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Buried Oil Tanks

There is a proper way to “abandon” a buried oil tank, and a seller should have a certificate from the licensed company who took care of the job. I was advised by someone at an environmental company that the three biggest issues raised by purchasers are buried oil tanks, mold and asbestos. Purchasers are becoming extremely savvy. In my current deal, there was no paperwork, so my client is having an inspection to see if there is any evidence that the tank wasn’t abandoned properly – first they will check to see if valves or pipes are sticking out of the ground, which is a sure sign it wasn’t abandoned properly; they will dig a little to make sure an owner didn’t improperly bury the pipes or valves, but that it was done properly; and, if necessary, take soil samples to see if there are any leaks. If there is leakage, it is considered a “spill” and must be reported to DEP. May still be problems from a buried oil tank years from now, since the thing is rusting underground. You would think that being a real estate lawyer is boring, but there are unique “problems” to each and every deal. Savvy?

Cynthia M. Burke,

Categories: Real Estate Law