Over the past few decades, the underground oil tanks used in so many New Jersey homes have become a cause for concern. Extremely common in homes built between 1930 and 1990, these USTs (underground storage tanks) have a limited lifespan, especially in certain soil geology throughout the state of New Jersey.
An oil tank in your home or the home you’re interested in buying does NOT signal the end of the road, nor should it cause you unnecessary stress. In future blogs, we’ll discuss what your options are for replacing an old UST. Today, let’s stick to the basics.
Are Residential Oil Tanks Hazardous?
The main issue with underground oil tanks originally used for heating is that they are made of steel. Over time, as the tanks are exposed to water and salt, this will cause the steel to rust. Holes caused by corrosion can allow oil to leak into the soil and contaminate the soil and possibly the groundwater.
To eliminate this potential issue, we suggest the quicker you get the tank out of the ground the better! The longer you wait will increase the possibility of a potential issue. To safeguard the environment and the health of residents throughout the state, removal of old and unused oil tanks is recommended. Unlike other states, New Jersey also requires that oil tanks be removed by a licensed contractor.
What You Should Know as a New Jersey Homeowner
Residential tanks are not tracked by the state Department of Environmental Protection, like larger commercial tanks, leaving homeowners in the dark about the existence of abandoned or decommissioned tanks on their property. This can become a headache for the homeowner or potential buyer. Meridian suggests performing a magnetometer scan, also known as a tank sweep to locate an underground oil tank. Having a tank sweep performed can be a huge help when and if you decide to sell your home, as it shows proactive behavior to a potential buyer.
The problem for homeowners with USTs:
- You may not even be aware that there is a UST that pre-dates your homeownership.
- You have the misconception that an inspection & removal is too expensive for you.
- You believe that a remediation for a leaking tank will be expensive – but that’s not always the case.
The problem for home buyers interested in homes with USTs:
- The current homeowner is not aware of an underground oil tank or chooses not to disclose such information.
- The current homeowner will not pay for an inspection or removal.
- Past or current leaks may warrant a cleanup or remediation of the soil and possibly the groundwater.
- The mere presence of a UST means increased liability insurance or rejection of insurance coverage, which often means a mortgage cannot be attained.
The Responsibility of the Homeowner
So, really what are we saying? Well, in most cases the responsibility lays with the current homeowners. If you know that you have an oil tank on your property, you should begin the removal process as soon as you’re able. Doing so may prevent the ability for a tank to leak, it can reduce further contamination if a leak occurred, limit the cost of cleanup and maintain the value of your property. We recommend that a tank sweep be performed before all residential property transactions in New Jersey.
- USTs (Underground Storage Tanks) are common in homes built in New Jersey between 1930 and 1990.
- Oil tanks and oil heat are NOT hazardous. What is hazardous is a leaking tank.
- Residential oil tanks are not tracked by the state. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep track of USTs and monitor their condition.
- You should request a tank sweep before all property transactions in New Jersey.
- The mere presence of a UST on your property does not always result in a big, expensive dig. Just as commonly, a simple and less-expensive solution is found.
Finding Someone to Help with UST Services
Meridian Environmental Services is certified by the State of New Jersey to locate and remove underground and aboveground storage tanks, excavate and remediate contaminated soil, as well as remediate contaminated groundwater. You can trust our professional crew to assess your property and efficiently remove tanks in any condition.
Our team excels at streamlining and managing the details of the job from start to finish which removes the stress from the homeowner. We take pride and joy in helping our clients so that you have a home you can be proud of! For a quote, call us today at 732-716-2944 or fill out our online quote request form. We look forward to helping you!