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Old 08-19-2009, 03:37 PM
2 posts, read 6,555 times
Reputation: 10


Hi, I'm in escrow for a home in Seaside, and there is some concern about a possible underground oil tank. I'm looking for someone in the area who can try to locate it this, or any leads on how to find out if it was indeed there to begin with. DEQ has no record of one being decommisioned for this property. Its a bank owned property so the sellers have no idea about the history of the house.
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:26 PM
1,313 posts, read 5,419,966 times
Reputation: 1896
DEQ instituted new rules for dealing with old oil tanks this year. If it is determined that a property has had an underground oil tank, it must be tested by a DEQ-approved contractor to ensure that it is not leaking. If it is leaking, owners can be held responsible for decommissioning and soil contamination abatement. Lending institutions don't want to get caught in the middle of this. This concern has made oil tank disclosure a major real estate concern in Oregon, even in areas where it isn't really applicable. Underground oil tanks were quite common in the Portland and Salem areas in homes built before 1970 or so, but not on the coast.

I think it highly unlikely (though not impossible) that you would have an underground oil tank on a coastal property unless there was a local vendor for heating oil in the Seaside area (again, unlikely). You need to have a sizable population base to make a heating oil business profitable. Your home has probably always been either all-electric or partly propane fueled. Whether or not the bank knows anything about the history of the home, I believe they are still obligated to provide you with a disclosure form. Obviously you can't prove a negative. In the absence of any obvious indicators of an old oil tank, I think you and the lender can rest easy. Look for:

1. A vent or fill-pipe outside of the home
2. oil supply lines in a basement wall or crawl space

Here is a link with more information...probably way more than you care to digest.

Oregon DEQ: Land Quality - Tanks - Heating Oil Tank Program
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:01 AM
Location: Salem, OR
13,193 posts, read 29,409,073 times
Reputation: 10691
Steve can you good information. Many of the smaller Oregon towns didn't have oil service providers and propane tanks were very common.

Banks are exempt from the disclosure laws based on Oregon law so all you will get from them is a form saying they are exempt, and the lead based paint form which will say they know nothing.

Out here the vent and the supply lines are our big indicators when no one really knows for sure. One of our local home inspectors has a photo of what they look like on his blog Heating Oil Tank Program in Oregon Salemoregonhomeinspector's Blog in case that helps!
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:35 PM
Location: Portland
57 posts, read 117,946 times
Reputation: 23
You could "witch" for it. I know it works because I've see it done for water pipe connections and manholes that were covered up.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:21 AM
2 posts, read 6,555 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the replies! We had an awesome realtor (Jenni Clark at Remax) who did a lot of research for us as well on this.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:48 AM
Location: Salem, OR
13,193 posts, read 29,409,073 times
Reputation: 10691
I'm glad this is working out for you!
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