November 11, 2016. We had several contractors walk the house to give us bids on the rehab work. We have eliminated all but one. Mr. Dave. When he walked the house he noticed some tubing that disappeared under the (concrete) foundation. Ohh no. I guess we are going to be Dealing With A Buried Oil Tank!
Man.. the 70’s… Seems everyone was high then! Who in the right mind buries a steel oil tank really!! Sadly complaining about their stupidity does not solve the problem. Closing is halted and we needed to figure out if it was leaking. Buried oil tanks are so bad when flipping houses.
Usually, they have a life of 20 to 25 years. This tank was buried longer than that and never been replaced or inspected. If there is a leak it could cost a fortune to remedy. When I say a fortune, it could go over $100,000.00 to fix. Of course, we can not buy the house until we know there are no issues. Dave saved us from a very plausible bad day, had we discovered this after closing.
We buy houses all over Connecticut. When we set up our Clinton CT house buying website for motivated sellers in Clinton, we had no idea of the lurking troubles ahead. The seller needed to sell his house in Clinton fast because he didn’t want to deal with that house anymore, and for good reason!
Dealing With A Buried Oil Tank is nerve-racking, to say the least! Back to the seller. We gave him the bad news. The seller really needed to sell fast and needed the money so we decided to cover the expenses, contingent on no oil leak after we removed the tank. Of course, that is generous of us so he readily accepted.
Excavating the oil tank and removing it is not a trivial task. The city needs to get involved, “Call Before You Dig” needs to get involved outlining buried cables and such, Of course, anything involving the city will take time to schedule, so we needed this started ASAP. As we were going to go through all this mess, we decided to do a septic inspection as well during this time. Septic came back ok. Just some minor issues (cleaning some overgrown root system but is not a big deal).
Dealing With A Buried Oil Tank is not as easy as buying a shovel and start digging. Other than it would take you months to dig it out yourself, there are environmental issues associated with a buried oil tank. First, you do not want to puncture the tank for oil to start spilling everywhere. This is what cost a fortune and the dangers about dealing with a buried oil tank. Also, in order to avoid people hiding an oil leak and cover it up (because it is so expensive to remediate), you are required to have a fire marshal present before you remove it from its location.
When all is scheduled and set up, all that is left to do is wait for the date and hope there is no leak in the tank!
The digging company you hired will take a sample of the soil at several locations the tank was buried. This then will go to a lab for testing to make sure the soil is not contaminated. If it isn’t, great. You avoided a costly nightmare. If it is contaminated they have to dig up all the soil and burn it. The soil they removed will be replaced by clean soil. You can now imagine if the oil tank was leaking for 5, 10, 30 years?! It gets expensive fast.
Lucky for us, the soil was clean and we avoided a nightmare!
The lesson to be learned here is to do your due diligence before you buy. Remember, you make money when you buy! As homebuyers in CT promising our sellers a fast prompt hassle-free close, we often do not have time for formal inspections. Usually, the walkthrough is all we get determining the condition of the house. Some things are not readily obvious and as investors, we need to ask the seller the right questions. Before you buy, make sure you ask about a buried oil tank!