Frequently Asked Questions
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth. When inhaled, it gives off radioactive particles that can cause lung cancer. According to EPA studies radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non smokers.
The soil. Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. Uranium breaks down to radium. As radium disintegrates it turns into radon. As a gas, radon moves up through the soil and into the air you breathe.
While radon is present everywhere, and there is no known safe level, your greatest exposure is where it can concentrate indoors. And where you spend most time at home. Your home can have radon whether it be old or new and with or without a basement.
The goal of a radon mitigation system is to reduce the indoor radon levels to below the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. A quality radon reduction (mitigation) system is often able to reduce the annual average radon level to below 2 pCi/L.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that of them will grow without water or moisture.
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).
Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
To safely remove an oil tank, the site is evaluated for the tank’s location and any other factors which may impact the tank’s removal. Once the evaluation is performed, a permit must be applied for and obtained from the local municipality. On the day of the removal, our technicians will arrive with an excavator, excavate the tank, stockpile the soil, cut a hole in the top of the tank (if not already done so), properly remove and store any contents remaining in the tank, remove the tank, and then backfill the excavation with certified clean fill and the previously saved soil.
Yes, we also like to go inside the house if possible to see the basement first, then we electronically scan the exterior of the house with a specialized metal detector. We then provide a written report of findings.
There is currently no regulation prohibiting anyone from selling a home with an underground oil tank in NJ. The fact of the matter is that homes with an underground tank are less likely to sell as quickly as those with an above ground oil tank or gas. Also, attorneys will always talk about the unknown liability of a house with an underground oil tank.
We do soil sampling, which looks at the soil below the tank sides. The soil is collected and then delivered to an NJDEP certified laboratory for analysis. We then provide a written report of findings. Since vacuum testing is normally done when the tanks are going to be left in service, this is not the most advisable method to determine impact to the soil and is generally used at gasoline stations.
While it is within the regulations to abandon an underground tank in place, it is also undesirable to purchase a house with that tank in the ground. The real solution would be to remove the tank – short of that, soil sampling below and around the tank would yield important information. Once again, remember what you are going through now will come around again when the house is ready for sale.
Depending on the situation, we have done the work for both non-leaking and leaking tanks and have had our invoice paid at closing on the HUD. We can apply to the leaking tank fund for reimbursement for a leaker. The process takes five years at the present time, but they will pay.
It has been our experience after removing hundreds of underground tanks that about 20% of all the tanks we remove are leakers. Of that 20% number, less than 2% have been extraordinarily expensive projects (over 100K).
Yes, if they are staying with oil heat – if they are planning to switch to gas, you should look at the ProGuard charges so you understand. There is a $500 service fee to remove the tank and a $2500 deductible fee. Also, you must use oil for 12 more months after the underground tank is removed.
The DEP wants to know that there is nothing remaining in the soil and/or water above the state criteria (published). Samples are collected and analyzed at a certified laboratory. The results are compiled into a report and that is sent to NJDEP asking for the No Further Action letter. The entire process from tank removal to the No Further Action letter takes about 2-3 months.