Monday, July 25, 2011

New Jersey Oil Tank Removal

Oh No! My Oil Tank Leaked! by Bob Iles
in Home (submitted 2011-07-25)

Part I of Series on Residential Tank Removal Procedures in New Jersey

Every day in New Jersey, underground storage tanks, or USTs, are being removed. And every day, a leaking tank is discovered. Today you had your UST removed and you learned that it leaked. Now what do you do? This series of articles will explain the process.

The first thing to remember is not to panic. Leaking tanks are a common occurrence. Yours is not the first to leak, nor will it be the last. Fortunately, there is a process in place to deal with the issue.

According to the regulations put forth by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), a leaking oil tank must be immediately reported. The notification results in the issuance of a case number for your property. Eventually, you will receive standard correspondence from the NJDEP. Do not lose or throw away this correspondence. It will be important at a later time.

Upon notification of the NJDEP, it is advisable to contact your homeowner's insurance carrier about the release. If contamination above the State's clean up standards has impacted the local ground water, or has migrated beyond your property line, you may have a third party liability claim. Most homeowner's insurance policies provide coverage for a claim of this type. It is important to start the claim process as soon as possible, and to keep the insurance carrier in the loop from the moment the leak is discovered.

After you notify your homeowner's insurance carrier, it is very likely that they will request a Third Party Coverage Investigation at your property. This should be done at no cost to you, and will most likely be conducted by the carrier's own environmental consultant. The insurance carriers consultant will generally contact you by phone within 24 to 72 hours after your initial notification. The consultant will likely ask you for some background information and will schedule a date with you to perform the required investigation.

Once the field investigation is completed, it may take up to three weeks for your homeowner's insurance carrier to make a coverage determination. Be sure to ask your carrier for a copy of the report of findings that was submitted to them by their consultant. It can be valuable to have your contractor or consultant review the report to determine whether the investigation was completed in compliance with the applicable regulations.

Be patient. This is a lengthy process that can sometimes take years to complete. It is important that you have a contractor or consultant working for you that is licensed to complete New Jersey oil tank removals so that you can be assured that the necessary work will be completed in accordance with the regulations.

In the next article, we will discuss the process as it evolves from the initial Third Party Coverage Investigation. For more information on New Jersey tank removal visit Active Environmental's Residential Oil Tank Services site on the web.

About the Author

The author formerly worked for 13 years as an environmental consultant and project manager. He now works as the Corporate Communications & Marketing Director for Active Environmental Technologies (AET) in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do You Have an Underground Oil Tank?


Bob Iles

Five Things Every Homeowner Should Know:

All unprotected steel oil tanks will eventually leak. Most manufacturers estimate the life expectancy of unprotected steel tanks to range from eight (8) to twelve (12) years. If the age of your oil tank is outside that range, there is a distinct possibility that it is leaking. The only way to be sure is to have your oil tank tested. Oil tank testing can help to determine whether there is an immediate need to have your tank removed.

Clean up costs for a leaking oil tank may exceed the value of your property. In many cases the damage from a leaking oil tank is minimal and does not require cleanup. However, in some instances where the tank has been leaking for years, or has suffered a catastrophic failure, the damage can be quite extensive. And sometimes the tank itself is in contact with the ground water table resulting in contamination of the ground water. Residential soil and ground water remediation projects can cost upwards of $100,000 or more, and can take years to complete.

If your house is for sale, a leaking tank may make it unmarketable or diminish its value. Many homeowners have lost the buyers in a pending sale of their property as a result of the discovery of an underground tank, especially those found to be leaking. Realtors today are aware of the potential pitfalls of underground oil tanks. Additionally, many home inspectors are savvy about the oil tank issue as well. Often, a property transaction will be delayed or even killed by the presence of an oil tank. Many lenders will refuse to offer mortgages for properties where an underground oil tank is present until after the tank has been removed and any contamination has been remediated. It is important to keep in mind when selling or purchasing a home that oil tank removal may be a condition for the transaction to proceed.

Unqualified tank testing or tank removal contractors may create a larger problem. Improper testing or removal procedures by unqualified firms can cause tanks to rupture and allow oil to get into the soil and ground water. When choosing a tank testing or tank removal contractor, it is very important to verify that the company is licensed for the particular work to be done. Most states provide a list of approved contractors. Remember that, ultimately, the burden of compliance lies with you, and you could be held liable for any damages caused to the environment by the actions of unqualified contractors.

Clean up costs may be covered by your homeowner's insurance. In many cases, part, or all, of the costs for cleanup can be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy. While the details of what constitutes a covered claim vary from carrier to carrier, typically you can obtain coverage under the Third Party Liability clause of your policy. Common triggers for this coverage are contamination of soils on neighboring properties or contamination of ground water. If your tank leaked, you should contact your homeowner's insurance carrier immediately to find out if there will be coverage. Many times they will appoint a consultant to conduct an investigation to determine whether they can offer coverage. They may even point you in the direction of a qualified and approved insurance restoration contractor.

Remember, it is best to remain vigilant about the condition of your oil tank, and to be proactive about upgrading to an aboveground storage tank system, or even some other form of heating for your home. Spending a little bit of money now can save you thousands down the road.

Article Source:

About the Author

The author formerly worked for 13 years as an environmental consultant and project manager. He now serves as the Corporate Communications & Marketing Director for Active Environmental Technologies in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting Back in the Game

You may have noticed that not much has happened in this space for quite some time. Well, that's all about to change. Stay tuned for some exciting new goings on here. I'm moving through some changes. When I'm done, look out world!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life, Unfulfilled

In light of a story I heard today about one of my stepson's friends, I've decided to post the lyrics to a song I wrote and recorded about a year or so ago.

Life, Unfulfilled
(copyright 2009 by Bob Iles)

Take a good look in the mirror
Do you recognize the face that you see
There's a demon inside that controls you
You're in a place that you don't want to be
The needle is lying beside you
And the spoon's well withing your reach
There's a bottle of whiskey, some pills for good measure
It's escape from some hell that you seek

You feel the darkness
Descending upon you
And the walls come crashing in
And you just can't survive any longer
It's a battle you just can't win

One by one all your friends have left you
They just couldn't look on anymore
All alone there's just time for reflection
You tried but couldn't even the score
You've abandoned all those who have loved you
Tried to help but you drove them away
And now there's fear in your eyes as you wonder
If you'll live to see another day

You feel the darkness
Descending upon you
And the walls come crashing in
And you just can't survive any longer
It's a battle you just can't win

Now you face an important decision
How to regain control of your life
But the needle it looks so inviting
One more time just to make it alright
In the depths of your demon addiction
Is the answer to your endless pain
And you pray that end will come quickly
As the knife opens up your veins

You feel the darkness
Descending upon you
As the pain slowly slips away
And you just can't survive any longer
The demon's coming and he's gonna be paid

You feel the darkness
Descending upon you
And the walls come crashing in
And you just can't survive any longer
It's a battle you just can't win

See the video below:

Recorded version can be heard at my Soundclick page.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Get Off The Phone!!!

June 18, 2010

West Berlin, NJ

To whom it may concern:

If you're in line at the grocery store, and there are other people within earshot, get off the phone. We don't need to hear which of your friends is sleeping with her brother-in-law, or what you're going to do to your husband if you catch him with another woman again. I'm quite sure the cashier doesn't care, either. You wouldn't like it if I were trying to conduct business with you while at the same time yakking away to someone else on my cell phone. So get off the phone, or get out of line. Either way, show some respect for others.

If you're driving down the road, one hand on the wheel and the other glued to your ear, holding a cell phone, end the call. I'm driving behind you, or worse, in the lane next to you, and you're speeding up, and slowing down, and speeding up...then you're drifting into oncoming traffic and into my lane, nearly hitting other vehicles in the process. There is nothing so god damned important about your stupid phone call that you need to put others' lives at risk. Just hang up, pull over, and call the person back. Is it really that hard? Use your head. Seriously.

Thank you for you anticipated cooperation concerning this matter.


The General Public

Thursday, June 17, 2010

There's a Spill in the Gulf?

Oh my. Say it isn't so. There's an oil spill in the Gulf? How could this have happened? Surely these giant oil companies, who have raked in record profits in recent years have at least spent some money addressing safety issues and making needed repairs. What's that? They haven't spent money on those important things? How much you want to bet BP reports massive profits even in the wake of the largest oil spill in US history? And then when it comes to pay damages to those affected by this disaster, they will claim they can't afford to pay.

And one more thing to much does Halliburton stand to make from all of this.

Monday, June 14, 2010


So here I am, just over a year removed from losing my job. I went through every emotion, feeling and state of mind you could possibly think of. I eventually got over the anger and the negative feelings. I still feel like I have a lot to offer; I'd like to someday get another chance to help the company. Even at the end, when I was in such a personal and professional funk that it was hard to focus on the job at hand, all I ever really wanted was to help the company grow. Why do I feel that way? Because for the bulk of my adult life, that job was all I ever knew.

It was a major part of my life for nearly 14 years when it all came crashing down. Looking back, I should have seen it coming, but was too blind, or too unwilling to admit it was coming. There are so many factors that played a part in it all, but ultimately, the blame rests solely on my shoulders. Every day, I think about things I should have done to fix the problems that were controlling me. I should have been the one in control, not all the outside factors.

I've learned a lot in the past year. First and foremost is that I really miss that place. The people were fun to work with, for the most part (I'm sure I wasn't always such a thrill to be around). We all had a great symbiotic relationship, where it was ok for an individual to not know the answer to, or how to do something; there was always somebody in the office who could help.

Secondly, I found out what a nightmare the unemployment system in New Jersey is to deal with. I'm pretty sure it's probably very similar elsewhere, too. There are some good programs as far as re-training and such, but sometimes it seems like even the good things are far from worth the hassle. I've tried to do everything by the book; this was all very new to me having never really collected unemployment, save for a few isolated months when business was slow. I'm finding that it doesn't always pay to do things the way they are supposed to be done. It seems like every few weeks another problem pops up that threatens to really send things spiraling. And most of those issues stem from the colossal bureaucracy that is the state of NJ.

Anyway, here I am. I completed the computer training I sought in an effort to make myself more marketable to future employers. Now I'm finding how deep the economic downturn has been. I'm also finding myself in a strange position of being either over- or under-qualified for various positions. I have never had a problem finding a job until now. It's a lot of work, and a lot of frustration. But I'm determined to make it. I have to make it. And I will make it.

I hope to someday be able to sit down with my former employer and talk about what went wrong. I'd like to tell him how sorry I am to have let him down. And how I've let myself down, too. Writing this down here is very therapeutic for me. I never intended for this blog to get this personal, but I needed to get all this off my mind. Here's to a better and brighter future for us all.

Thanks, friends.