Our first step in Greenhabbing

Perhaps nothing strikes fear into home buyers more than a leaking, underground oil tank. Even termite damage has a limit. No more wood, no more damage. But oil contamination can be an ongoing headache. Removing an oil tank AND remediating the contaminated soil (in the case of a leak) can run you into the tens of thousands of dollars. Lucky for us, since our property was an REO purchase, the bank agreed to pay for the contaminated soil remediation.  Take a look at what’s involved in removing an oil tank. It’s really not as scary at you would think.  Good for us, good for the environment!

Posted in Comin Up Roses | Tagged as: | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Our first step in Greenhabbing

  1. M.E. says:

    Why was the oil tank buried? Are there lots of these things around? What are they throwing into the soil after the tank was taken out? Curious old lady wants to know!

    • Steve Moran says:

      Hi M.E., Steve Here – yes, many older homes have underground Oil Tanks as the one-time source for their heating oil. Since they tend to be quite large, I am assuming that they buried them in the yard as a means to conserve space. What tends to happen over many years, however, is that, due to constant exposure to underground water, these tank corrode, spring leaks, and the fuel oil leaches out into the surrounding soil. When they remove the tank, they also remove the contaminated soil and replace it with crushed rock and cleaned soil.

  2. M.E. says:

    Hi, Steve….Thanks for the interesting info. I don’t think people buried oil tanks for homes much in the Midwest. They just did it for gas stations. Those caused plenty of grief when they succumbed to the elements and started leaking, too. But we had lots of space out there–no need to bury an ugly oil tank in your yard. And unless you lived in town, you’d probably already dug a hole for the septic tank and drainage field. Gracious living!!

    • Steve Moran says:

      Yes, I agree that the space restrictions back in the 20’s and 30’s when this process was commonly implemented was far different in the Midwest than that of the East Coast, which had been the location for the majority of the US population, thus the cause for our overcrowding here in the Northeast. Unfortunately, we as a society are learning the hard way that our environment is far more fragile than we’ve been treating it. I do think, however, that we’ve finally turned a corner in our general thinking about how precious a resource our planet is and that we really have no where else to go if we continue to destroy it. Thanks, Mary Ellen, for the great comment and info. about the Midwest – being born and bread in NJ, it’s always fun to learn about other part of the US!

  3. Peggy says:

    In the UK, burying the oil tank is not done. We had a new oil tank installed on our place and even then, the whole process is highly regulated with a regulation platform for the tank. All oil tanks have to be double skinned affairs with all sorts of safety valves to stop accidental leaks onto precious land and water supplies. I can tell you that if we DID get a leak, we’d be in serious trouble with the UK version of the EPA and be billed for all the clean up. As the oil tanks are above ground, clever use of trellis, fencing and a fast growing clematis will modify the appearance.

    • Steve Moran says:

      You would think that we would take a lesson from our original “Mother Country.” Our culture, however, seems to take great pride in learning things the hard way. The upside is that at least we learn, one way or the other, and life is a learning experience. As a “greenhabbing” company, it is our focus to try to the best of our ability to move away from Carbon Footprint creating sources for energy and move towards more environmentally friendly ones. I hope for greater and greater incentives from our local, state and federal government to encourage such efforts and make the endeavor to do so far less cost prohibitive. Look to future articles that Sarah posts where she will interview other successful Greenhabbing teams and the specific ways in which they are making their projects “Green.”

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