Advice for you from an experienced Project Manager.
The most important item that I would advise someone regarding an underground oil tank is to know your facts and know what you are and are not paying for with the company you choose. Most clients only get a tank removed once in their lifetime and it can be overwhelming. If you are getting more than one proposal, which I would highly recommend, each proposal should detail within line items exactly what will occur before, during and after the tank removal. If any of the companies you are receiving quotes from are not describing what they are doing in line item detail, I would pass on those companies.
More often than not, when we get a call back from someone who has had their tank removed from another company their main issue or complaint is about the soil samples.
A very important piece of the tank removal is knowing if your tank did or did not leak and knowing the Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbon (EPH) in New Jersey, DRO concentration in Delaware and Statewide Health Standards in Pennsylvania of the soil samples. There are permissible level of oil allowable in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
There is no way to know if you need a remediation just by looking at the soil. How it looks, how it smells, or how many holes in the tank will give you an indication that yes a leak occurred but it will not tell you the concentrations of the contamination without concrete laboratory analysis.
See this photo?
Soils look clean?
They actually are contaminated, looks are deceiving.
If you don't have soil samples analyzed by an independent laboratory (takes about a week) there is no way to know for sure. I have reviewed numerous pieces of information provided by homeowners from their tank removal company and I would say 90% are done in a manner which financially serves the company and not the homeowner. The most common things I have heard in regards to the soil samples:
- The tank removal company took no samples and said remediation was needed
- The tank removal company took 1 sample (a minimum of 2 are required by the state)
- The tank removal company took 1 sample and said remediation was needed but the analysis was wrong
- The tank removal company points to a hole in the tank and declares remediation is necessary and testing isn't necessary because it's obvious.
We go back and test may sites with removed tanks where the homeowner is told remediation is required and low and behold after we test we determine remediation is not warranted. Most times Curren is able to resolve the problem but at the cost of a few thousand dollars that may or may not have been necessary if the original tank removal company has proceeded correctly, meaning obtained soil samples. Taking samples at time of removal is much less expensive than remediation. But companies make more money from remediation so they don't explain the benefit oil soil sampling at time of tank removal.
Bottom line when you shop for a tank removal, you must realize that the cost differential is likely due to the lower priced company not supplying a licensed project manager for soil sampling and the cost of the laboratory analysis.
Now if you are thinking you don't want soil testing performed when your tank is removed, because you don't want to find a problem. Be aware the pool of potential buyers that are willing to buy a property where testing was not performed is tiny. We test properties al the time where tanks were removed without testing and the buyer wants testing. We also see buyers walk away from properties where testing was not performed. They figure if the seller doesn't want to find a problem, they are not going to want to fix a problem if found so why spend the money, they move onto the next house.
Expert Advice for over 20 years