When considering the purchase of a home or land with an underground storage tank on site, prospective buyers should proceed with caution. The tanks are expensive to inspect and could pose a health risk.
- Underground storage tanks are usually filled with oil or fuel and those made before the mid-1980s are known to corrode over time, creating the potential for ground or drinking water contamination.
- If a buyer suspects the presence of a tank, an inspection should be ordered. The seller and the listing agent are required to disclose the presence of an underground storage tank. If a tank is not found on the property but the seller suspects a tank was located nearby, water and soil testing should be ordered because contamination from surrounding areas is possible.
- It’s extremely important to find out what’s inside the tank and if it’s leaking. This won’t come cheaply — an estimated several thousand dollars to determine if a tank is leaking and if so, the extent of the damage to the soil and drinking water.
- If a leak is found, contact the proper environmental authorities. Nearby homes could also be at risk of contamination.