the oil tank is the logical course of action.

An Abandoned tank, closed in place tank, decommissioned tank, can mean many different things.

Abandoned oil tank can mean:

Tank is abandoned, stopped using it and left it "as is".  Think of it as an abandoned car.

abandoned oil tank

This oil tank was abandoned 11 years ago when they switched to natural gas.  About 75 gallons of oil was left in the tank or should I say abandoned.

Oil tanks abandoned in place means something was done to the tank, like filling the tank with sand, stone, concrete or foam.  The question is was the tank cleaned and sampled?   A report would help secure this situation and address concerns of a tank leak.  This situation commonly has no documentation regarding the tank leak, the reason being is the owner didn't want to find  a problem, so no test, no problem can be found.  This is legal, but leaves the unanswered question regarding a tank leak to be answered when the property is sold.

Tank abandoned in place with a permit and inspection by township, city or municipality.   This is the most dangerous of abandoned tanks as buyer and sellers assume that the permit and inspection portion of the work certifies the tank as non leaking.    This is actually not what the town inspects for they inspect for the physical work completed. 

Abandoned oil tank, no paperwork, current owner bought it with the abandoned oil tank.  Tank was abandoned from a prior owner and there were promises that it was done properly but you have no written documentation.

tank abandoned by owner

This tank was abandoned in place, we removed sand, slate pavers, bricks and beneath all that was oil. 

Tanks abandoned in place and the work was done by the homeowner with some friends. No permits, but a really good story about what hard work it was to do.  Yes - this does happen and 99% of the time the DIY tank abandonment is not performed as well as it could have been performed.   Think about it if you have never done something before how good are on your first attempt?

tank abandoned with foam

This tank was foam filled, but the tank was never entered and cleaned.  So oil remained in the tank.   You can see how the foam is discolored from the oil.

 

Tank abandoned in place, but the tank was actually best served to be filled in place due to obstructions.  Meaning there are tanks by pools, under decks, under garages, basically in a location where it would be excessively expensive, even dangerous to remove so the tank gets abandoned in place.  This is common on commercial tanks as commercial tanks are larger and longer and removal causes a larger footprint of disturbance.  In this circumstance after the tank is cleaned samples are acquired and a report documents that yes a steel object remains on the site, but it is technically no longer a tank as it can't hold  liquid (there is a big hole cut into the top of the tank).   This is what we do to document commercial tanks that are abandoned in place, you should expect the same for any residential tank.   Why an abandoned tank may not have a report is either the owner not wanting to test and find a problem, cost, owner went with the cheapest company (cheap means something is lacking) or simply the company that did the work doesn't test, or isn't licensed for testing. 

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25 plus years of oil tank work, Curren Environmental can confidently say 99% of oil tanks can be removed.  So many abandoned tanks should have been removed but were not.   Don't buy a property with an abandoned tank that you are  not 100% certain it did not leak.

Call Today for Expert Advice and Service. 

1-888-301-1050

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What is Mosquito Remediation?

May 23, 2020 10:15:00 AM / by david sulock

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Mosquito remediation service treats your property for mosquitoes, but really is the definition of remediation? 

  • Fix an underlying condition causing a problem.
  • Removing something that is unwanted.

If you don't want to get bit by mosquitoes, you want your yard remediated, meaning the "removal" of mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes are a problem that Curren's will remediate.

We precisely treat mosquito breeding areas in your yard.  We target the mosquito life cycle including both adults as well as eggs.  The following photo highlights where you will find mosquitoes in the heat of the day, that is where we apply our treatment.

 

mosquito breeding area

Our trained technicians will inspect your property for mosquito habitats (yes you have them too) and will take the appropriate treatment measures.    If we find issues on your property our software program will email a photo of that specific problem area on the day of treatment.

common residential Mosquito breedig area

Our treatment has an immediate (24 hour) knockdown on the mosquito population in your yard.  A residual barrier portion of the mosquito treatment provides continued protection for 3 weeks.

This video shows a yard being treated, which includes landscaping and fences.  We don't treat where you sit and eat, since mosquitoes don't breed there during the heat of the day.

HubSpot Video

 

If you have a yard you want to enjoy then you should call and speak to one of our professionals.

Mosquito Control Questions

Im Hungry said the mosquito

 

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Business Reopening Disinfecting

May 21, 2020 11:30:00 AM / by david sulock

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                              Disinfect for Business Reopening

As the economy reopens, businesses are asking employees to return to work.  Safety of its employees are on every business's mind.   Many work spaces are undergoing a deep office disinfecting prior to employees returning to their place of work.  This professional disinfecting reboots the space.

 

office disinfecting

Office Disinfecting

Curren can apply an EPA N listed disinfectant to treat areas where your employees work.  Utilizing precision application equipment, including cold mist foggers, which have power-mist capable of 56 micron droplets to ULV 20-35 micron droplets to surfaces throughout the space. These powered devices can yield single digit micron droplets: or deliver a soaking mist dependent on the surface treated. As indicated by the name, ULV (Ultra-Low Volume) misters and foggers transform low amounts of fogging liquid to substantial yet very fine droplet mists ensuring thorough application to surfaces.  This ensures that surfaces  are thoroughly treated

office disinfecting    office disinfecting

Disinfectant Efficiency

Curren has been using disinfectants for years in our mold remediation projects.  Our disinfectants are commonly used in hospitals, hence the appeal of using them on our project sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced and maintains a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Fiberlock Shockwave Concentrate with EPA registration 61178-73884 is on the list and will be utilized for this project. (List N).  Shockwave is Curren's choice for mold projects and for disinfecting business office spaces. 

While surface disinfectant products on List N have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, EPA expects them to kill the virus because they:

  • Demonstrate efficacy (e.g. effectiveness) against a harder-to-kill virus; or
  • Demonstrate efficacy against another type of human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Curren's technicians are trained in PPE (personal protective equipment) procedures such as how to put on and remove PPE equipment and utilize proper PPE during the duration of all work activities.

Professional office disinfecting allows businesses and landlords to help ensure the safety of their employees and provide the space a safe environment for business operations.

The CDC has many guidelines that businesses should follow once operations restart.  Once you reboot a space you have to follow your own plan such as:

  1. Limit entry of the work space to employees only. You must then trust your coworkers to be safe. FedEx, UPS,  food delivery everything gets stopped at door.
  2. Disinfecting common areas, such as copiers, during the day.
  3. Provide hand sanitizers in office for employees use.
  4. Offering masks and gloves for employees to use.
  5. Installing plexiglass at offices on desks in common areas.
  6. Keeping doors open so door knobs (common touch area) don't get touched.

CDC Guidance can be found here: CDC Guidance Documents.

 

Call Curren Today

 

 

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