Archive for July, 2009

Free Oil Tank Removal Program in New Jersey by

Steve Rich Environmental Contractor’s (SREC) is pleased to be able to offer you an opportunity to work with our company and the State of New Jersey to ease your financial burden through the State’s Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Program (PUST).

Call or Email Now to Avail Free Oil Tank Removal Offer:

Phone: 877-7-DEPEND or EMAIL:

Our team of experts understands the rules and regulations of the PUST program. With the help of the State’s program, SREC has developed our own program for homeowners to remove or abandon an old underground storage tank (UST) and an installation of a brand NEW oil tank, absolutely FREE. Planning on converting to gas or alternative energy? Not a problem, this program is also designed for just removing an underground storage tank as well. SREC will remove the old oil tank FREE of charge.

If you meet the following requirements, you are on your way to safeguarding your existing or new home CLEAR and FREE of any environmentally concerns that may have surfaced with continued use of an old UST.

Visit here for complete information:


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Oil tank law to safeguard water zones

Over the course of a year, cleanup crews with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection respond to one spill every day from a home heating oil tank.

Those spills not only threaten the safety of nearby drinking water sources, they also cost the state — and therefore taxpayers — several million dollars annually to remediate.

But beginning July 1, some homeowners installing new or replacement heating oil tanks in specially designated “wellhead protection zones” will have to take extra steps — and pay extra money — to prevent contamination of drinking water sources.

A law passed by the Legislature last year will now require any new or replacement tanks installed within select areas of the state be either double walled or feature a secondary method for containing spills.

Specifically, the law will apply to replacement or new heating oil tanks installed within 1,000 feet of a community drinking water well or within the designated protective zone around that wellhead. A “community drinking water well” is defined as any water system that serves at least 25 people or that has at least 15 connections.

According to the DEP, there are more than 400 community water systems in the state, ranging from municipal water districts to mobile home parks or nursing homes with their own water systems.

The new law will not affect homeowners living outside a designated wellhead protective zone or those with their own personal wells. The law also would apply only when an affected homeowner must replace an oil tank; it does not mandate removal of functional existing tanks.

David McCaskill, an engineer with the DEP’s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, said cleaning up after home heating oil spills is one of his division’s busiest jobs.

Roughly 80 percent of Maine’s homes rely on oil for heat — the highest percentage in the nation.

“We spend $2 million a year cleaning up home heating oil tank spills,” McCaskill said. “There is an average of one leak a day.”

The highest percentage of those spills result from tanks that corroded away.

“It’s the long, slow leaks that are catastrophic,” McCaskill added, “because they saturate the soil underneath the house.”

Homeowners affected by the new law will have several choices in tank designs, all of which are likely to cost more than traditional tanks.

The first, less expensive option — coming in at around $200 more than a standard tank, according to McCaskill — are known as double-bottomed tanks and feature an enclosed reservoir at the bottom of the tank to capture any spillage. The tanks have a float mechanism to allow for visual inspection.

Tanks that are double-walled all the way around can set a homeowner back, on average, an additional $1,000 or more, but these tanks are more protective of the environment. For outdoor tanks, the DEP recommends double-walled, reinforced fiberglass tanks.

Finally, homeowners with outdoor tanks also can invest in a containment system that resembles a small shed for a tank. Such an enclosure captures spills while protecting the tank from the elements.

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Ask Barbara: Was oil tank ever on property? Have it checked out

Question: I’m considering buying a 1950s house on Long Island. There’s a vent pipe from an old oil tank visible on the property next to the base of the home. The current owner maintains the house has always been fueled by gas. She has lived there over 10 years. She cannot produce certification that the tank was removed or abandoned properly. The home inspector could not find evidence of a tank ever having been in the basement or a fill cap anywhere outside. How do I find out if an old oil tank is still there now or if it was removed properly? And if I can’t find proof one way or the other, should this be a deal breaker?

Answer: You don’t want to buy a property where there’s even the smallest chance of an environmental hazard. If you’re serious about the property, get another inspection by a licensed engineer and make it the seller’s problem to resolve it by making it a contingency in the contract of sale. If the seller cannot provide legal documentation about whether an oil tank is or isn’t there, then you can walk away from the deal.

Question: I’m having trouble finding tenants for my Washington, D.C., area rental property. Real estate agents have listed my property, we’re on Craigslist, in The Washington Post and registered with Section 8 in my area. I did the right thing by having a good cash reserve to begin with, but I’m sinking fast having to supplement the rent for the empty apartments. 

Answer: This doesn’t sound like an advertising issue, it sounds like a property issue. Tenants want clean, freshly painted apartments in good condition, with new fixtures and appliances. And rent prices have fallen, so consider offering concessions like a half or full month’s free rent to entice potential renters. When you make an apartment more appealing than all the rest, you’ll more than make up these investments with a group of happy, stable tenants over the long haul.

Question: My wife and I have been ­married for 31 years and have always rented a house. Now we’ve saved enough to buy a nice home with no mortgage. However, some people have advised us to obtain a small mortgage since we may need money for unpredicted home repairs, increases in insurance, electricity, heating, property taxes and other living expenses. They also said we’d be losing the “interest” income you normally collect from savings, which could be used for improving our retirement years. We’ll probably both retire in about six years and will be living on my government pension and our Social Security checks. What would you advise?

Answer: I’d shop around for a home that’s either new or in very good condition to avoid those unforeseen repairs. Find out about any hidden problems or potential problems by getting the house inspected before you sign the contract. Figure out what your income will be once you’ve retired and make sure it will cover your monthly housing expenses of taxes, insurance and utilities. Plus, add a little extra onto your monthly expenses for the first year of living in your new home. I guarantee you’ll need all kinds of tools and accessories that you haven’t thought of — especially since you’re going from an apartment to a house. As for the mortgage issue, you’ll get the accompanying tax benefit while you’re both working if you take out a small, short-term mortgage. Use your retirement date as measurement for the size of the mortgage you take out — you’ll want to have that mortgage paid off by the time you retire. Once you’re on a fixed income, you’ll want to minimize your monthly costs and a mortgage you don’t need should be the first to go!

Question: I am contemplating purchasing a condo in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City as an investment. Do you think it is a good idea, especially now that the developers are so willing to negotiate?

Answer: Now’s a great time to get a deal on many new condos in New York City. Some sponsors have a lot of unsold units and big loans to pay off and they’re very eager to sell. You can negotiate on price and the closing costs, which are substantial. State and city transfer taxes alone add up to almost 2% of the purchase price, unless you work that into the deal. I will caution you to buy only if you’re looking to hold on to the property for at least five years so you can ride out this bear market. And make sure you know what you can rent the place for so you can cover your costs. As far as Harlem goes, it’s a great place to buy real estate if you can negotiate a bottom-line price that will make your monthly payments less than what you would pay for a rental.

Question:  If a home in Indiana is listed for $169,900, is there a percentage you can take off the price or is it just based on the other, similar houses in the area? I watch you on the “Today” show and thought I remembered you saying there is a percentage that homeowners mark up their property. We started our bid at $155,500. The appraised value in ’08 was $149,900, so how could it have gone up $20,000?

Answer: There are no rules regarding how owners price their home. Your opening offer is a good one and the sellers would be nuts not to counter. It’s unlikely the home’s value has gone up 13% since last year, so it seems to me that the owners have priced their house so they could negotiate with a buyer like you. Don’t forget that you and the seller set the value when you agree on a price. If you’re less than $15,000 apart, just stick to your guns and you should be able to buy it for somewhere between the asking price and your bid.

(This is taken from

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