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Old 03-05-2016, 09:03 AM
 
121 posts, read 95,486 times
Reputation: 99

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Disclosures revealed that house we are looking at has an underground oil tank. Not surprisingly, nothing more was noted in the disclosure than that the tank exists and the location. I believe it is probably abandoned as there is a working oil tank in the basement. 1930s house that otherwise, we really like.

I understand that this is a seller responsibility (or at least, best handled as such) and I know that it should be tested, probably removed, tested for contamination at removal.

My question is post-removal: assume seller agrees to remove it, do testing, etc. Two possible scenarios here:

1/ Tank removed, no contamination found: Can we assume at this point that the location is now clean and would not need any further testing in the future to make sure there was no contamination?

2/ Tank removed, contamination found, cleanup of contaminated area performed: Can we assume once cleanup is done that the area is clean and safe? Or do you have to do follow-up testing to make sure you got everything?

I was reading on other threads here that no offer should be made until current owners address tank issue. I read elsewhere that you could actually make offer but make it contingent upon testing, tank removal, cleanup (if necessary) etc. Any thoughts there?

I'm also thinking that we should insist that seller deal with all of this as opposed to our offer price reflecting us handling it all. Thoughts?

Thank you.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
31,050 posts, read 48,743,340 times
Reputation: 9691
It is good that you are aware of it. Someone I know had issues with a leaky underground oil tank and it cost them a lot to remove and remediate the problem. Proceed carefully and maybe even talk with a lawyer before buying this property. You could be asking for trouble down the road. Jay
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:13 AM
 
121 posts, read 95,486 times
Reputation: 99
Yes, we'll be doing that for sure, but I'm looking for answers on what happens afterwards. Was hoping to hear from someone who has actually been through this process on a vintage/antique home and what their experience was. It's a big enough hurdle to get through it all but then you'd want to be able to sleep at night with confidence that it had all been handled properly. Just wondering if you can do ever do that if you buy a property that had underground oil tank, or if you always have this lingering contamination issue that would have to be watched. Given how many older homes there are in FFCty, I'm guessing many have successfully gotten through it, hoping some of them can comment.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:24 AM
 
4,787 posts, read 10,657,715 times
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Put a requirement into your sales contract that removal of the underground oil tank is the responsibility of the seller. Do not take on the removal yourself.

Contact the town fire marshal in the town where the house is located. The fire marshal oversees the removal ( will be there while it happens) and can fill you in on just how it done and what will happen before, during and after removal. All the questions you have will be answered by him. An appropriate, licensed removal firm must be hired.

There is no state requirement that the underground tank be removed. It can also be abandoned. This is likely what happened to this home. However, some towns have a requirement that the tank must be removed when the home is sold. Some don't. Virtually all mortgage lenders will require that a known underground tank be removed or they will not lend on the property.

I'm going to repeat this. Make this the seller's problem and cost. The seller is aware of the problem and knows that no buyer is going to buy this house unless the tank is removed.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:29 AM
 
121 posts, read 95,486 times
Reputation: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by willow wind View Post
Put a requirement into your sales contract that removal of the underground oil tank is the responsibility of the seller. Do not take on the removal yourself.

Contact the town fire marshal in the town where the house is located. The fire marshal oversees the removal ( will be there while it happens) and can fill you in on just how it done and what will happen before, during and after removal. All the questions you have will be answered by him. An appropriate, licensed removal firm must be hired.

There is no state requirement that the underground tank be removed. It can also be abandoned. This is likely what happened to this home. However, some towns have a requirement that the tank must be removed when the home is sold. Some don't. Virtually all mortgage lenders will require that a known underground tank be removed or they will not lend on the property.

I'm going to repeat this. Make this the seller's problem and cost. The seller is aware of the problem and knows that no buyer is going to buy this house unless the tank is removed.
Thanks, WillowWind. It seems like it should be the seller's responsibility. After all, they've been there 25 years and you can't tell me they didn't know this was coming... lol. So yes, we'll insist that they take it on. Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:15 AM
 
5,066 posts, read 14,907,221 times
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I agree with Willow, it's the seller's responsibility. As long as there are no contaminants over 500 pmm there should be no issue. But if it's leaking and there is a well nearby, that could be a big problem, and there could be runoff onto the neighbor's property as well--so again, the seller should take care of it.
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Old 03-07-2016, 02:31 PM
 
Location: West End-Hartford
625 posts, read 1,910,283 times
Reputation: 377
You can make an offer with the oil tank in ground, just make it a stipulation of the contract that it be removed by the seller at their expense, all local and state ordinances need to be followed, permits pulled and closed, and acceptable soil test results provided prior to closing.

If the soil is contaminated, it will be removed and the soil will be tested again. If it comes back within acceptable limits, the hole will be closed up and you'll be on your way. Otherwise they keep digging to remove further contamination if possible or put in an air system if they can't dig anymore (think, right near a foundation wall). Just make sure they provide you copies of all documentation prior to closing- you will need it eventually when you go to resell. Your lender will require it anyway in order to close if you make it a contingency in the contract.

Have your attorney draft the verbiage for you related to that contingency for your contract if your agent hasn't done so before or isn't comfortable with it.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:02 PM
 
723 posts, read 855,984 times
Reputation: 613
Smile Be Careful

Quote:
Originally Posted by lavender_blue View Post
Disclosures revealed that house we are looking at has an underground oil tank. Not surprisingly, nothing more was noted in the disclosure than that the tank exists and the location. I believe it is probably abandoned as there is a working oil tank in the basement. 1930s house that otherwise, we really like.

I understand that this is a seller responsibility (or at least, best handled as such) and I know that it should be tested, probably removed, tested for contamination at removal.

My question is post-removal: assume seller agrees to remove it, do testing, etc. Two possible scenarios here:

1/ Tank removed, no contamination found: Can we assume at this point that the location is now clean and would not need any further testing in the future to make sure there was no contamination?

2/ Tank removed, contamination found, cleanup of contaminated area performed: Can we assume once cleanup is done that the area is clean and safe? Or do you have to do follow-up testing to make sure you got everything?

I was reading on other threads here that no offer should be made until current owners address tank issue. I read elsewhere that you could actually make offer but make it contingent upon testing, tank removal, cleanup (if necessary) etc. Any thoughts there?

I'm also thinking that we should insist that seller deal with all of this as opposed to our offer price reflecting us handling it all. Thoughts?

Thank you.
Sometimes a leak from a tank can travel underground. It should be the seller's responsibility to remove it and clean it up prior to closing. You can go to contract, just make sure your lawyer writes in the complete oil tank removal and cleanup as a contingency. Then if it is really bad you can use it to get out of the contract.
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,335,084 times
Reputation: 1750
It all depends on how it was abandoned. If it was done the right way, the oil tank was drained, the soil tested, etc.. As long as the soil shows that it was not leaking, the tank can stay there. But if the soil test shows that there was leaking, then it must be taken out, the extent of the leak needs to be found, dirt removed, then filled with clean fill.

My mom sold a property with an underground oil tank. Those were the options in the order she was given. She went step by step and did have to remove the oil tank due to leaking.
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:57 PM
 
2,596 posts, read 1,312,201 times
Reputation: 1717
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_hug99 View Post
It all depends on how it was abandoned. If it was done the right way, the oil tank was drained, the soil tested, etc.. As long as the soil shows that it was not leaking, the tank can stay there. But if the soil test shows that there was leaking, then it must be taken out, the extent of the leak needs to be found, dirt removed, then filled with clean fill.

My mom sold a property with an underground oil tank. Those were the options in the order she was given. She went step by step and did have to remove the oil tank due to leaking.
How much did that cost about? I'm going through the same thing as the seller and am pretty bummed that my family didn't remove this tank the moment they knew it was leaking (about 20 years ago)... even worse is that it looks like it would have been done almost free up until 2002.
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