Underground Oil tanks

Originally Posted By: amarcozzi
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icon_redface.gif To all

I need an information:

Two months ago, I did an inspection to a 90 years old house. Inspecting all the exterior I discovered an oil tank (250 ga.) above ground at the rear of the property.

The tank was in good condition. the exposed oil line tubing (approx. 10")going thought the basement wall also was in good conditions. That I reported in my report.

Looking around the house yard and basement walls I didn’t see any evidence of oil pipes protruding either in the ground or wall.

Yesterday the client call me and told me that i have missed an underground oil tank and now I have to pay for the removal, hoping the soil is not contaminated.

I went back to the site to see where the tank is buried.

The tank is buried next the house foundation wall, 2 or 3 railroad ties with mulch on it, serving as flower area, camouflage the tank.

An 1" vent pipe protruded approximately 8" above the mulch, 3 bricks each side the 1" vent pipe(6 brick in total)hided this pipe, perhaps to protect it.

When I perform inspection specially for an old house, I always look for at least 1 1/2" or 2" pipe sticking out, not 1".

Now the client want to me to pay for it. I told him that if it is my fault I will pay.

What you guys think ???


Originally Posted By: jsavino
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I think your client is going after the wrong party. I believe the tank was camouflaged for a reason. Its an abandoned oil tank. In your area, is the homeowner required to have the oil tank removed or abandoned in place? Your client knows how much its going to cost to have the tank removed. He’s not paying for it.

Get more details about tank abandonment in NJ.

In my area, removal runs about $3500. or more with no contamination.

Abandonment in place runs about $1500.

Contaminated soil removal and transporting it to someplace in Ohio, could run $3-400.00 per 42 gallon drum. Plus extras.


Originally Posted By: janderson
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In Minnesota it is required that underground fuel tanks are noted on the disclosure form by the listing agency.

Within the seeds of ignorance lie the fruits of denial


Originally Posted By: gsutterfield
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Do you have an" agreement " stating that you perform a "visual inspection of readily accessible areas"? If so, refer your client to that. If not you better get one ![icon_redface.gif](upload://f7DX2EWhmUfsDapWaYT3oJHMCj1.gif)

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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If you are using the standard NACHI agreement, it states underground oil tanks are not inspected.

Further, you are there for a visual inspection, which is clearly defined in that contract.

In PA, the seller would be obligated to disclose the underground oil tank and the possible contamination of the soil.

You don't have to pay for anything but at some point you will have to decide which course of action will be the least expensive in terms of cost and the most productive in terms not wasting many hours trying to keep from paying this.

If it were me, I would point out that it is the sellers obligation to disclose such information that you are only there to do a visual inspection of components and systems that are readily available. Further, I would state that my inspections are non invasive and following the standards of practice, you are not required to dig or probe for buried systems.

Be compassionate and understanding but also firm and stand your ground.

Start with the basics. Ask why he would think that you should be responsible for a buried system that is not readily available for a visual inspection. Provide him with a copy of the contract if it states you are excluding those systems which are not readily available or buried.

Basically, argue this case just as if you were in front of a judge. When you offer something put it in writing and keep a copy.

Joe Myers