Older homes in NC were originally heated with oil heat which required the homeowner to have a tank, often called “ust” or underground storage tanks. Since the tanks were large and held several hundred gallons of oil, they were often buried so they wouldn’t be an eyesore. Most of the oil heating systems have been replaced with newer systems fueled by electricity, natural gas or propane gas and the underground oil tanks were just left in place. Over time, many of the tanks have leaked, allowing oil to contaminate the soil.
Superfund Sites: Now, there is a superfund to help cover the costs of having the tanks removed from residential properties. The state of NC has information about the superfund program on their website – http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/
The original superfund guidelines required the authorization and documentation from the tank owner who last used the tank in order for the superfund to cover the costs. This was often difficult or impossible so the guidelines were modified so homeowners can use the superfund even if the heating system was no longer oil when they purchased the home or if the last user of the oil system has passed away.
Soil Testing: The process involves having the soil tested to confirm if the tank has leaked. Removal of the tank, any remaining oil, and contaminated soil follows. The final step is receiving documentation that the process is complete and no further action is required. Environmental companies like Cohesion, Inc. do this work in the Raleigh/Durham area and are familiar with the superfund.
Does your home have a UST? If you own or are buying an older home and are not sure if there is an underground oil tank, look around your yard and driveway for a metal pipe petruding from the ground. It may be cut off and just below ground level or may be along the driveway side or backside of the home. I have seen some very close to the foundation so it may be in the landscaped area. Cohesion’s website has more detailed information on locating a tank http://cohesion-inc.com/
How about you? Have you ever had an underground storage tank on your property?