Good Property Bad Soil - Posted by Jennifer Andrews

Posted by Sean (TX) on July 20, 2002 at 10:43:45:

I’m not a realtor but I come from an area where everybody used to have in ground oil tanks. I’ve seen real-world horror stories inflicted on new owners by the eco-nazis.

Do you want to be the one who contaminates the local aquifier? When the cleanup crew crack through the rock substrate and water seeps in to their hole ( or if they just break a water main)that’s exactly what’ll happen. Did that oil have PCB’s? When the neighbor’s kid winds up with cancer do you want to be sued? It doesn’t matter that the last owner deliberately dumped nuclear waste in his back yard. The laws read that it’s the current owner who is responsible and the old owner is off scott free. EPA fines run in the $100 of thousands PER DAY!

It’s not worth the headache.

Make it a condition that ownership does not transfer until it’s all gone. Don’t do this deal until the tank and soil have been removed and you have an EPA approved statement declaring that the area is now clean. Get it gone before you are responsible.

Good luck.


Good Property Bad Soil - Posted by Jennifer Andrews

Posted by Jennifer Andrews on July 20, 2002 at 10:10:59:

I am looking at a property that cost $97,000 and has a monthly income of $2240.00 a month. Upon inspection it was found that the oil tank that is no longer in use has contaminated the soil. We are hoping the seller will pay for the cost of removing both the tank and the soil (@ a cost of $20,000). But the realtor did ask if we would be willing to pay $77,000 for the building and take the responsibility of removing the tank and soil ourselves if the seller can get a concrete estimate of the cost from an independent removal company. Never having dealt with such a situation, I wanted to get some thoughts on whehter the realtors suggestion is a good or bad idea and why.

Re: Good Property Bad Soil - Posted by Buck

Posted by Buck on July 21, 2002 at 10:46:43:

Jennifer, I worked for a company that did hazmat cleanup. I’d hit the door running and not look back.
There are other deals.

Good luck.


Re: Good Property Bad Soil - Posted by Rob (TN)

Posted by Rob (TN) on July 21, 2002 at 10:12:17:

For us, on any HazMat response that we make (I’m a Firefighter/Paramedic), any fuel spill over 15 gallons has to be reported to the EPA. The “Residual” product left in those tanks can easily be much more than that amount. Since it’s the EPA making the rules, I’m sure the rules for reporting and responsibility are similar for real estate and for our responses. Like Sean & Ed said, one puncture or spill, and you’re up the creek! I’d make sure I do my homework before you’re committed.

Good luck! --Rob

Re: Ditto (to Sean’s answer) - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on July 20, 2002 at 19:18:08:

There is no way likely that you will be able to remove an oil tank without involving the EPA. This government agency thinks absolutely nothing about several hundred thousand dollars in cost estimate overruns.

Your estimated $20,000 job could just as easy cost $200,000.

Let the seller get the property ready to use, and then buy it.