Residential oil tank removal is required in order to protect the environment as well as people’s health. In some cases, soil remediation will also be needed if the tank leaked oil while buried. The Site Remediation Reform Act New Jersey provides further information on the removal of tanks and soil remediation. The Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRP) was a requirement enacted by the Site Remediation Reform Act.
Homes built between the 1930’s and 1990’s used oil heating systems, requiring the use of an underground oil tank. The tanks were normally made out of steel, which is prone to rust over time. As a result of corrosion, these tanks will leak petroleum into the environment, posing a danger to not only the soil and the groundwater through contamination, but ultimately to the resident’s health as a result of being exposed to the toxin. This is why oil tank removal is vital to safeguarding human health and wellness.
Often, it is quite easy to tell if there is or was an underground tank on the property. There may be a vent or a supply line for the tank, which may be seen in the basement of the home. If the tank has been removed already, the previous owner can provide documentation proving this as well as the results of soil samples. However, prior to current legislation, owners were allowed to fill the tank with sand; owners were not required to remove the tank. This can pose a problem to the current and future owners if the tank leaks, which will be more costly than removing the tank itself.
After oil tank removal experts have taken away the rusty monstrosity, soil remediation may be needed if the tank leaks oil. Several soil samples are taken to determine the parts per million of Extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH). Depending upon the levels of EPH, further testing may be required to determine if soil remediation is required. If remediation is required, the contaminated soil will be removed and recycled through an authorized facility. The area will then be filled with certified clean soil.
The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) was enacted in 2009 in an effort to streamline the remediation process to protect the environment and return unused property to a viable state. The SRRA ensured that every citizen of New Jersey knew they had a moral and legal obligation to address the existence of underground oil tanks and to remediate any contaminated soil. The Act also gave the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) direct oversight of all remediation processes. With this, NJDEP sets timelines and solutions for remediation.
The largest reform set forth by the SRRA was the creation of the Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRP) and a board who to certify the LSRP’s. In order to be certified by the state, the professional must hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline directly related to site remediation, and they must have eight years and 5000 hours of experience. Lastly, they have to attend an environmental educational course and pass an exam that may or may not touch on the oil tank removal process.
A list of active and inactive LSRP’s is maintained by the Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board. The Board also sets forth expected conduct guidelines, and it can take punitive action against any LSRP who violates the guidelines. The Board can undertake its own investigations into misconduct, and it will post the results of the investigation on its site.
An extensive and costly project such as this makes it imperative to find a reliable and professional company. In most cases, the company who detects and removes an oil tank can also test the soil for contamination by the on-site LSRP and remediate any issues. The owner should also strive to find a company who will provide a quick and reliable way to handle the situation.
If an owner determines that there may be a tank buried on their property, the following actions by a potential oil tank removal and remediation team will indicate their worth. First, the company should be able to provide an estimate for removal based upon locating the tank and determining how much oil is left in the tank. If the owner agrees to hire the company, a contract should be drawn up, outlining all costs, and the owner may need to pay a deposit. At that time, the company will acquire the needed permits and ensure that the utility companies mark the property for buried lines. The removal of the tank will be coordinated with the town inspector, who will inspect the tank for holes with the hired professionals.
If the town inspector fails the tank, soil remediation will be required, for which a remediation case number will be assigned by NJDEP. The company should contact NJDEP for the owners. The LSRP will oversee the entire excavation and soil testing process to ensure it is done right. Once the site has been remediated, the company should provide a certificate to the owner as proof that the tank was removed.