Underground oil tanks, Part II


Underground oil tanks are, apparently, a hotter topic than I expected. I received several letters and emails from readers who educated me about their experiences.

It also underscored my belief that a seller, already affected by flooding, who just wants to sell and move on, would rather let the buyer do what they want, and to take the property as is. I appreciate the information I received from a reader who told me her insurance company dropped her because she has a buried tank. Too much risk for a company that would depreciate the tank anyway, and then pay 10 cents on the dollar after insuring her for full value.

Another reader wrote: “[This] struck a sensitive nerve, as I had my own experience with one. When I bought my house back in 2003, my closing attorney said that I would eventually have to abandon my underground oil tank and install one above ground. Less than two years later, during a heavy March rain, water seeped into my underground oil tank through the surface nozzle. It cost several hundred dollars to have the water extracted and repair the damage it caused to my oil burner.

“Fearing the worst was yet to come, that same year I converted to a gas heating system and abandoned my underground oil tank. It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. When my neighbor’s underground oil tank developed a leak, it had to be dug up and the soil tested and monitored for about a year or so. Ultimately, a determination was made to dig up all of the contaminated soil 12 feet down with a backhoe, haul it away and replace it with fresh soil. A cement walkway had to be broken up and replaced in the process.

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