Tank Masters Inc. recommends removing residential underground oil tanks

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  • Photo by Roger Gavan Brian Monahan, president of Tank Masters Environmental, Inc.

— Removing residential underground oil tanks may no longer be an option. Although the New York State Department of Conservation has yet to regulate tanks under 1,100 gallons, an increasing number of real estate attorneys as well as banks will not allow a buyer they represent to close on the sale of a home with an underground tank.

And if you are the seller, removing and replacing your underground tank system is inevitable regardless of whether you decide to sell your property now or in the distant future.

In a time where environmental concerns are at an all-time high, and getting stricter, most lenders, insurance companies, realtors, engineers, home inspection experts and tank testers recommend that potentially hazardous oil tanks be removed.

Tanks rust from inside and out"An underground oil tank starts to rust the day it's installed," said Brian Monahan, president of Tank Masters Environmental, Inc., a family-owned tank removal business in Chester. "It rusts from both inside and outside. And any tank older than 20 years is a ticking bomb."

He cautions that the life expectancy of an underground steel tank, depending on the gauge, ranges from 15 to 25 years.

There are ways to seal the tank and leave it underground but should you decide to sell your home, a bank or the buyer may ask for environmental testing or the removal of the tank, which could make leaving your tank in place costlier than taking it out.

$2,000 to remove; $20,000 to clean upOn its website the DEC warns that an oil tank leak could be very unfortunate, not only for the environment, but for your pocketbook.

When an underground tank or pipe leaks, the cleanup can cost $20,000 or more.

And if your homeowner's insurance policy contains a "pollution exclusion" clause, which many do, you could get stuck with the bill.

The best way to avoid significant expenses is to replace your underground tank or have a new above ground tank installed in your basement, garage or storage shed.

Monahan explained that his company will handle underground tank removal from A to Z including salvaging most of the oil and replacement with an above ground tank along with all required filings and any required remediation.

"I can remove and replace most tanks for under $2,000," he said. "I've been doing this for 25 years. I have a great rapport with DEC officials and I handle all the paper work, write all the letters and help the client deal with the insurance company if contamination becomes an issue. We're a family run company and we understand the difficulties people face and we will work with them."

Monahan is also well known in Warwick for his contributions to charitable organizations and Warwick sports including a football scholarship he presents on awards night at the Warwick Valley High School.

Tank Masters Environmental, Inc. services the Hudson Valley, Northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For additional information, call 469-3120 or visit: www.oiltankmasters.com.

- Roger Gavan

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