The main risk of purchasing a property with an underground oil tank is the potential for environmental contamination due to potential leakage. Additionally, if the tank needs to be removed, this can involve significant expense and disruption to your home.
The average home-buyer in America certainly has quite the list of requirements and requests when shopping for their dream house. But even the most meticulous due diligence can fail to reveal what is perhaps one of the most overlooked details in the home-buying process: the presence of an underground oil tank. Yes, Despite its potential for potential headaches and heartache, an existing oil tank on your property is something you need to know about and plan for. Here’s what you should know about buying a home with an underground oil tank so you can protect your investment and ensure your property is safe for the future.
The Risks of Buying a Residential Property with an Underground Oil Tank
When buying a residential property with an underground oil tank, it is important to weigh out all of the risks. Many potential hazards can result from an underground oil tank, such as flammability and corrosion of the tank, contamination of soil and groundwater, and potential liability.
The first risk that needs to be considered when evaluating a property with an underground oil tank is the possibility of tank leakage. If there is any corrosion or damage to the tank, it could lead to fuel leaking into the ground. This could contaminate soil and make its way into nearby water sources, which would pose a health risk if coming into contact with humans or animals. Even if the tank has been filled up recently, it can still corrode if conditions are right, so this should be taken into consideration.
The next risk associated with an underground oil tank involves possible legal issues. If a tank were to leak, the homeowner may have to be held liable for any of the resulting contamination or injury from coming into contact with contaminated materials. This could potentially mean having to pay for clean-up costs and any other monetary damages incurred.
On the other hand, many homeowners choose to purchase properties that come equipped with an underground oil tank because it can be cheaper in terms of installation costs than aboveground tanks. Furthermore, in some areas it’s actually required by law for fuel tanks to be placed below ground level. Additionally, underground tanks may have additional benefits like being out of sight and protecting against extreme weather changes such as snowstorms or strong winds that could tip over an aboveground tank.
It’s important to keep in mind all of these risks when considering buying a home with an underground oil tank – these elements must be weighed and evaluated carefully before signing on the dotted line. The next section will discuss environmental contamination – what happens when a contaminated site occurs, who’s responsible for dealing with it and how it might affect future property values.
Environmental contamination is one of the most serious issues to consider when it comes to buying a home with an underground oil tank. Underground storage tanks, or UST’s, can have leaks which can contaminate soil, surface water and ground water. It is important for buyers to consider the environmental risks associated with any home that contains an underground oil tank before entering into a purchase agreement.
US Tank regulations provide minimum standards for the design, installation and maintenance of USTs located in soils of moderate hazard potential. However, it is not uncommon for petroleum products to leak from faulty tanks even if they meet these specifications. A leaking tank may result in various environmental problems including soil contamination, changes in surface and/or ground water quality and health risks for humans exposed to such contaminated water. Depending on the quantity of fuel leaked, cleanup costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The debate regarding the safety and reliability of UST’s has been ongoing due to the fact that many experts claim they are too easily corroded or damaged by other activities such as construction occurred above them without proper notice. On the other side of the issue, some argue UST’s are safe when properly regulated and maintained, however such regulation and maintenance need not be adhered too strictly by all homeowners.
No matter where you stand on this debate, it is essential to consider potential environmental impacts before purchasing a property with an underground oil tank. To further protect yourself and your future home, check the regulations of your state in respect to underground tanks in the next section.
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 30 percent of residential sites may contain hidden tanks that are either leaking or have leaked in the past.
- In the United States, EPA estimates that approximately 1 million active and abandoned underground storage tanks (USTs) store petroleum or other hazardous substances.
- An estimated 70 percent of USTs cause groundwater contamination by leaking hazardous substances, making them largely responsible for groundwater contamination cases on properties.
Check the Regulations of Your State
When purchasing a home with an underground oil tank, it is important to ensure that all state regulations are met. This includes understanding the registration requirements as well as any other rules or laws pertaining to the installation, operation and removal of such tanks. It is also important to be informed on the associated financial liabilities which may accompany ownership of property that contains an underground fuel storage tank.
In some states, tanks that were installed before the enactment of certain guidelines must meet specific regulatory requirements for testing and possible treatment for contamination due to leaking tanks. If these regulations are not followed, individuals could be held liable for any environmental damage caused by a leaking oil tank. Additionally, depending on the locality, responsibility for clean-up costs may lie with the current homeowner or previous owners of the property. As such, if financial reparations need to be made to rectify damage caused by a leaking underground oil tank, it is essential for homeowners to become aware of their responsibilities when buying a property with an underground fuel storage tank.
On the other hand, some states allow exemptions from these regulations when certain conditions are met. For instance, in many cases, a homeowner may be exempt from certain state regulations if they can prove that their oil tank meets certain installation codes and is maintained properly. Therefore, it is important to do research into the applicable laws in your specific state before committing to buying a property with an underground oil tank so as to avoid potential fines or legal action in the future.
By researching and abiding by all relevant state regulations, potential buyers can protect themselves from financial and environmental liability later down the line. With this information in mind, it is now important to research the property’s history before deciding whether or not it would be worthwhile investing in a home containing an underground fuel storage tank.
Essential Summary Points
When purchasing a home with an underground oil tank, it is important to be aware of the state regulations, financial liabilities and environmental damage associated with such tanks. There may be exemptions from certain state regulations if the homeowner can prove that the tank meets certain installation codes and is properly maintained. It is essential to research relevant laws in your specific state and the property’s history before purchasing the property with an underground fuel storage tank in order to avoid potential fines or legal action in the future.