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Old 02-15-2014, 12:12 PM
 
2 posts, read 15,602 times
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First time home buyers, found a great house with fantastic property in northern Westchester, had no clue about the problems with underground oil tanks, and of course this house has the original 35 year old one in use.

Now we are unsure what to do, we asked seller to have it removed, which we knew was far too idealistic, and they said no. It's a gamble of $3k for us to remove/replace with above ground or if a leak is found after we buy - possibly an unfathomable amount more....but it seems many northern Westchester homes have these underground monsters.

Do we do soil tests? Do we renegotiate the offer? Do we run away?
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:55 PM
 
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Very simple. Tank is removed before you purchase. If there are any environmental issues, owner is responsible. New tank will be placed above ground or in the basement.

That's it. Do not even think of doing anything else.
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 5,163,326 times
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If it's 35 years old I would require it to be removed. Any underground tank that old predates the new safety requirements that made underground tanks dramatically safer. I'd have the owners remove it and replace it with a new one. A new underground tank is fine--they are pretty much the standard up here and lots of new construction uses them. But they have to be less 25 years old.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Connectucut shore but on a hill
2,615 posts, read 6,964,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubygreta View Post
Very simple. Tank is removed before you purchase. If there are any environmental issues, owner is responsible. New tank will be placed above ground or in the basement.

That's it. Do not even think of doing anything else.
^^^This. Seller will almost certainly have a very hard time selling at all unless they remove the tank.

We had our tank removed last summer as part of prepping house for market. The removal company told me that in about 60% of their removal jobs the tanks had failed and required some degree of remediation (not all cleanups are +$50k disasters). They also said that were some towns where the failure rate is much, much higher - Yorktown, in particular, the claimed a failure rate of ~85%!! It has to do with the age of the houses, water table, the nature of the soil, what the prevailing installation practices were at the time, etc.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 5,163,326 times
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Depending on where you are in northern westchester, the DEP will have to get involved too. Much of upper Westchester is the watershed and the DEP monitors underground tank removals and installations. When the sellers of our house in Yorktown Heights (much of which is in the watershed) had their old underground tank removed and replaced with a new one, the DEP monitored and approved the whole thing (as did we).
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:30 AM
 
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Thanks all! Figured as much. Seller refused to remove so we are walking away. Their realtor said they already have another offer. C'est la vie. Too big a risk for us. A lesson learned about real estate.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Connectucut shore but on a hill
2,615 posts, read 6,964,802 times
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Originally Posted by ForeverLooking View Post
Thanks all! Figured as much. Seller refused to remove so we are walking away. Their realtor said they already have another offer. C'est la vie. Too big a risk for us. A lesson learned about real estate.
Keep tabs on the sale if you can. It will be interesting to see what happens. History may repeat itself.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:54 AM
 
10 posts, read 26,230 times
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I know you walked away, however, a couple of things you should have done. (NAL)

1) Make the owner pay for a tank test. No one ever reads the tank testing agreement, but universally they require the payer to indemnify the tank tester if there is a leak. What that means is tank test says no leak, you prove there is a leak, payer of test pays to remediate.

2) In NY a previous home owner can't waive their responsibility for environmental damage they should have known about. Leaky oil tank? Get soil carbon dated, and if it was leaking during their ownership, guess who pays?

Now why do I know the aforementioned facts, moved into house, leaky oil tank 35k remediation paid for by last home owner.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:17 PM
 
4 posts, read 12,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForeverLooking View Post
Thanks all! Figured as much. Seller refused to remove so we are walking away. Their realtor said they already have another offer. C'est la vie. Too big a risk for us. A lesson learned about real estate.
Where are you looking to move?
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:09 PM
 
454 posts, read 756,111 times
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I had an old underground tank at my house upstate. They drained it and filled it with a special foam and it was officially 'abandoned in place.' I was given paperwork to show it was done environmentally correct. It cost about 2500. It was about 50 years old.
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