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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Abandoned oil tank inside the crawlspace that was apparently never drained right up against the front interior foundation wall. The smell of heating oil was overpowering when I got in there.







    NHIE Practice Exam
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,546

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    You are right. It is ugly and will get worse before it gets better. In fact it may not get better.

    A while ago here, an oil delivery was made to a house where the basement tank was removed but the filler pipe was left in the wall. The heating oil company ended up buying the house and tearing it down.

    Folks, get over your fear of spiders and take a look in your crawlspace and your attic once a year.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    considering the many floods indicated by the water marks on the sides of the tank I would guess that the entire foundation would have to be removed and possibly exterior soil around the house.


  4. #4

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Thats a great find for your client, that is going to cost a fortune to remove legally.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,546

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Montgomery View Post
    Thats a great find for your client, that is going to cost a fortune to remove legally.
    How do you figure? It would be foolish to buy that house. He is out the fee and has to go looking again.
    The seller will refuse to come down enough to cover the cleanup and some other poor sap will buy the house, some guy that is too smart to need a home inspection.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    How do you figure? It would be foolish to buy that house. He is out the fee and has to go looking again.
    The seller will refuse to come down enough to cover the cleanup and some other poor sap will buy the house, some guy that is too smart to need a home inspection.
    Great find because of the ramifications if he did not FIND the issue. Can you imagine the grief if a drive by inspector missed it or if there was no inspection? I'm sure the client would much rather walk than spend the rest of their lives tied up in court!
    Is there any home owners insurance that would cover that mess?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    The cost of the inspection was a great investment. An inexpensive insurance policy for the purchaser considering the findings.

    The cost to the vendor may be so great the cost of clean up will out weigh what the house and property are worth.

    The odour of the oil has most likely permeated the entire structure and that is something that is very difficult to get rid of in my experience.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    How do you figure? It would be foolish to buy that house. He is out the fee and has to go looking again.
    The seller will refuse to come down enough to cover the cleanup and some other poor sap will buy the house, some guy that is too smart to need a home inspection.
    Maybe up there, but down here ...

    In the places I've been, all one need do is report the find to the county health department or environment department (depends on how the city/county is set up) and the county WILL REQUIRE the tank to be checked, and, if leaking or if the soil is contaminated, the OWNER will be REQUIRED to have the tank removed, along with any and all contaminated soil, by a properly certified environmental company, they will do bore sampling too.

    The entire cost is borne by the owner. The benefit to the community outweigh the owner's right to not do anything, in fact, the owner has an obligation to take corrective action.

    The buyer then says, yep, okay, once it is cleaned up and certified as done, I will but the house for the price agreed upon, or, give me a credit for the total cost for the cleanup and I will have it done (better for the buyer to let the seller be responsible as this is not one of those things where the buyer can take the money and not make the correction).

    At least that is how it has been in all the places I've worked across Florida - I don't know about other states (even Florida is county by county as to enforcement of that removal).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    In this case, my client was unfortunately living in the house which is her mothers house. Her mother had health issues and she was living in the house with her husband and son and her mother so her mother could stay in the house and not go into a nursing home or care facility. The daughter and her husband were interested in buying the house but wanted to get the home inspection to show her siblings that the house needed work and that she wasn't just trying to buy the house for a song. She was not expecting this. That house could be a total loss.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    Thanks for the update , Nick. That is a sad twist on the situation for sure. Perhaps they could encapsulate the spill area as a temporary measure?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    You can bet that oil has moved into the hollow cores of the CMU and outside of the foundation given the water marks. Likely will require removal of extensive soil and removal/replacement of foundation.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    FL, TX
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: This Is Gonna Be Ugly.....$$$$$

    THis is so sad. In Florida most of these tanks are garage installed or exterior installed. At least with that type of install one notices any leaks immediately. I still have a 1950's oil burning heater in my house (until a new metal roof is installed and I install an entire new heat pump system). The tank is outside along the north wall and easily accessible, it is checked and serviced annually by me.

    What I am curious about is that my tank requires annual maintenance, replacement of filters etc in order to run properly. Every so many years tanks are supposed to be properly cleaned as well. Mine was cleaned before I purchased the home and I had it cleaned again 8 years later (expensive). Was this an abandoned tank? Also, if it was abandoned, whoever put in the new system should have properly decomissioned the tank and not left it full. Too many questions, but the point is that there may be some liability there still on a contractor that did work improperly?

    I am wondering about the fact that there is illness in the house as well. How much has the contamination affected those living there? THose fumes even from a spill of a couple ounces can be aweful.


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