Article Excerpt: “Anybody with an underground tank that was installed prior to 1990 should consider removing it,” said Steve Rich of Steve Rich Environmental Contractors, Environmental Contractors, Wood-Ridge (steve-rich.com). “Before that time, tanks did not have a coating to protect them (from rusting), and the bare metal is a ticking time bomb.”
Once the tank begins to leak oil into the surrounding soil, he said, a repair isn’t feasible — “Each year as it rusts, the tank gets thinner, so we can’t weld it.” Homeowners are even more at risk now than in the past for financial liability, Rich said.
“Homeowner’s insurance never covered the leak, itself, but if it impacted the groundwater or spread onto a neighbor’s property, it was considered third-party damage; you could still get money to clean up the spill,” he explained. Since 2006, though, most insurance no longer covers such third-party damage. “It’s really important that anyone who has a buried oil tank act now,” Rich said, “before it starts to leak.”