Home Buying in 07306>Question Details

Leah Kopco, Home Buyer in Jersey City, NJ

We are buying a house in Jersey City with an underground oil tank certified abandoned in 2010. If contamination is later found, who is liable?

Asked by Leah Kopco, Jersey City, NJ Fri Nov 8, 2013

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I suggest you require the tank to be removed. If not in use there is no reason to keep it. Most likely they filled it when abandoning in place. I have seen tanks that tested fine actually have holes and contamination. Some soils are very sandy and the oil moves differently than clay soils. If contamination is later found on your property it will likely be yours to deal with. .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 12, 2013
Your best bet would be to have the soil tested for contamination levels. I say levels because the level of soil contamination will matter for remediation. A soil test prior to closing will be money well spent in the long run

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 8, 2013
You are responsible. you can take the current owner to court to try to make the current owner responsible. That will probably be costly.

how about negotiating the tanks removal as part of the purchase?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 8, 2013
I believe that the current owner is the responsible party. You might want to get it checked out again before you buy. There is also the option of taking out the tank and putting a different one in. It might be a useful resource to have.
Flag Wed Jan 7, 2015
I had the exact same issue with my house in Jersey City. Call me and I can explain what you need to do.
Art Kaufman
Weichert Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 8, 2013
Interesting legal question, Leah.

The working assumption is that there is no contamination, because before a tank is certified as decommissioned, they do a leak test on it. If a pressure test fails it would trigger further contamination tests at that point.

Although, theoretically someone may screw up the leak tests or there may have been a previous leak that has not been detected.

As far as I understand passage of time also effects the contamination. Bacteria in the soil do feed off of oil and break it down. If enough time passes all oil would be broken down. The concern is of course that if not treated or re-mediated in a timely fashion oil could seep into the water table or aquifer.

Why do you suspect a soil contamination?


Amos Elroy

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 8, 2013
What are the steps to obtain a abandoned property?
Flag Fri May 23, 2014
How do I purchase an abandoned house in jersey city ?
Flag Fri May 23, 2014
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