Archive for construction

NJDEP: Health, environment not threatened by Paulsboro oil leak; some residents skeptical

PAULSBORO — Faithful patrons of The Diner on West Broad Street here wondered aloud of the petro stench that had emanated Thursday from the Paulsboro Refinery.

Well before they’d heard the latest on the crude oil spill, skepticism filtered through. After all, even under earlier ownership, the plant had reminded locals of just what is in their back yard.

Memories of some past incidents remain, as Diner owner Dale McIntyre would relate.

As for the latest incident, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) spokesman Larry Hajna on Friday said his agency still doesn’t think Thursday’s leak will bring real health risks to area residents.

Hajna also said about 6.3 million gallons of crude oil – not 6.6 million, as previously estimated – had spilled into a containment berm built to hold much more.

The spill came from one of the refinery’s oil containers, officials had said.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Friday met with NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin and others at the refinery to discuss the incident.

“There were scattered reports of people with eye irritation … or respiratory irritation,” Hajna said, while maintaining officials don’t expect major concerns.

“The county has gotten maybe about 50 calls, the NJDEP has gotten a few calls, but nothing widespread.

“I was at the site this morning, and I didn’t smell anything myself,” Hajna said.

He added odors could resurface, as recent rain may have broken up the foam crews had been applying to the oil, but workers would continue to pour on the foam.

Hajna explained the NJDEP isn’t concerned the oil will harm nearby waterways orthe municipal water supply. Workers are pumping the oil to tanks quickly enough to help prevent problems, he said.

“The impact to the groundwater would be very minimal,” Hajna stressed. “It’s a refinery, so there’s already some impact.”

But there are also wells to capture substances. And incidents like Thursday’s are very rare, Hajna said.

The refinery tank holds about 286,000 barrels – 12 million gallons – of oil, and the containment area is built to hold 377,000 barrels.

Hajna said crews are also monitoring the air to ensure safety. County, state and federal officials are taking part in monitoring and cleanup efforts.

That cleanup may take several days to complete, Hajna added.

Despite reassurances, at least some residents have their doubts. McIntyre said they’d come earlier for their normal coffee and commentary.

“There was lots and lots of chatter,” she recalled. “People were kind of giggling at (the NJDEP) statement that even at low concentrations the oil could emit a major odor, and have a low risk.”

But roughly six and a half million gallons? That’s quite a bit of oil, patrons said, all the while questioning whether the health risk was truly so low.

One group had recalled a gathering over Java at the old local Dutch Inn years ago, one interrupted by a similar incident, McIntyre said.

“They remembered they were having coffee together, and they smelled the same odor,” she said. “They had to go home and get their children and pets out for a while.”

While such incidents are far from daily, area residents can recall several.

In October 2001, when the Paulsboro Refinery was owned by Valero, about 150 pounds of hydrogen sulfide leaked from the site.

In heavy concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause suffocation. And while that didn’t happen in 2001, the incident did cause a scare.

Winds were blowing that day toward neighboring Greenwich Township. There, at Broad Street Elementary School, all children and staff were taken to the gymnasium, and the doors and windows were sealed with duct tape and plastic.

In June 2011, about 600 pounds of hydrogen sulfide was released from the refinery, which by then was owned by PBF Energy.

Students were evacuated from Paulsboro High School due to the overwhelming rotten egg stench, and several students became at least briefly ill.

Hajna at that time said the exposure was not believed to be a real health threat, although an NJDEP investigation and monitoring followed.

As for the oil spill, it wasn’t immediately clear what penalties may be imposed on PBF or the Paulsboro Refinery in particular.

But New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said the proper penalty could amount “in the millions of dollars … It could be even higher than that.”

Tittel added, however, that lately, enforcement in such matters has been lax. He cited an NJDEP agreement with PBF a year ago, lowering “a proposed $2.3 million air pollution fine to just $796,000, a $1.5 million reduction from the level recommended by enforcement staff.”

Tittel argued that such variation from a recommended penalty encourages companies to risk taking lower fines rather than buckling down on environmentally dangerous practices.


Leave a Comment

Difference: Oil Tank Removal vs Oil Tank Abandonment! provided the difference between the Oil Tank Removal and Oil Tank Abandonment. Scroll Down for Tank Abandonment.

Tank Removal

There are several reasons why you would want to remove your underground storage tank. If you are converting to natural gas or installing an above ground storage tank for your home heating needs. Most importantly, SREC strongly recommends removing your underground storage tank if you plan to sell your home. Selling your home is stressful enough even without any major complications.

However, having your tank removed, inspected and the soil tested will eliminate any potential problems you would have encountered if your tank remained on your property. Removing your underground storage tank and obtaining closure will satisfy the most stringent of home inspections or due diligence by future homebuyers.

SREC can help, beginning with a free consultation.

If you choose to contract SREC to remove your tank, our helpful staff will acquire permits, obtain utility markouts*, and make arrangements with municipal inspectors in order to prepare for your tank removal. Our experienced personnel will efficiently and properly complete your tank removal in four to five hours leaving you with Peace of Mind.

What you can expect:

• Safety is a primary concern for our company. Our team will confirm the location of underground utilities before beginning the tank removal process.

• Once the underground storage tank (UST) is located, a small track excavator will be used to expose the tank.

• The UST is then cut open and the contents, usually fuel oil and sludge, are removed with a licensed vacuum truck and transported to a certified liquid disposal facility or transferred, at your request, to a newly installed AST.

• Fully covered in protective gear, a representative from SREC enters the tank to clean it with absorbent pads and a squeegee.

• The UST is then removed with the excavator and inspected for holes or signs of corrosion by both SREC personnel and the municipal inspector.

• Upon completion of the inspection of both the tank and its grave, the excavation is filled to grade with certified clean fill. A 550-gallon tank removal typically yields a 6 foot by 8 foot excavation area roughly graded. A 1000-gallon tank removal typically yields a 6 foot by 13 foot excavation area roughly graded.

• A sales representative will provide a completed tank certification booklet to you. It includes:

• Copy of local permits • Tank disposal receipt 
• Tank contents manifest • Certified clean fill receipt
• Certificate of removal and a copy of SREC New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection tank removal license

* Please note that a minimum 4-day period from the contract date is required before work can begin in order to properly obtain utility markouts.

Tank Abandonment

In recent years, the NJDEP recommends and most insurance companies require tank removal over tank abandonment. However, in the event that there is no access to the tank due to either landscape or structural impediments, tank abandonment may be necessary.

As we do with our tank removal, SREC will again take all steps necessary to provide you with superior service and properly abandon your tank in just a few hours. Once your tank is cut open and cleaned, our highly trained personnel will core holes through the bottom of the tank and extract soil samples to confirm the integrity of the soil.

These samples will be sent to an NJDEP certified lab for analysis. The empty tank will be filled with inert material such as sand or concrete slurry. The 4 foot by 4 foot excavation will be filled to grade with certified clean fill.

Upon completion, a completed tank certification booklet will be provided. It includes:

• Copy of local permits • Tank contents manifest
• Certified clean fill receipt • Certificate of abandonment 
• Copy of SREC / NJDEP tank removal license

*Please note that a minimum 4-day period from the contract date is required before work can begin in order to properly obtain utility markouts.

Leave a Comment

Information Regarding Oil Tanks Removal Government Grant/Insurance/Funding

Pollution liability caused by leaking oil tanks has become a major problem in New Jersey. Costs to clean up environmental damage, particularly damage to water supplies or acquifers, can run into millions of dollars.

Currently, homeowners policies provide pollution coverage for liability caused by above ground or underground oil tanks up to the homeowner’s policy liability limits.  Most policies do not provide coverage for pollution damage to a homeowner’s premises unless the pollution is caused by a covered peril.

In  2005, the Department  permitted the Insurance Services Office  to implement a $10,000 first party remediation coverage which would also provide a  $50,000 liability limit for the  escape of liquid fuel and lead liability limitation with a 1% reduction in the current loss cost and options to purchase higher limits.  

Several companies impose surcharges for the presence of oil tanks on the premises. Other companies have been given Department approval to exclude pollution liability caused by oil tanks with an option to buy-back the pollution liability coverage for an additional premium. The “buy-back” of oil tanks coverage may not be available for insureds with old oil tanks (over 20 years) and the “buy-back” may only be offered once to new applicants.

Since all oil tanks will ultimately leak, the Department urges all homeowners with oil tanks to have their tanks tested and inspected and to replace old oil tanks to protect New Jersey’s environment and to prevent a homeowners pollution liability loss.

Leave a Comment

Steve Rich Celebrating 27 Years Of Quality And Affordable Tank Services in New Jersey-New York!

We are helping home owners in Application for State Grants for the Oil Tank Removal and Testing. More information of this program:

Free Oil Tank Removal:
• Reimburse your $250.00 grant application fee.*
• Help you complete the necessary forms to apply for the grant program.
• Compile all the necessary documentation to submit with the grant application.
• Apply for the permits through the local municipality.
• Schedule inspection with the municipality.
• Backfill site to grade (no site restoration, topsoil, concrete, etc). A quote can be provided to do complete restoration.

New Oil Tank Installation:
• Apply for the permits through the local municipality.
• Schedule inspection with the town.
• Supply a UL listed 275 gallon tank.
• Transfer enough oil for startup of the new tank system.
• All associate piping to the boiler.

Steve Rich & Associates is your complete, hometown environmental contracting company. Since 1981, we have provided reliable, comprehensive residential environmental services to the New Jersey / New York metropolitan area. Our company is designed to be small enough to give each project our full attention yet large enough to get your job done efficiently. Our experienced professionals are committed to providing cost-effective solutions for all of your environmental needs.

We take pride in our record of customer satisfaction.

Steve Rich & Associates offers a wide variety of services to meet your environmental contracting requirements such as:

• Tank Testing
• Tank Removal/Tank Abandonment
• Tank Installation
• Soil Testing
• Soil & Groundwater Remediation
• NJDEP Reports
• Geoprobe Services
• Construction
• Vacuum Truck Services

Steve Rich & Associates is a fully certified, bonded and insured to give you the piece of mind that you want when hiring an environmental contractor. All of our environmental professionals have many years of experience in the field of environmental contracting, have a solid working relationship with all major insurance companies, have safety training according to all OSHA standards, and have the resources and equipment necessary to bring your project to completion in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Serving all countries of New Jersey and New York including Atlantic, Bergen,
Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties, including lower New York and Westchester County.

Steve Rich & Associates, Inc.
One Passaic Street — Unit A
Wood-Ridge, New Jersey 07075
Phone: 973-458-1188
Toll-Free: 1-877-7-DEPEND
Fax: 973-458-1199

Leave a Comment

Information Concerning the “Confirming a Release from Federally Regulated Underground Storage Tank Systems” Form

Confirming a Release from Federally Regulated Underground Storage Tank Systems

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to report on sources and causes of releases from Federally regulated underground storage tank (UST) systems. In order to comply with these reporting requirements, the DEP has developed procedures to gather data for each new release from a Federal UST.

All parties conducting remediation at a site with Federally regulated USTs shall complete the Federal UST Release Reporting Form and submit with any initial Remedial Investigation Report submitted to comply with N.J.A.C. 7:14B-8.3.

Applicability and Summary of Regulated Underground Storage Tanks in New Jersey

Substance Stored/
Capacity *
Heating oil for sale, distribution or commercial use any amount Federal & state UST laws Fuel oil dealers, and others who sell, distribute, or use heating oil in a commercial process, must comply.
Heating oil for non-residential heating more than 2,000 gallons State UST law Facilities with aggregate UST capacities of 2,000 gallons or less are exempt from the state UST law. Heating oil tanks of any size used for residential heating are also exempt. 
Motor fuels for non-residential use or sale any amount Federal and state UST laws Includes petroleum products used in the operation of a motor: gasoline, diesel, aviation, gasohol, etc.
Motor fuels for farm or residential use more than 1,100 gallons Federal and state UST laws USTs located at a residence but used for business purposes are required to comply. Owners of farm USTs should contact the DEP at the number below for special applicability information. 
Waste oil any amount Federal and state UST laws Waste oil includes used automotive crankcase oil and other used lubricating oils. 
Hazardous wastes any amount State UST law Although they are not regulated by the federal UST law, hazardous wastes are regulated by Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. §6921). For hazardous waste classification and technical assistance, contact the DEP’s Hazardous Waste Technical Assistance unit at 609/292-8341. 
Other hazardous substances any amount Federal and state UST laws A list of hazardous substances is available by calling DEP’s Discharge Prevention Program at (609) 633-0610 or downloading Appendix A of N.J.A.C. 7:1E at

Definition of Terms

Sources of Federal Release

  • Tank: This term means the tank that stores the product and is part of the underground storage tank system.
  • Piping: This term means the piping and connectors running from the tank or submersible turbine pump to the dispenser or other end-use equipment. It does not include vent, vapor recovery, or fill lines.
  • Dispenser: This term includes the dispenser and equipment used to connect the dispenser to the piping. For example, a release from a suction pump or components located above the shear valve would be considered a release from the dispenser.
  • Submersible Turbine Pump (STP) Area: This term includes the submersible turbine pump head (typically located in the tank sump), the line leak detector, and the piping that connects the submersible turbine pump to the tank.
  • Spill Bucket: A product tight chamber that surrounds the fill port riser. It is designed to capture any product that may spill when disconnecting the delivery truck hose from the UST fill port riser.
  • Vapor Recovery System: Any component of the tank system designed to recover gasoline vapors generated when filling a vehicle’s fuel tank (stage II vapor recovery). This system, depending on design, can include associated hoses, piping and/or drop tank.
  • Vent Pipe: A pipe that lets air enter an UST when product is dispensed.
  • Fill Port/Fill Lines: The end of the drop tube at ground surface where product is introduced to an UST. This includes remote fill ports and associated piping connected to the UST.
  • Delivery Problem: This term identifies releases that occurred during product delivery to the tank. Typical causes associated with this source are spills and overfills.
  • Other: Use this option when the release source does not fit into one of the above categories. For example, releases from vent lines, vapor recovery lines, and fill lines would be included in this category.

Cause of Federal Release

  • Spill: Use this cause when a spill occurs. For example, spills may occur when the delivery hose is disconnected from the fill pipe of the tank or when the nozzle is removed from the vehicle at the dispenser.
  • Overfill: Use this cause when an overfill occurs. For example, overfills may occur from the fill pipe at the tank or when the nozzle fails to shut off at the dispenser.
  • Physical or Mechanical Damage (Phys/Mech Damage): Use this cause for all types of physical or mechanical damage except corrosion as described below. Some examples of physical or mechanical damage include: a puncture of the tank or piping, loose fittings, broken components, and components that have changed dimension (for example, elongation or swelling).
  • Corrosion: Use this cause when a metal tank, piping, or other component has a release due to corrosion (for steel, corrosion takes the form of rust). This is a specific type of physical or mechanical damage.
  • Installation Problem: Use this cause
  • Other: Use this option when the cause is known, but does not fit into one of the above categories. For example, accidentally or intentionally putting regulated substances into a monitor well would be included in this category.
  • Unknown: Use this option only when the cause is not know

Leave a Comment

Moving Tips for Homeowners, Renters, and Global Assignees

For Homeowners

Relocation brings much excitement and many things to accomplish in a short time. Surely one of the most consuming tasks is selling your current home and finding a new one. These tips will help you to sell your current home quickly, for the best price possible, and to find the perfect home in your new location.

Marketing Your Home

Your agent should provide you with a comprehensive, week-by-week marketing plan for your home. This can include:

  • Local advertising
  • Internet listings
  • Open houses
  • Broker open houses (to expose your home to other real estate professionals)

Your agent should keep careful records of all prospective buyers and share his or her feedback with you. He or she should work closely with you throughout the process, adjusting the marketing plan as needed.

Pricing Your Home

Your agent will help you set an asking price for your home. Many outside factors can affect the value of your property:

  • Supply and demand
  • Mortgage rates
  • Economic conditions
  • Time of year
  • Property tax rates and local services
  • Neighborhood characteristics.

Agents review recent sales of similar properties in your area to help them arrive at a price. Your company might require one or more formal appraisals along with this “broker market analysis” (BMA). Appraisers look at recent sales, but also analyze square footage, features, finishes, and other details, and make adjustments for differences.

While you might have a price in mind, remember that the local market ultimately dictates the value of your home. Overpricing is more likely to scare prospective buyers away than to result in more money in your pocket. Appropriately priced homes sell quickly, reducing your stress and helping you settle in at the new location sooner.

Showing Your Home

It’s best to show your home while it’s still occupied. Many buyers have a hard time imagining what a vacant home will look like when it’s furnished.

With today’s busy lifestyles, few buyers have the time or inclination to take on a fixer-upper. Your home should shine, inside and out. Your agent will offer suggestions on sprucing up your home. Don’t take this personally; view it as objective marketing advice. Consider the following:



  • Your lawn should be well manicured. Trim trees and shrubs and remove lawn debris. In the winter, make sure your driveway and walkways are free of ice and snow.
  • Make the entrance to your home as inviting as possible. Consider a fresh coat of paint on the front door and perhaps a pot or two of flowers.
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. If necessary, paint exterior walls and replace damaged or loose shutters, shingles,and bricks.
  • Check exterior handrails, stairs, screens, and screen doors.

  • Your entryway should be bright, clean and inviting.
  • Your kitchen and bathrooms should sparkle at all times. This can be a burden; if you don’t have cleaning help, consider it during this critical marketing period.
  • Unpleasant odors will turn buyers off immediately. Be certain that your home smells fresh and clean before prospective buyers arrive. Some agents suggest temporarily boarding animals.
  • Eliminate clutter, including closets, cellar and garage. Prepare for your move by donating excess items to charity.
  • Open shades and drapes to maximize light.
  • Clean carpeting and windows thoroughly.
  • If you decide to repaint or recarpet, choose soft, neutral tones.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs and repair any faulty switches. Correct crooked light fixtures.

If you would like more specific help in preparing your home for showings, consider the services of the “home stager” provided for you by your agent!

Repairs and Improvements

It’s important to make minor repairs but discuss any major improvements with your agent. Some might not add enough value to your home to justify the expense.

Fixtures/Personal Property

Understanding the difference between fixtures and personal property will help you avoid potential problems. Buyers assume fixtures will stay with the property; personal property can be a negotiating point.

A fixture is an item that is permanently attached to your home, such as wall-to-wall carpeting, television antennas, ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and built-in appliances. If you plan to remove any fixtures, such as chandeliers, be sure to advise your agent.Personal Property
Personal property is not attached to the property; it includes custom-made draperies, appliances, patio furniture, and the like. If you intend to leave personal property behind, be sure to clarify this with your agent.


By law, sellers must disclose all relevant property conditions and defects of which they’re currently aware of or of which they reasonably should have been aware. Failure to disclose constitutes fraud, and a buyer can sue a seller for any oversights or misrepresentations. Many buyers hire professionals to inspect properties they’re considering.

Be sure to advise your agent of any issues related to:

  • Structural integrity (roof, foundation, etc.)
  • Systems (electrical, plumbing, septic, etc.)
  • Water penetration
  • Flooding and drainage
  • Municipal requirements
  • Toxic substances

Buying a Home

Your Real Estate Firm

Let your agent work for you. He or she will be your eyes and ears in the new location, providing all the information you need before your homefinding trip. Your agent should keep you informed and help you manage the details.

Selecting a Neighborhood and Home

The house you’re buying now is the house you’ll be selling in the future. Your Relocation Counselor will work closely with you and your agent to ensure the property and purchase terms are in your best interest.

The old real estate adage of “location, location, location” is still true. Whether or not you have children, the areas with the best school systems, services and amenities tend to have the highest resale values.

Traditional neighborhoods and popular local styles are more likely to sell in less time and attract more buyers.

Well-maintained, aesthetically pleasing homes are more likely to hold their value.

What to Avoid

  • Because new construction sells at a premium, it often loses value for the first few years. Also, if the home is not complete yet, your move will be much more complex and stressful than necessary. In a relocation situation, new construction is best avoided.
  • Environmental problems (toxic waste sites, buried oil tanks) and properties containing toxic substances (asbestos, radon, lead paint) should be avoided at all costs. For your protection, your Relocation Counselor will suggest several property inspections. For more about environmental hazards, visit
  • Properties with excess acreage or that have been over-improved for the area can be difficult to re-sell.

Let your home finding real estate agent work for you. The agent will be your eyes and ears in the new location, providing all the information you need prior to scheduling your home finding trip. You have the right to demand a high level of service, to be kept informed, and to expect your agent to follow up on all the details for you.

The Law of Agency

Agency is the relationship created when one person (the principal) delegates to another (the agent) the power to act on his or her behalf in a transaction. Most purchase agreements explain agency and the relationship between the agent(s) and the seller.

A real estate broker typically represents the seller. This is true whether or not the agent is the listing agent. However, Codes of Ethics require your agent to act in a fair and ethical manner to all parties involved in a transaction. Unless a buyer has entered into a specific employment agreement with a real estate agent, that agent works for the seller. The best course of action is to ask your agent whether or not he or she is a subagent of the listing agent.

As a buyer, you may enter into an agreement with an agent which states that the agent works solely on your behalf. This is called Buyer Brokerage, and in some parts of the country the agent is paid by the buyer, and the compensation is agreed upon between these two parties. In this type of arrangement, the agent will look for properties that meet your requirements, then attempt to negotiate price and terms favorable to you.

What to Look For. . .

Always view the home you are considering as the home you may be selling in the future, should you be relocated or move for other reasons. To help you better assess a potential home purchase, your Relocation Counselor will work closely with you and your agent to assure the property and terms of the purchase are in your best interest.

The old real estate adage of “location, location, location” continues to be of primary importance when making a purchase decision. Be sure your real estate agent is concentrating on those locations deemed most desirable for their neighborhood amenities and services and their consistently high resale values.

The best school systems, reasonable property taxes, and public utilities will all contribute to a better quality of life and good resale potential.

Don’t be drawn in by unique properties or locations. Conforming neighborhoods and local traditional styles are more likely to sell in less time and attract more buyers. While you may be competing with other relocating purchasers for properties of this type the investment will be worth the time and effort.

Homes that have been well-maintained and are aesthetically pleasing are more likely to sustain their value in the long run.

…What to Avoid

If there’s a possibility that you will be relocating within five years, avoid new construction. Historically, new construction loses value over the first five years, and you may end up owing more than the property is worth.

Environmental problems (toxic waste sites, buried oil tanks) and properties containing toxic substances (asbestos, radon, lead paint) should be avoided at all costs. Your Relocation Counselor will suggest certain inspections be performed to ensure that the selected property is free of these problems.

Properties with excess acreage or that have been over-improved for the area can be questionable investments at best. While they may offer desired amenities and appeal, the potential for future resale problems is increased.

While condominiums and cooperatives appeal to those not interested in the usual maintenance and upkeep associated with traditional homes, their resale history has been disappointing. Whether the result of the homeowners association management, restrictions and bylaws, maintenance and construction issues, or market saturation, these are typically not your best real estate investment.


Real estate transactions are governed by laws and regulations designed to protect the interests of both sellers and buyers. Every home seller has certain duties and obligations to a buyer, including full disclosure of all known defects, or defects that should have been known. Failure to disclose all known facts regarding a property constitutes fraud, and as a buyer you have certain rights in this regard.

Before agreeing to purchase a property, ask your agent to secure the seller’s “Disclosure Checklist.” The usual areas of concern are:

  • structure
  • systems (electrical, plumbing, heating, septic, etc.)
  • water penetration
  • flooding and drainage
  • municipal requirements
  • toxic substances

Settling In

Your agent can provide you with a tour of the new area, tailored to your personal needs and lifestyle. Most real estate companies also offer newcomer information packages, and can recommend local professionals (doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, cleaners, etc.) to help you settle into your new area.

For Renters

Selecting the right rental home will go a long way towards ensuring your happiness in your new location. Finding a property that meets your needs and budget can be tricky, though. These will help you determine what’s most important to you and help you navigate your way through the rental process.

Finding Your Rental Home and Preparing for Your Homefinding Trip

Assessing Your Needs

The key to successful homefinding is carefully assessing your needs before your first homefinding trip. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for-and what you want to avoid. Your Real Estate Agent should provide detailed information on your destination area prior to your homefinding trip, helping you maximize your time and efforts.

One of the most important steps in finding your new home is knowing exactly how much rent you can afford. A good rule of thumb is that your rent should be no more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income (although there are, of course, exceptions to this rule). Weichert can assist you in evaluating the amount of rent you can afford.

It is also important to remember that renters are often required to pay a security deposit (usually one month’s rent) before they can move in. Additionally, some renters are required to pay their last month’s rent in advance. This is often the case when renting a single family home from a private owner.

A rental application fee, which can cost between $15 to $100 to process, is usually required as well.

Inspecting Properties

When you’ve found a property that meets your needs, examine it carefully before you sign a lease.

  • Windows should open, lock properly, and have screens.
  • Sliding glass doors should open cleanly. Screens should be operable and intact.
  • Check the roof for missing or curled shingles and ceilings and walls for water marks and other signs of leaks.
  • Check plumbing and water pressure by flushing the toilet and running the faucets.
  • Make sure any included kitchen appliances work properly (range, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc.)

Before You Sign a Lease

Once you’ve decided on a property, the landlord will probably ask you to fill out a rental application. This form will request information such as:

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of previous and current employers and landlords
  • Salary history
  • Banking information
  • Credit card information
  • Social security number
  • Personal (non-work related) references

This information allows the landlord to check your credit history (usually through a credit bureau) and your relationships with former landlords.

Rental Agreement or Lease

Before you occupy your new rental property, you will be asked to sign either a rental agreement or a lease. A lease specifies a fixed term and monthly payment, for example, a one-year lease at $1,000 per month. Rental agreements are sometimes known as “month-to-month” arrangements. Either you or the landlord may end the arrangement at any time with proper notice (specific notice requirements vary by location). Similarly, the landlord can adjust the rent with proper notice (again, the laws and regulations vary by area.) A lease is usually the more favorable option, as it guarantees a fixed rent for a longer period. However, if you are uncertain how long you will be renting, a rental agreement offers more flexibility.

Lease Basics

A lease is a binding legal document that states that a tenant can occupy property owned by the landlord under specified conditions. Although leases vary, they usually specify the following:

  • A full description of the rental property
  • The amount of each rent payment and the due date, including late charge and grace period information
  • The amount of the security deposit, and the conditions under which it might be retained by the landlord
  • Services to be provided by the landlord (landscaping, repairs, etc.) and tenant responsibilities
  • Rules and regulations that the tenant is expected to follow while renting the property
  • Available amenities or services (trash removal, swimming pool, laundry facilities)

Clauses Requiring Your Attention

One of the most important parts of a lease is the Termination Clause, which describes what will happen at the end of your lease. Some leases renew automatically unless you notify the landlord that you plan to leave. Other leases simply transform into a month-to-month rental agreement. If you anticipate being relocated by your company sometime in the near future, we recommend having the following language built into your lease:

“In the event the lessee is relocated by his or her corporation, the lessee may terminate this lease upon thirty (30) days prior written notice to lessor with no lease termination penalty.”

Other clauses to watch for include those that address automatic rent escalation and transfer of repair duty from the landlord to the tenant.

Security Deposit and Pre-Move Inspection

Most landlords require a security deposit (usually one month’s rent). After you leave, the landlord will assess the property’s condition. If there is no damage beyond normal wear and tear, he or she should return the deposit to you. Since the landlord will scrutinize the property before you move out, you should compile a detailed list of any problems or damages that exist when you move in, and have the list signed by your landlord. This way, you won’t be liable for pre-existing damage when you move out.

Tenants’ Rights

Most states offer tenants’ rights booklets which offer detailed outlines of your rights as protected by state and federal laws. Check the state government Web site of your new location or visit your destination city hall for more information.

For Global Assignees

Relocating abroad is exciting, but it also can seem overwhelming. This offers a practical overview of the many considerations in moving to another country. Included are helpful tips on your home-search trip, required legal and medical documentation, advice on preparing for travel, and suggestions on what to take with you and what to leave behind.

Destination Area Information

You Real Estate Agent scould send you complete information on your destination area before your homesearch trip, including:

  • Local business and cultural customs
  • Language practices
  • Entry requirements
  • Money usage
  • Health and safety considerations
  • Recreational activities… and more

Once you arrive, your GAR will brief you on the area. He or she will arrange for you to see carefully selected properties and oversee the entire process. Once you’ve selected a home, (s)he will handle lease negotiations and coordinate move in activities, such as inspections and utility connections.

Before You Leave

Important Documents

Passports are required for most foreign travel. Passport regulations vary from country to country, but usually include:

  • A previous passport (if available)
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of identity
  • Photographs

Some countries require visas as well. For a work assignment, almost all countries require a work permit. Your company will assist you in acquiring needed work permits before you leave. Note that work permits for spouses or partners are usually difficult to come by. Permits are usually available only when employment is already arranged and the job can’t be performed by a national.

Medical/Dental Records

Have complete medical and dental exams at least three months before departing. This allows time for any needed treatments. Be sure to bring copies of medical and dental records with you.

If you take prescription medication, ask your doctor to name generic drugs. He or she can also provide documentation to avoid any customs issues.

Other Documents

Bring these important documents with you:

  • School records/transcripts
  • Marriage/divorce certificates
  • Financial records
  • Birth certificates
  • Adoption papers
  • Proof of purchase/appraisals for valuable goods (jewels, artwork, etc.)

Other Considerations Before You Leave

Currency Exchange

ATMs are common in most typical assignment locations, so it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to carry large sums of money. It’s smart to exchange a small amount of currency before you leave, to cover ground transportation and tipping when you arrive.

Financial Matters

It’s usually best to open a bank account in your destination location while retaining your accounts at home. Local accounts help to simplify local transactions, such as rent payments. If your home bank is a large, multinational institution, it might have affiliates in your destination area.

Many countries have regulations on currency imports and exports; check with your financial or legal advisors.


Tax situations vary widely from country to country. In many places, your tax liability follows you around the world. Some countries allow certain tax credits for taxes paid abroad. You should speak with tax and/or accounting professionals before you move. Your employer may authorize tax/legal assistance on your behalf.


Most countries allow citizens living abroad to cast absentee ballots. Check your country’s regulations before you leave.

Preparing for Travel

Flight Tips

  • Carry all necessary items with you: prescription drugs, important documents, passports, etc.
  • Don’t overpack. Heavy, bulky, carry-on luggage can become a burden quickly.
  • Dress comfortably, and in layers.
  • If traveling with young children, bring a few books, toys, etc. to keep them amused.
  • Try to move around the cabin and stretch as much as practical.
  • To minimize dehydration, avoid alcohol and caffeine. Drink water and fruit juices.

On the Ground

Check out your airport transportation options. Many cities ofter express rail service between the airport and downtown. If you’re taking a taxi, make sure it’s licensed and discuss pricing before handing over your luggage or getting in.

Household Goods Tips

As you begin to plan your move, consider:

  • What do you need (what will really be useful in the new location)?
  • What’s allowed (not forbidden by local law or custom)?
  • What will your employer pay to transport?

Your Relocation Counselor can help you make these decisions.

Small Appliances

If you’re moving to a country with a different electric currency, you might find it’s not worth bringing small, inexpensive appliances along. Voltage converters are available; however, the appliances often still do not operate quite normally. In most typical global assignment destinations, suitable replacements can be found easily.

Sea vs. Air Transportation

Your company’s policy will determine how your goods will be shipped. Air shipment is costly; normally, you’re given a small allowance to cover essentials, such as clothing. Most of your goods will probably be shipped by sea. Discuss your needs with your Counselor and moving professionals.

Valued Inventory

Before packing, complete a thorough valued inventory, detailing each item in your shipment and its replacement value in the destination location. List small, miscellaneous items as a group. Your movers will provide more detailed information and forms.

The inventory will also help with customs matters, documenting what you’ve brought with you, and ensuring that you don’t have to pay duty on the items when you return. Forms are available from your national customs office.

Moving Checklist

Plan to be in your home while the movers are there (or nominate a responsible friend or relative).

  • Valuable items, heirlooms, and especially fragile items should be identified early.
  • Review the mover’s inventory list carefully; it will be used to verify any damage claims.
  • Separate items earmarked for storage before the movers arrive. Mark “DO NOT TAKE” clearly.
  • Appliances should be prepared for moving by a professional.
  • Leave mirrors, pictures, and other wall hangings in place, to avoid damage.
  • Make sure dishes and utensils are clean and in their usual place.
  • When the packing is finished, take a careful look through every room, closet, garage, basement, etc. to be sure nothing has been missed.

When the move out is complete, take a walk through to make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked; lights are adjusted; the thermostat is set appropriately; and the security system is activated. Keys should be delivered to whomever will be managing the property.


Shipping Automobiles

The decision whether or not to ship your car depends on your company’s policy and local laws and regulations. In many cases, cars will not comply with destination area laws and regulations, and modifications are usually expensive or impractical.

Many countries honor the International Driving Permit, which you can get before leaving (often through your automobile club). Some countries require local licenses, especially for extended stays.


Some countries do not permit importation of animals; others impose lengthy quarantine requirements. Check your destination country’s requirements well in advance.

Leave a Comment

Good Article About Removing Fuel Oil Tanks from Basement!

In This Article:
A pair of old fuel oil tanks are disconnected from their supply piping, dragged over to the bottom of the basement stairs, and single-handedly hoisted up the stairs using a cable winch.
Related Articles:
Draining Unused Fuel Oil From Tanks
Killing The Fuel Oil Furnace

Skill Level: 2-3 Time Taken: A Couple Of Hours

By Bruce W. Maki, Editor

Question: What’s the first thing to do after you discover that your fuel oil furnace has conked out?

Answer: Start remodeling the basement, the basement stairwell, and anything between the furnace and the back door.

At least that was our approach when the old oil-burning monster died. We had been contemplating switching to propane, and this forced the decision.

The old furnace was quite large, about 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, and over 3 feet tall. Not being sure if it could be dismantled, we knew it would not fit up the basement stairs, through the door at the top of the stairs, and around the corner to go out the back door. It seems that about 10 to 12 years ago, long after the oil furnace and tanks were installed, the previous owner had built a dividing wall at the top of the stairs and installed a door. This created a small entry vestibule at the back door, but there was no way we could haul the furnace or oil tanks out with this partition in place.

Even if we wanted to keep a partition at the top of the stairs, the wall the previous owner built was so poorly constructed that we decided to tear it out and build something better.

So soon after the oil furnace died, while we waited for the heating contractor to fit us into their schedule, we demolished the partition and tore out all the wall surfaces around the stairwell. After opening up the stairs, we began to think about leaving the stairwell open, and building some shelving and storage into the area. But that is a project for another article.

It turned out that the old oil furnace was easy to dismantle. It was basically a sheet metal box surrounding a heavy steel heat exchanger. The heat exchanger was about one-fourth the size of the whole furnace, and was the largest and heaviest single piece. The two of us were able to haul it up the stairs with no problem.

But the oil tanks were another issue. These tanks were about 28 inches wide, 48 inches tall, and about 60 inches long. When the heating guy installed the new propane furnace, I mentioned how we would someday be hauling out the old oil tanks. He laughed and said “Don’t call me!”.

I figured I was in for a battle.

The oil tanks in the basement. Note all the concrete splattered on the tanks. A previous owner poured a concrete floor in the basement, but not under the tanks. The tanks rested on cement blocks placed on the original dirt floor.

I used a big 36″ aluminum pipe wrench to remove the fill and vent pipes.

Disconnecting the fill and vent piping was no small deal. The fill pipes were 2 inch diameter threaded steel pipe, and the vent was 1¼ inch pipe. After disconnecting the union fittings (the fitting in the picture above) I unscrewed whatever fittings and sections of pipe that I could turn. As a last resort, I could have simply cut all the pipe with my reciprocating saw, but unscrewing the pipes is faster.

Each tank had a shut-off valve at it’s outlet (note the red handles) though they were different types of valves. The larger red object in the right-hand photo contains a replaceable filter.

Using an adjustable wrench I removed the flare fittings that connected the copper tubing to the tee. I placed a small shallow container below the tubing to catch the oil.

I was able to remove the shut-off valves with a wrench. There was a ½ inch pipe thread on the other end of the valve, which later proved to be useful.

Not having a clue how to approach this, I tried lifting one of the tanks. To my surprise I was able to lift it by myself. I placed some blocks of wood under the steel “feet”.

Getting A Handle On Things:
I connected some short pieces of ½ inch black pipe to the drain line.
This will form a handle.

Outside, I removed a section of the fill pipe, and some elbows.

I attached some pieces of 1¼ inch pipe to the fill hole on the tank, to make an upper handle.

I had to buy an adapter to connect the 1¼ inch pipe to the 2 inch opening on the tank.

With these two handles attached to the tank, I was able to easily drag them across the basement floor. What I could not do was take a picture of myself doing that.

The monster challenge:
The basement stairs… with very low headroom.
There’s a couple of oil tanks that want to leave the basement.
I’m home alone, I won’t have any helpers for a couple of days and I don’t want to wait.

The view from the basement, looking up. The arrow points to the back door.

The monstrous solution:
Mechanical Advantage: With the tools I have, I can lift all sorts of things. I knew I could lift the tanks with a cable winch (a.k.a. “Come-Along”), but I needed an anchor point that was sturdy enough.

This door jamb was chosen for the job. I pried off the door stop trim and bolted this big automotive tow hook into the framing, using 6 inch lag screws.

This door jamb is just above the top of the stairs. The red arrow points to the hook.
I chose this anchor location because I realized that I could shoot a straight line from that door frame down to the bottom of the stairs.

The oil tank at the bottom of the stairs. Since the tanks were only about 28 inches wide, and the stairs were over 36 inches wide, I figured I would need to prevent the tank from slipping sideways.
So I placed a long 2×10 on the side of the stairs.

Using only muscle power I was able to get the tank started up the stairs, but no farther. Even with the convenient carrying handle, there was no way I could lift this 120 pound mass uphill.

The view from in the basement.

At this point I realized that the “handle” was going to hit the ceiling on the way up the stairs.

I used this short piece of 5/16 inch chain to provide a means of grabbing the oil tank.

To apply a uniform pulling force, I hooked the short chain to the front feet on the tank…

… and I hooked the cable winch to the mid point of this short chain. I knew that I needed to pull on the center of the tank, or else it would turn on me.

The other end of the winch was hooked to an extra-long section of 5/16″ chain, which was looped over the tow hook.
Of course, I began this operation with the winch’s cable fully extended.

I just cranked away on the winch and the tank moved up the stairs. But…

The tank kept leaning to the side, so made a “guardrail” by laying a 12-foot 2×10 on a short piece of wood (hidden below the near end of the plank). This short “outrigger” board was held in place with a couple of cement blocks.

It took only a few minutes to get the tank past the narrow headroom point.

At this point the cable winch had been completely wound up (the two red arrows point to the fixed and moveable parts of the winch, and they are close together).
I had to stop and reposition the chains.

Just in case…
I placed a long heavy steel bar under the short chain loop, to hold the tanks from sliding back down the stairs. But the back edge of the tank just happened to get wedged into place, so there was no weight placed on this chain.

I again extended the winch’s cable and connected it directly to the tow hook, and hooked the other end to the rusty old loop chain.

I continued to crank on the winch and the oil tank climbed higher up the stairs.

This was about as far as I could hoist the tank.
In this picture you can get a better idea of how the tank was rigged.

This is one of the four “feet” under the tank. These made convenient grab points for the hooks.

This picture was taken from just outside the back door.
With the chain and winch still connected, I swung the tank towards the back door and slid it outside.

These tanks were fairly easy to move around, though I couldn’t lift the entire weight. I was able to “walk” the tank by lifting one side and then the other.
Here I screwed some handles back in place to help move the tank.

The Damage Is Done:
Moving these two oil tanks from the basement caused some damage. The stair treads got rather chewed up from the heavy weight being dragged across them.

The tank left some scratches on the basement floor (top arrow) and some small puddles of oil (bottom arrow). Oil spills won’t dry up, and they may leave an odor for many months.

I routinely use a spray can of automotive brake cleaner (which is very volatile and may be highly flammable) to remove oil spots from concrete. I spray the brake cleaner on the spot and immediately wipe it up with a paper towel. Brake cleaner removes most of the oil, but there is usually a slight stain on the concrete.

The door jamb was not as secure as I first thought. The jamb pulled away from the casing, leaving a gap (arrow).

But none of these minor problems were any cause for concern, because all of these areas either need remodeling or are utility spaces that don’t really matter. This is an important issue for many people, however, because not everybody is willing to remodel part of their house just to remove an oil tank.

The relevant point is: If a house has good finished surfaces between the oil tank and the back door, it would be wise to have several people available to help move the tank. Protective measures such as rugs or scraps of carpet could be employed to prevent damage.

The oil tank area after the tanks were removed. The corner was a mess. It had collected debris and junk for about half a century.

When I hauled away the tanks, I loaded them both in my tiny 4×8 utility trailer and strapped them in place with ratcheting tie-down straps.
I would have preferred to lay the tanks down, but they both would not fit, and I didn’t want to make two trips.

To keep the straps from slipping out of place, I threaded the straps through the holes in the feet.

Cleaning The Oil Tanks:
While this is probably not necessary, I attempted to clean the oil tanks, just to see if I could. I started by hauling the tanks far into the back yard. We live on an old farm, so there’s lots of open land here. I strapped each tank to my fridge dolly and hauled them out back beside my bonfire pit. Then I poured a gallon of mineral spirits into a garden sprayer (the sprayer instructions loudly warn against spraying combustible liquids, but… I live on the edge) and poked the sprayer nozzle into the various openings on the tanks. I sprayed the insides from top to bottom, then I flipped the tanks over a couple of times (end over end, to avoid spilling liquids). I drained the tanks over some newspapers and scraps of wood, so the liquid could be burned off. I suspect it’s better for the environment to burn such petroleum products rather than let them evaporate.

Next I poured about a quart of denatured alcohol into the garden sprayer and sprayed the alcohol. into the tanks to rinse away the mineral spirits and oil. This certainly helped, but a quart of alcohol was not enough to do the job. I drained the alcohol over the burn pile, rolled the tanks a safe distance away, and ignited the liquid waste.

Later, I put some Simple Green in the garden sprayer, not diluted at all. Simple Green seems to be a good water-soluble degreasing agent. I sprayed the insides of the tanks and then rolled the tanks around the hayfield, this time letting stuff come out the large holes on top. Large chunks of black charcoal-like gunk came out. I rinsed the tanks several times with a garden hose.

Now the tanks smelled of a combination of Simple Green AND fuel oil.

After I hauled away the tanks, the back yard smelled faintly of fuel oil. There were numerous spots of black oily gunk in the field. I used a propane torch to burn off these oily spots (being careful not to let grass fires get started), and that seemed to remove the odor.

Was this the best thing to do? I don’t know. If I was going to cut the tanks open, I could have wiped the insides clean with rags or newspapers.

Disposing Of Old Oil Tanks:
I was able to dispose of the old tanks at a local metal recycling company. Normally they require that all tanks be cut in half, but they made an exception for me because I had given them over 100 gallons of unused fuel oil. Besides, the manager knew somebody who might be able to use them, so they accepted the tanks intact.

I have seen people make large trailer-mounted barbecue grills from oil tanks. They cut the tank in two, turning the top half into a hinged lid, and install supports for metal grills. This was of no interest to me, but I seriously considered placing an advertisement in the local paper to give away these tanks. But… I just didn’t have the time to fool around with such things… I just wanted them gone. Whatever happens to these old tanks, at least the steel will be re-used or recycled.

Disposing of large items like oil tanks could be quite a problem. I doubt the garbage haulers would take an oil tank if you left it by the curb. It would be wise to find someone to take the oil tank before removing it from the house.

Cutting these tanks would be time-consuming, but not impossible. An oxy-acetylene torch immediately comes to mind, but I would NOT recommend using a torch to cut an oil tank. A cutting torch could easily ignite leftover fuel inside an oil tank, and any kind of fire inside an enclosed chamber could be explosive. Besides, there could be other liquid residues in the tank, liquids that are much more volatile than fuel oil.

I have cut plenty of heavy-gauge steel with my Sawzall. The trick to cutting (or drilling) heavy ferrous metals is :

Use a sharp, fine-toothed, metal cutting blade. Bi-metal blades are the best because the teeth are a harder metal than the blade body.
Use a slow cutting speed, to reduce overheating of the blade. The higher-priced Sawzalls have a control dial that limits the maximum speed. When cutting iron and steel, I use 3 on the scale of 1 to 5.
Push hard on the cutting tool.
Lubricate the HELL out of the cutter. I often use WD-40, but any oily substance will help. Plain water will work too, but it will rust the blade if not wiped off after use. Sometimes I use a waxy lube stick that is meant for lubricating doors and hinges. I keep a tube in the Sawzall case and just rub it on the blade. In a pinch, spitting on the blade is better than nothing. I’m not kidding!
In a nutshell: If you want to dull your cutting blades: cut ferrous metals at high speed, don’t push very hard, and don’t lubricate the cutter. The blade manufacturers will love you.
One problem with cutting these oil tanks would be the weld seams at the corners. When steel is welded the nearby metal becomes much harder, and the weld metal itself is usually very hard. I suspect this would destroy most reciprocating saw blades, even bi-metal blades. My approach would be to use an abrasive cutter in the weld area. I have an inexpensive pneumatic 3″ diameter abrasive disc cut-off tool. This tool only cost fifteen bucks, but it requires a large air compressor (this is perhaps the most powerful tool I have; it makes my 4 HP air compressor run nearly full time). An angle grinder would also work, or an abrasive blade could be used on a circular saw. In fact, the entire cut could be made with an abrasive metal-cutting blade mounted on a circular saw, but it might be slower than a Sawzall. Besides, these abrasive blades throw sparks, and too many sparks might ignite traces of oil in the tanks.

Don’t Be Stupid: Complete The Job!
I have heard stories in the past (there was one on the local news just the other day) about fuel oil being delivered to the wrong house. Free oil, no big deal, right? Unless the house had the oil tank removed.

Imagine coming home to find a couple of hundred gallons of smelly fuel oil in your basement. Yu-uck! What a mess. What a hassle. It would take forever to get rid of the odor.

Of course, this could only happen if someone removed the oil tank but didn’t remove the fill tube. That is simply dumb. If you are going to remove an oil tank, complete the job and remove the oil fill tube and vent tube. Or at least screw a pipe cap on the open end of the pipe down in the basement. Why leave an open access pipe into your house?

Fuel Oil and Fire Safety:
I’ve seen people who were afraid that fuel oil, kerosene or diesel fuel could explode. That is a clear sign of ignorance. Anybody who is familiar with these fuels knows that you can’t pay these fuels to burn, and explosive combustion is basically impossible. It is difficult to get fuel oil to burn; it has to be spread out in a thin layer, such as in a wick, or sprayed into a fine mist (which furnaces do). A puddle or container of oil just won’t burn readily.

I think one of the most appealing features of fuel oil is its high degree of safety.

BUT… fuel oil, kerosene or diesel could have other flammable liquids mixed in, so use extra caution if you are not certain of the origin of the oil. Any waste oil product could easily contain other more volatile liquids. For instance, used motor oil commonly gets mixed with a bit of gasoline because mechanics often use an oil drain pan to catch dripping gasoline.

Tools Used:
Pipe Wrenches, 24″, 36″
5/16″ Chain
2-Ton Ratcheting Cable Winch
Automotive Tow Hook

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »