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Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

A front page article in the Oct. 31, 1996 issue of the Medford Central Record reviewed the hazards, and expense, of Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. The article, by Susan Miller, noted that, "If there's an underground fuel tank below your dream house, it could soon turn into a costly nightmare." Cleanup of soil contaminated by a leaking fuel oil tank can cost anywhere from several thousand dollars to more than $100,000, particularly if the groundwater has been tainted. And the article noted that most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions for environmental damage.

A companion article pointed out that dealers who are members of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey offer a program called "HELP" (Homeowner EnvironmentaL Protection). "For about $50 a year, qualified homeowners can sign up and get $50,000 to $100,000 worth of coverage in case their tank ever leaks."

The article noted that a typical underground tank has a life span of about 20 years. If you have a tank that's more than about 10 yearsold, it might be a good idea to have it checked.

The paper also reported that cleanup of about 200 gallons of oil from a leaking underground tank was then underway at a lakefront residence on Oakwood Lake. The cost of the cleanup was expected to exceed $100,000 since the oil contaminated both the soil and the lake itself. The leak was discovered when the residents noticed a strong odor several days after a delivery of fuel oil.