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Tiffany Byrne


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Where are Mosquitoes in the Winter?

Jan 25, 2022 1:33:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mosquito, Mosquito Remedation, mosquito control service

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Did you know that Mosquitoes, like all insects, are cold-blooded creatures? Because of this, mosquitoes are incapable of regulating their body heat and their temperature is essentially the same as their surroundings. Mosquitoes will function best at 80 degrees F, then becoming lethargic at 60 degrees F. Mosquitoes cannot function below 50 degrees F. In most tropical areas, mosquitoes are active year-round. In temperate climates, adult mosquitoes of some species become inactive with the onset of cool weather and enter hibernation to live through the winter.

mosquito life cycle

Some kinds of mosquitoes have winter hardy eggs and hibernate as embryos in eggs laid by the last generation of females in late summer. The eggs are usually submerged under ice and hatch in spring when water temperatures rise. Other kinds of mosquitoes overwinter as adult females that mate in the fall, enter hibernation in animal burrows, hollow logs or basements and pass the winter in a state of torpor (these are the mosquitoes one might see on a warm January or February day).

Life Cycle

In spring, the females emerge from hibernation, search for food (blood from you) and lay the eggs that produce the next generation of adults (could be within 7 days). A limited number of mosquitoes overwinter in the larval stage, often buried in the mud of freshwater swamps. When temperatures rise in spring, these mosquitoes begin feeding, complete their immature growth and eventually emerge as adults.

 

Find out how you can remove mosquitoes from your backyard in the spring, summer and fall months.

 

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MOLD...the four letter word in real estate transactions.

Nov 15, 2021 1:00:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, mold assessments, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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Mold is the new four-letter word of real estate transactions. If either mold is visually found or testing is done (airborne mold spores and/or surface sampling), the transaction has a high percentage that it may not happen. There are many stories of real estate transactions with mold growth, but this one is very interesting.

The story goes that a buyer was interested in a home and during the home inspection, the home inspector took an air sample in the basement and the outside (exterior) for comparison.  There was no photo or knowledge of where the air sample was acquired from, for example the photo below documents where the air sampling was acquired (ex. kitchen).

Air sampling

Back to the story - The buyers wanted the entire basement remediated down to the studs.  The seller contacted Curren Environmental and  we provided sampling as well.  Our sampling showed mold was present in the basement bedroom. 

Sample results before and after

What does this lab data mean?

 The Stachybotrys as shown above in the sample results prior to remediation , should not have a raw count above one, and it was at 43.  Penicillium/Aspergillus was also very high, with the spr/m3 at 23,467 where it is recommended that should not be above 1000.  The second set of numbers are after remediation where the airborne mold spores dropped dramatically and were within industry standards.  Note - no home will be mold free. 

As part of the story, you need to know that this property was vacant for over 2 years. The heat and air were on as part of maintenance but not properly dehumidified. Mold growth occurs where there is moisture and organic materials. In this case, there was visual signs of mold growth on some furniture in the basement bedroom, but not in the basement living space and  small visual signs on the sheetrock wall in the basement bedroom.  There was no need to remediation and remove the entire basement back to the studs. 

What happened next?

When the humidity is high and the property is not well ventilated, mold growth will occur. These spores can become airborne and move throughout the home. This home had a lot of carpet which holds mold spores. Curren Environmental provided Mold Remediation at this property.

  • Carpet was removed and tack strips were removed.
  • All organic furniture that could not be wiped down was disposed.
  • Removed mold impacted sheetrock, 18 inches past mold growth in basement bedroom. 
  • HEPA vacuum walls and floors in the entire basement
  • A broad spectrum, FDA approved, fungicide was applied to the walls and the flooring in the rooms.
  • Air scrubbers were on during remediation and left at the property for at least 72 hours.

As the story goes, post air testing showed elevated spore levels dropped dramatically at the property. Please see below. For this story, only the sheetrock area that had mold growth was removed and the carpet, no other sheetrock was removed.  

 

Mold the four letter word

The ending, a happy buyer, a happy seller and clean home. Not every property that has elevated mold spores needs to have everything torn down and removed. A mold remediation professional will look at the data, photos provided and any other detailed information prior to handing over a cost. It is very important to understand that mold is everywhere and there are no “Mold Free” properties.

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Lead-Based Paint in Residential Homes

Dec 14, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Lead

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Lead is sometimes considered the first metal. The ancient Romans used lead for plumbing and regarded lead as the “father of all metals”. Even though they discovered that lead could cause madness, and even death lead was still used. Especially among the aristocrats who used it in wine carafes, glasses, and food plates, all which contained lead. Leading to, what many scholars researched, the fall of the Roman Empire.

Moving towards the “New World” era, lead was beginning to be mined in the state of Virginia. The first use of lead was known to be used in the manufacturer of arms and ammunition by American Colonies. Lead also began to be used in the US for drinking water pipes. The lead was less expensive and more durable than iron, lead piping could also be easily bent making it better to use in existing buildings. It was believed that the earliest health concerns were raised in the 1850s but in the 1920s the effort to ban or limit lead piping became known.

lead water pipe

Lead can be found in the air, soil, and water. Where is lead in our homes today? Much of our exposure comes from our activities, such as the past use of leaded gasoline, industrial facilities paint, and lead piping for water use.  Did you know after leaded gasoline was banned lead in our bloodstream diminished?

What made lead paint so popular?

Lead in the paint allowed the paint to dry quickly, allowed the paint to resist moisture & made the paint more durable.

lead paint

  •  The lead was thought to make products better.
  • It is easily shaped, soft enough to be malleable
  • The low melting point for easy casting into shapes.
  • Lead has durability you did not get from, ceramics, used to seal jars, give roofs waterproof lining, be used in sewage and water pipes that would not crack easily.

Where can lead paint be found?

  • Windows and windowsills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches

lead paint house-1

Is lead paint in your home or the home that you are purchasing? Depends on the age of the home.

 

As you can see lead in paints was immensely popular and the older the home the more likely lead-based paint will be present.   Lead paint was phased out in the 1970s.   If your home is older than 1978, you likely have lead paint. EPA Fact:  Approximately three-quarters of the nation’s housing built before 1978 contains some lead-based paint. This paint, if properly managed and maintained, poses little risk.

If you want a lead paint-free home buy a home built after 1978. But also understand that paint containing lead applied to pre-1978 likely has multiple coats of paint on top of it. The risk of human exposure to lead paint directly correlates to the quality of the painted surface. Chipping and peeling paint can be a concern. If you do renovation and disturb painted surfaces, you are likely to encounter lead paint.   You are much more likely to be exposed to mold than lead paint in the average home.

Call Curren Today 

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Top 5 Environmental Deal Breakers in Real Estate

Oct 1, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Selling a house, Buying a house, Real Estate

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You found the perfect house, it's beautiful inside and out.  This is not the first house you looked at, you actually lost count, so you have a large pool of houses you considered before you decided to make an offer on this one.  There may be a few adjustments when you move in (that worn carpet is going, that wall separating the kitchen and family room is going to go  and lastly the large pink bathroom is getting redone.) but mostly it is actually your dream home (great location, yard, large bedrooms and closets).  You do the walk through and make an offer on the home.  Move forward and now even though the home was your dream home, you never even thought about the environmental issues would impact the purchase of that property. 

Underground Oil Tank

The house has charm, it was built in 1950, so oil heat is assured (there really weren't any other choices).  You do a tank sweep Oil Tank Sweep and find a long forgotten oil tank in the side yard.  Should be easy to remove, cost is around $1,600.00.  You request it be removed. Oil Tank Removal.  The seller's google oil tank leak and get skittish.

tank found with oil tank sweep

Mold in the Basement

Home inspection find suspect fungal growth in the basement.  You hire a mold consultant and the basement is tested and mold is confirmed Mold Inspection & Testing.  Mold remediation as well as mold prevention measures are $2,700.00.  Seller gripes about having to remediate the mold, but their realtor and attorney advised that now that the presence of mold is known it must be disclosed to future buyers and many buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with old.    You are told that mold is not a selling feature.    But hey the mold remediation comes with a long warranty, who doesn't want piece of mind.  Mold Remediation

mold remediation

Call for Mold Questions.

Asbestos in the Wall you want to remove.

Asbestos was actually considered a green building product back in the day.  It was used everywhere, including in plaster and since the house was built in the 1950 (asbestos was banned in the 1970's).   The contractor you had walk through to give you a renovation budget said the presence of asbestos is almost guaranteed as he has worked in the town for years and it comes up on all his projects of homes from that era).   Not a huge problem, but it is going to add thousands to the renovation budget, the landscaping budget just evaporated).  The money for the asbestos is not a concession the seller is willing to step up to, since its well documented that older homes have asbestos.  In fact your realtor tells you that it would be a real feat to find a home built before 1970 that doesn't have asbestos somewhere in the home.

The HVAC System has poor Indoor air quality.

You learned during the home inspection process that the HVAC system is the lungs of the home.  Makes sense hot and cold air run through the system so anything that the system does to improve air quality helps.  This system doesn't do much.  You learned that the little 1"  (inch) filter does next to nothing to remove particulate from the air.  You need a MERV 13 or 16 filter, which is 5" thick.  MERV: minimum efficiency reporting value.  The MERV 16?  Well that filter captures >95% of particles in the entire size range tested (0.3-10.0 microns), one micron — a millionth of a meter, kind of like adding a N-95 mask to your HVAC system.    The system also needs to add more fresh air every hour to compensate for people consuming air and adding carbon dioxide with every breath exhaled.  The house doesn't have a whole house humidifier, which you need in winter to raise humidity.  Apparently viruses can thrive in a low humidity environment.    Lastly you need a UV light added to the system.  Why UV Light?  Ultraviolet lights have been proven to  kill mold, viruses and bacteria for more than 100 years. In 1903, Niels Finsen was given the Noble Prize in Medicine for using UV to effectively treat patients with skin infections.     UV Light is also being used to clean areas of Covid-19.   It all makes sense, you though a heater was a heater, but indoor air quality is on everyone's mind and improving indoor air quality.  Again the sellers are not contributing to the cost since the HVAC was visible, but your untrained eye missed what the HVAC system as missing.  On a side note, their realtor tells your realtor that they are making the same changes to the HVAC system on the home they are buying.

Oil Tank Leaked.

Sellers agreed to remove the tank, and yes a buried metal tank in the ground will rust and oil will leak through the holes.    Remediation cost you are told is around $19,000, and that is not a really expensive cleanup either.  The sellers move forward with the work, but settlement is delayed 45 days due to the remediation and the government signoff of the work.  Again your realtor and attorney explain that a looming oil tank remediation is going to deter other buyers.   Side note, both your mortgage company and home owner's insurance carrier had issues providing insurance and a mortgage on a property with oil contamination.

Want to learn about environmental issues in real estate?

What to know how a home can be green?

Curren Environmental is an education provider and lectures on these topics?   Want to make your staff, your company, your associates smarter about environmental topics?   Call Tiffany Byrne to learn how we can help   856-858-9509

 

Curren Green Home Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

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NJDEP Grant for Leaking Underground Oil Tanks (LUST)

May 27, 2020 9:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne

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New Jersey has a grant program available if you removed your underground oil tank and soil contamination above the NJ standards are present. Eligible applicants can request reimbursement for tank removal costs and future remediation expenses. There are, however, some stipulations that you must be aware of first before you can begin your application.

The NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA) makes the determination on the applications eligibility for the grant award. To be considered for the grant the following must exist:

  • It must be an underground oil tank. For the tank to be considered an underground oil tank it must be at least 10 % underground.
  • Taxable income of no more than $250,000 and a personal net worth, exclusive of applicant's primary residence, employer sponsored pension and traditional retirement accounts such as 401K’s and IRA’s, of no more than $500,000.
  • You must use a licensed oil tank removal company to remove the oil tank and provide soil sampling.
  • Must own tank at time of removal and home must be primary residence.

Those applicants not meeting the criteria for financial hardship will not be considered for the grant program.

The application itself is detailed and applicants need help filling out the application and acquiring the attachments. The NJDEP Grant application requires information including the site address, case number, tank removal company and information regarding your insurance coverage. Below is an example of what should be filled out:

  1. Application (3 Pages) – (if a section does not pertain to your site, please mark N/A). Note on the first page of the application the total amount requested is blank; this will be completed upon receipt of all paid invoices and the final amount of the remediation is determined.
  2. Attachment A (1 Page)- sign in the presence of a notary
  3. Attachment B (1 Page)- sign in the presence of a notary
  4. Attachment C is for Non-Profit Organizations.
  5. Attachment D (Information on the tank removal date and company that provided the tank removal)
  6. Attachment E (if it pertains to you and your property)
  7. Attachment F (if it pertains to you and your property)

Once your application is filled out, receipts and lab data are included and the application is notarized, it is ready to send to the NJDEP.

The following is a general overview of what you can expect about the timing and costs for the grant process.

Grant applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received and are approved as funding allows. The NJDEP Bureau of Contract & Fund Management will review the proposal for compliance with their rate structure. The NJDEP Bureau of Contract & Fund Management will also determine if the scope of work is acceptable, which validates the cost structure. Upon completion of its review, the NJDEP will forward eligible application to the NJEDA.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA)

After the NJEDA has received notification from the NJDEP accepting the scope of work, the NJEDA will send you, directly, an application packet to be completed and returned to the NJEDA. The NJEDA will then review your application and determine eligibility for the program based on your financial situation. You will need to submit a $250.00 (nonrefundable) application fee. You will be notified of their findings. Curren does not have an estimated timeframe for the review process, but in the past it has ranged from 2 to 4 years.

Once the NJEDA has approved your application, you then send the approval to the company that assisted you with the application.

More information can be located at the NJDEP

Curren Environmental has over 15 years’ experience with the NJDEP EDA LUST grant program, helping homeowners in New Jersey with tank leak problems. Surprisingly we find many eligible applicants are unaware or misunderstand the grant program and very few environmental companies actually explain the program to their tank removal clients. If you want to know your options and get expert advice call Curren.Call Curren Today

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Rounding of Analytical Data.

Feb 19, 2020 1:19:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in LSRP in New Jersey

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On December 8, 2019 the NJDEP presented a link to a document presenting the NJDEP’s position on the use of rounding analytical data in order to achieve compliance with regulatory cleanup criteria.  This rounding practice has been primarily used with respect to groundwater data.  Under the “What’s New!” column on the right hand side of the page, fourth item down titled Notice Concerning the Use of Rounding of Analytical Data as a Method to Determine Compliance with Remediation StandardsThe message can be found here. 

 

As stated, the NJDEP “does not have an official policy regarding rounding as a method of compliance” and that “current laws and rules regarding remediation do not address rounding as a method of compliance”.  The NJDEP has also indicated that “rounding of analytical data may not be used as a compliance option”.

According to the Site Remediation Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq, which is law,  states as follows; 

58:10C-14. Certification of documents by site remediation professional

The licensed site remediation professional shall employ the following remediation requirements in providing professional services for the remediation of contaminated sites:

(3) The licensed site remediation professional shall apply any available and appropriate technical guidelines concerning site remediation as issued by the department. The department shall provide interested parties the opportunity to participate in the development and review of technical guidelines issued for the remediation of contaminated sites.

(4) When there is no specific requirement provided by the technical standards for site remediation adopted by the department, and guidelines issued by the department are not appropriate or necessary, in the professional judgment of the licensed site remediation professional, to meet the remediation requirements listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the licensed site remediation professional may use the following additional guidelines to make decisions regarding a remediation, and shall set forth justification for such use, in the relevant submittal:

(a) relevant guidance from the federal Environmental Protection Agency or other states; and

(b) other relevant, applicable, and appropriate methods and practices that ensure the protection of the public health and safety, and of the environment.

 

As shown above section 58:10C-14c(4) indicates that in the absence of official regulations and/or guidance by the NJDEP, the LSRP may rely upon other credible guidance in order to make decisions regarding their oversight of a remedial site.

More information on the USEPA document titled Procedures for Rounding-Off Analytical Data to Determine Compliance with Maximum Contaminant Levels Present in NIPDWR, April 6, 1981 can be found here.

The document refers that all Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) contained in the National Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations are expressed in the number of significant digits permitted by the precision and accuracy of the specified analytical procedure(s). Data reported to the State or EPA should be in a form containing the same number of significant digits as the MCL. In calculating data for compliance purposes, it is necessary to round-off by dropping the digits that are not significant. The last significant digit should be increased by one unit if the digit dropped is 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. If the digit is 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4, do not alter the preceding number.

For example, if the monthly mean for coliform bacteria is 1.4999, the reported result should be 1 (one). A result of 3.50 should be rounded to 4 (four).

Chemical and radiological data may be treated in like manner. Analytical results for mercury of 0.0016 would round off to 0.002 while 5.4 pCi/l of combined radium-226 and radium-228 would round down to 5 pCi/l.

Another document is from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection titled Guidance for the Use of Significant Figures and Rounding Conventions in Water Quality Permitting  which states;

In reporting results and in calculating permit limits or mass loads, it is necessary to round the results to the correct number of significant figures. There are different rounding conventions in use, and BWPC has adopted a hybrid approach in which the rounding convention used for a number ending in 5 depends on the context. In reporting measured values, 5 is rounded to the nearest even number. For calculated values, 5 is rounded up.

Both referenced documents present the same procedures for the rounding of analytical data.  The use of these documents by the LSRP to manage a remedial site is supported by SRRA.  The decision to continue to use and potentially go against the December 2019 NJDEP e-mail message is a decision that needs to be made by the Person Responsible for Conducting Remediation (PRCR) and the project LSRP.

You really need a firm with experience and understanding of environmental regulations to help you  navigate New Jersey’s environmental regulations.  Curren has over 20 years’ experience.  We provide an initial consultation with parties requiring LSRP services in New Jersey.  

Call Curren Today

 

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Why is the Best Mosquito Control Important?

Feb 18, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mosquito, Mosquito Remedation, mosquito management service, mosquito control service, mosquito removal, mosquito control

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Mosquito control is critical in disease prevention. Mosquitoes transfer diseases such as Yellow Fever, Malaria, Dengue, plus the West Nile virus. We need to protect ourselves from these viruses by protecting our yards. Without proper mosquito control, yards can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

How can mosquitoes transfer disease? You are the meal for the female bloodsucking mosquito, who, in turn is feeding the eggs. When the female needs to find food it goes for you, the blood meal. Male mosquitoes only suck on nectar and hang out in shady areas of you yard, waiting to reproduce. As a mosquito flies closer to its target, it looks for the movement of dark objects. Once it finds you, it lands, inserts its proboscis and probes for blood vessels beneath the skin. When it finds one, it injects saliva into the wound. The saliva contains an anticoagulant that ensures a steady, smooth flow of blood. Unfortunately, the mosquito’s saliva also may contain pathogens such as malaria parasites or encephalitis virus. This is how mosquitoes transmit disease.

Ready for Spring This Mosquito cant wait-1

What other reasons why it is important for mosquito control? It hits you psychologically, you are constantly looking over your shoulder wondering when the next mosquito is flying for their next meal of the day. To be perfectly honest, mosquitoes are annoying and can ruin your time outside which is why you won’t 

Research shows that mosquitoes began to emerge in New Jersey in April. Prior to April there are few things that as a homeowner you can do yourself to control mosquitoes.venture out during those dusk hours.

  • Empty all buckets of standing water.
  • Clean your gutters (or call a gutter guy to clean them for you). Leaves clog the gutters and downspouts, leading to an area where the female can lay her eggs.
  • Check areas around your home where water pools, fill these areas with topsoil and some grass seed. Keep the water pooling to a minimum. A mosquito only needs a capful of water to lay her eggs.
  • Remember any water outside at your property can lead to a mosquito breeding ground.
HubSpot Video

While the above is important, once mosquitoes become adults, they are on the underside of bushes hiding and  waiting for you to come outside. This is where you need a professional company to control the mosquitoes.

Mosquito companies will spray the underside of the bushes, trees, under decks and around the foundation of your dwelling to manage the mosquitoes in your yard.

For more information please contact Curren Environmental. It’s time to learn more about mosquitoes and controlling these annoying pests in your yard – take back you yard this spring.

 

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Mold Remediation with Post-Air Sampling Data

Feb 6, 2020 11:22:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold assessments

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Mold is the four-letter word of real estate transactions. Finding mold can pause a sale and stop the sale all together.  If mold is visually found and/or confirmed via testing, the odds of the sale failing increases, unless you can get ahead of the problem.

IMG_1015-1
There are many stories of real estate transactions with mold growth, but this one is very interesting.
The story goes that a buyer was interested in a home and the property was an in an estate.  This particular property had been vacant for some time (About 26 months).  The buyers were from out of state and mold was a concern.  During the home inspection, the home inspector took air samples throughout the home. He also found possible mold growth on some wood furniture. Those air samples were mailed to an independent lab, and once the lab finished testing the samples, they sent a report back to the home inspector. The home inspector then sent the lab data to the buyer.   Elevated mold spore count were found indoors as compared to outside levels.   The levels were also higher than you would typically find in a home sand water damage.

 

Tape sample

 

Outside sample
 

 

Tape sample

 

What does mold lab data mean?
First, as part of the story, you need to know that this property was vacant for over 2 years. The heat was on as part of maintenance but the home was not property dehumidified (air conditioned in the warmer months). Mold growth occurs where there are moisture and organic materials. In this case, again there were only visual signs of mold growth on some furniture, but no visual signs on the sheetrock walls, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets and no signs on the ceilings throughout the home.

What caused mold to grow in a vacant home?
When the humidity is high and the property is not well ventilated, mold growth will occur. These spores can become airborne and move throughout the home. This home had a lot of carpets which contain organic matter (dirt, skin cells, etc.) and carpets hold mold spores.

Curren Environmental completed a mold assessment and found no outside water entry, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, etc. Mold growth was contributable to the home being vacant without consistent heating and air conditioning operating.  Mold Remediation at this property was performed and removed the airborne spore count to levels comparable to outside.  Remediation was performed as follows:

  1. The carpet was removed and tack strips were removed.
  2. All organic furniture that could not be wiped down was disposed of (fabric coating sofas and chairs.
  3. HEPA vacuumed walls and floors in the master bedroom, in-law suite, and 2nd floor.
  4. A broad-spectrum, FDA approved, fungicide was applied to the walls and the flooring in the rooms.
  5. Air scrubbers operated during and after the remediation based on volume of air in the space and goal of completing multiple air exchanges. 

As the story goes, post air testing showed that the elevated spore levels dropped dramatically at the property. Please see below. For this story, no walls were removed, no ceilings were opened nothing was torn down to the pre-construction stage.

 

 

Post remediation Data 1

 

Post Mold Remediation Lab Data 2

 

 
Post remediation Data 1

 

 

The ending, a happy buyer, a happy seller, and a clean home. Not every property that has elevated mold spores needs to have everything torn down and removed.   Mold testing must be assessed facting in history of the space, current conditions and an understanding of mold spores found and what environments these spore thrive.   A mold remediation professional will look at the data, photos provided and any other detailed information before handing over a cost. It is very important to understand that mold is everywhere and there are no “Mold Free” properties.  

Call for Mold Questions.

 

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Top 8 Reasons Why You Need a Tank Scan.

Nov 11, 2019 11:45:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, tank scans

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Buying a home is one of the top ten most stressful situations in an adult’s life. The stress of the inspections, cost of inspections, time and effort put into buying the home is extensive. The amount of inspections one will go through to buy a property could be, at least, totaling six (6). One of those inspections should include searching for an underground oil tank.

Underground oil tanks have a finite life span and were not built to last forever. If you forego the tank scan, you may have just bought yourself an underground oil tank. If the tank leaks you could be faced with a large and pricey problem. Not all recent homeowners are even aware that they bought a home with an underground oil tank.

Top 8 Reasons for a Tank Scan:

1. House built before 1980.
2. Above Ground Oil Tank.
3. Fill Pipes.
4. Vent Pipes.
5. Copper lines are visible.
6. Neighborhood that typically has Underground Storage Tanks
7. Furnace Chimney.
8. Previous tank scan was done with a magnetometer.

House built before 1980
If the house was built before 1980 you should presume that there could be an underground oil tank unless the seller provides you information otherwise. But beware, if a tank scan was done with a magnetometer, the scan may not have been enough to identify an underground oil tank. Ground Penetrating Radar is the most advanced technology used in today’s market to identify buried tanks.

IMG_4352

Above Ground Oil Tank
Prior to oil used as the main heating source, coal was providing the heat in the home. Coal was difficult on the homeowner, as you would have to shovel coal every 4-8 hours to keep the heat on. After coal, oil tanks became a popular heating source. The tank was buried as it was not an added value in the property aesthetics. When homeowners believed that the underground oil tank was no longer working, or it was time for a new tank an aboveground oil tank was installed. In essence, if there is an aboveground oil tank than there is a possibility that an underground oil tank exists on the property.

Fill Pipe

Oil tanks have fill pipes where the oil is distributed to the vessel. The fill pipe is attached to the oil tank and is what the oil delivery company uses to fill the tank with oil. If the fill pipe is noticeable during the home inspection, then that is a sign of an underground oil tank.



Vent Pipe
The vent pipe on the oil tank allows air/fumes to escape from the tank when the fuel is being added. The vent pipe commonly has a mushroom like cap to keep water from entering the oil tank. If a vent pipe is visible than that is sign that there my have been an underground oil tank at the property. If only a vent pipe is found then that means the tank may have been abandoned in place, meaning filled with sand or another inert material.

Copper Lines in Basement Leading to underground oil tank-1

Copper Lines
The oil fuel lines are made of copper tubing (lines) that allow the fuel to move from the tank to the furnace and back to the tank. The supply line provides the fuel from the tank to the furnace and the return line supplies the fuel that was not used back to the tank. If there is any evidence of current lines or lines that were cut, then there may have been an underground oil tank.

 

 

Neighborhood
Neighborhoods start with one home, moving to many, many more homes. Each neighborhood has a timeline, starting with the first home built. If this home was built prior to the 80’s than there is a possibility that a tank was on the property. The neighborhood may not have had a gas hook up line till after the homes were built, meaning there needed to be another source of heat prior to gas. If the neighborhood homes were built prior to gas in the neighborhood that it is likely that there is another source of heat and that could mean an underground oil tank.

A Furnace Chimney
In many old homes the chimney was not just used for wood burning, it was used for coal or oil. Check the chimney and see how many flues there are.

Previous tank scan with a Magnetometer.
There have been many instances where Curren Environmental is called upon to determine whether what the previous metal detector tank scan found is an underground oil tank. Metal detectors find any metal in the structure or asphalt/concrete. A/C units, reinforced concrete and chain link fences all have metal. There have been water lines and sewer lines that have been thought to be underground oil tanks, or on the flip side they were thought to be sewer or water lines and not an underground oil tank. To save money on inspections, start with the Ground Penetrating Radar not with a metal detector.


More questions?  Call our office today and speak to someone in person.

Call Curren Today

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Good vs. Bad Underground Oil Tanks. Which Tank do you have?

Aug 22, 2019 11:29:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in tank removal, oil tank, underground oil tanks

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Questions that are quite often asked “Do I have a good underground oil tank or a bad one?”, or “What is the difference between a good or bad underground oil tank?”. Answering questions regarding underground oil tanks is an easy one, if your tank has been under ground since tanks started being buried (late 1940’s to early 1950’s), then there is no good or bad tank – you need to remove that oil tank. The tank has exceeded any functional and reasonable life expectancy.

In situations when the underground oil tank is still in use and older , the oil tank should be removed and replaced with an aboveground oil tank. Ask yourself a simple question, “Would you buy the house with an oil tank that old in the ground?”.

Tank Removal Question

Underground Oil Tank with holes

Anything subject to corrosion such as a metal tank deposited in the ground has a finite life span, time will cause any underground oil tank to leak. There are no warrant

ies for oil tanks that were placed into the ground over 40/20 years ago. Warranties on oil tanks that are bought today have only a 1 to 10-year warranty. Also, you most likely do not even have insurance that would cover an oil tank leak at this point. Insurance companies started to negotiate covering oil tanks and began removing coverage when the carriers suffered huge claims from underground oil tanks leaking years ago.

Why remove your underground oil tank? You may not see the tank or use the tank but the longer it sits underground the more time it has to rust and for holes to occur, causing oil or residual oil to seep into the ground. Many oil tanks that Curren Environmental remove were in use and found to be leaking and showed no evidence of leakage to the owner prior to removal.

What if you decided to sell your property? Today with that oil tank in the ground, the “buyer” would have a difficult time getting a mortgage and homeowners insurance. You underground oil tank is not “good” sitting underground waiting to for removal. Again, consider if you would buy the home again knowing what you know now about oil tanks.

How would yooil tank delineationu know if you had a “bad” oil tank? You won’t know anything about that oil tank until its removed and soil samples are provided. Soil samples are grabbed directly beneath the oil tank once it has been removed. Those soil samples are taken to an independent lab, analyzed and a report is provided to the client discussing if those soil samples are Non-Detect (ND) or above standards. More information can be found here regarding sampling. Each state has different regulations regarding how much oil is allowed in the soils. NJ is one of the strictest states regarding oil tank removal and contaminated soils.

If you know the age of your oil tank, there were differences between the 1950’s tanks as opposed to the 1970’s tanks. The steel from the 1950’s was stronger and thicker, meaning if the tank was built and put in the ground during that era, the steel may last longer. But remember, if it was put under ground that was over 60-70 years ago! Even if that tank is no longer in use, why keep it in the ground? Nothing is meant to last forever – well maybe plastic water bottles.

There are no good or bad underground oil tanks, just underground oil tanks that need to be removed. To learn more on the removal of your underground tank, soil sampling and costs contact Curren Environmental today by filling out the Form to the right or by calling us now.

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