In-Ground Leaking Oil Tank Removed/Issues $$


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Old 05-07-09, 03:05 AM
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In-Ground Leaking Oil Tank Removed/Issues $$

Well, I didn't do it myself, but . . .

My mother’s (she’s 83) oil burner was shutting down every time she got the in-ground tank filled---and we recently discovered that water was seeping into the old in-ground tank and that was what was causing the burner to always shut down. Water was getting into the tank.

So we got a new above ground oil tank installed and when we did, the guy was telling me just how important it is to get that old, leaking in-ground tank removed; he gave me all the health/safety reasons, especially since the house has its own well nearby.

So, against the advice of my older sister, I agreed and now really wish I had listened to her; frankly, I’m angry and a bit scared. Here’s what has happened.

Before the guys showed up to dig out the old tank, I was quoted a figure of around three to maybe 35-hundred dollars---“depending what we discover down there.” OK. Bad---but, OK.

So, since this oil delivery company and us have been doing business with us for many years and have always been nice to us, this guy agreed we’d work something out on a monthly plan—to pay this off—because 35-hundred dollars isn’t just laying around the house at the moment. OK.

Well, they discover that the in-ground tank was leaking (no surprise), showed us their finding, and took samples of the dirt using plastic freezer bags from the kitchen.
A new above-ground tank was installed and a huge pile of dirt, covered with a blue canvas, was left in the yard.

That was nearly four weeks ago! Not a peep from anyone until yesterday.

Yesterday morning, the gentleman shows up at my mom’s door with a state of Pennsylvania “Underground storage tank heating oil cleanup grant program application” and a federal income tax form for my mother. Thankfully, I was here at the time.

He told us: I thought they got rid of this program or didn't have it anymore, but why don’t you see if you can get it to work for you.

He said that if you give me a thousand dollar check, I photocopy it, and send it to them and you may get your thousand dollars back through this grant.

Well, no money was exchanged yet---he did not ask for any---but I am thinking to myself: how much is this going to cost to get this pile of dirt removed? What’s going on here? He has been in this business for years and just now, four weeks later, comes knocking at the door with this application.

He told us the soil test down there was negative, but “of course, the pile of dirt removed is contaminated."
I guess that’s why it is still in the yard for four weeks and counting.

He said, “you may be able to get back a thousand dollars, so if Waste management charges you, say 55-hundred dollars, at least you can get some of it back.” Now, I’m getting upset---but don’t want to burn any bridges because a monthly pay plan for the tank installation---don’t want to ruin that option with him by getting him angry.

I asked him, we were going to put up the swimming pool this weekend; "any chance that pile of dirt can be removed by then?" He laughed and said, “that will be there for another month yet.” He was referring to the state of Pennsylvania dragging its feet with this grant application; I assume that’s what he meant.

Just think: ONE MORE MONTH of this huge pile of contaminated dirt (oiled soil) on the property---which my mom owns outright,, by the way, and it’s killing our grass, is an eyesore---and it has all ready been here for four weeks!

Now, at least four more weeks it's going to be here!
What’s happening? Does this make any sense?

This is what, I think, is happening: state environmental regulations have now kicked-in and that huge pile of covered dirt is now deemed “hazardous” by the state environmental board (whatever), and we need to pay someone to not only remove it---but we have to pay for a company to get rid of it—keep in mind, this is a residential house---not commercial.

My brother-in-law does paving and excavating and would be more than willing to remove the pile FREE---but, I’m sure he would get arrested---and besides, where would he take it? Uggghhh! Why did I not listen to my sister? I am, frankly, scared this is going to be unaffordable.

Sounds like I am stuck at the moment, doesn’t it? Unless, someone has an idea of what I can do. If so, shoot some thoughts my way. An 83 year old woman on a fixed income and her family shouldn’t have to be dealing with this on property that is paid for and having this huge pile of soil on the property for what will be two months is a JOKE!

Maybe I should send someone a bill for killing the grass.

That’s what we’re dealing with.
Nice, isn’t it?

----Dale, in southeastern, PA.
 
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Old 05-07-09, 05:03 PM
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Well, I will keep you posted as this hell-ish thing plays itself out.
 
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Old 05-07-09, 07:41 PM
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Contaminated Soil

Nearly every state has programs available for help in defraying the costs involved in residential underground tank clean up.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 07:54 AM
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Do you typically support strict environmental protection laws? They lead directly to your large pile of dirt.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 01:27 PM
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You are preaching to the choir, here.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 01:41 PM
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Around 35% by volume of fuel oil is is benzene, toluene, xylene or other aromatic hydrocarbons - fairly nasty stuff.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 03:20 PM
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Yes, and why should a stack of dirt be on the property owner's home property for two months and cost thousands of dollars to take away and deposit somewhere? A legitimate question, to be sure.. . . Extreme environmentalism on parade. Any "extreme" environmentalist want to tackle my bill ($$$), let me know. Put your money where your views are. . . Absolutely, mind-boggling.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 05:33 PM
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Well, in any case its good you did get the tank dug up and stopped the leak of fuel into the ground. It could find a way into her well (or neighbour's wells).. its pretty nasty stuff to have in your belly.

That being said, I agree most areas have some anally tight laws about the ppm/etc of the oils and how they want to process them etc.. could cost a big buck to have this fill properly processed (I bet some bills coming in the short future are gonna be shockers).

There was a gas station in town here that apparently had a leak from their tanks. The building was old anyhow, so it looked like they opted to rip out everything.. building, tanks and all.. but left the dirt there in these odd windrows .. or like trough/crest of waves. I was told that they do this so that the hydrocarbons can evaporate down to a 'safe' level, and then they can reuse the property again w/o removing and processing all that dirt.

Not sure if thats true (anyone know ?), or even if its an option for you (wrt yard space).. but now that the govt etc is aware of your toxic dirt pile, you're gonna have to explore all your options to maintain the least amount of rear end shafting you can.

Best of luck
 
 

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