New Jersey has an environmental problem. There are millions of oil tanks, usually home heating oil tanks, all over the state. While the tanks themselves are not a problem, many of them are old and corroded. This means the tanks may be leaking and contaminating the environment. Are you a homeowner and want to sell your home? Or, are you planning to buy a home? Here is all the information you need about oil tank sweeps in New Jersey.
What Is an Oil Tank Sweep?
In New Jersey, any time someone buys or sells a home, he or she must perform an oil tank sweep. Oil tank sweeps locate buried oil tanks on a property. About 5 percent of the houses in the United States have furnaces that use home heating oil. Most are in the Eastern United States. Many houses in New Jersey used to use home heating oil, and the oil was in tanks. Tank sweeps are usually conducted by oil tank removal companies. Usually, the companies do the sweeps by using a metal detector to see if there’s metal buried on the property. There are some companies that use radar as well to find metal buried underground.
There are some signs or clues you might have an oil tank buried on your property. Any house or office building built before 1975 may have a buried oil tank. You might also see that you have an aboveground tank for heating oil. Newer houses have aboveground tanks because they are safer for the environment. You might also notice you have pipes sticking up in your yard by the driveway. Pipes could also be at the end of your yard leading up to the house. You also might have extra lines going into your basement that don’t lead anywhere.
In the past, homeowners did not have to disclose any tanks on their properties. However, the sheer number of underground tanks raises the possibility that groundwater or soil could become contaminated. This poses a risk to animals and humans.
What Are the Risks?
There are some significant risks to your property besides contaminated water or soil. Perhaps the biggest problem with abandoned tanks is that improperly disposed of empty tanks can collapse. When a tank collapses, it can cause a sinkhole, which is dangerous. New Jersey law requires that homeowners properly dispose of tanks when they discover them. Someone will have to backfill the empty tank space with sand or with small pebbles or gravel.
Under state law, if you buy a property with a contaminated oil tank on it, you are responsible for it. That means you must pay for the cleanup. This is true even if you didn’t know about the oil tanks. The average tank cleanup cost for a buried tank can be as high as $10,000. It can cost up to $100,000 for multiple buried tanks.
What to Do
Before buying that house or property you’ve always wanted, you must hire a company to perform a tank check. Yes, an oil tank sweep NJ is a must. There are certified companies that will check the property you want to buy. You need to find a company that has experience finding buried underground oil tanks. Check to make sure that the company has verification to find and remove oil tanks. The company you pick will come, inspect the property, and give you a detailed report. The report will tell you the exact location of the tank or tanks. Then, you can decide whether to buy the property or ask the current owners to have the tank removed first.
All American Environmental has more than 20 years of experience in oil tank checks. The company has removed more than 12,000 tanks, which has given homeowners much-needed peace of mind. Contact All American Environmental to help you with your oil tank sweep NJ concerns.