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Soil Testing16

Soil Testing

Did you know that Oil Tanks below ground have a service life of approximately 15 to 20 years? As such, over time they have corroded and began to leak. Because every municipality has varying rules and regulations surrounding the testing of soil, it is important to understand why testing the soil is important during Oil Tank Removal in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and other areas:

Why is soil testing important?

A: In most circumstances, the current owner of a property is usually responsible for the removal of any Oil Tanks. As such, when a perspective purchaser of a property obtains documentation (a certificate) to show the Oil Tank was removed at one time, many purchasers may find it difficult to obtain or finalize a mortgage from lenders and banks without providing an environmental report or assessment.

Many financial or lending institutions may ask a prospective property purchaser for:

  • A report from a certified lab showing soil tests were obtained below the Oil  allowable limits
  • A certified environmental report signed off by a third party environmental consulting firm or engineer

Generally, in most instances, financial or lending institutions may not accept soil testing or reporting from the Oil Tank contractor. Instead, they usually require a report from a third party environmental consulting firm or engineer.

What about municipal requirements?

A: Unfortunately, regulations regarding soil testing in each municipality varies. For example, the City of Vancouver requires that five soil samples be taken by a certified environmental professional while the District of North Vancouver requires no testing and reporting.

Can I be held liable in the future?

A: Possibly. If you remove an Oil Tank and do not perform any soil testing, it could have major implications in the future. In many instances, homeowners will contact West Coast Tank Recovery and say “The other company that provided a quote said that if the soil looks clean when the Oil Tank is removed, we can just fill it back in. Soil testing isn’t necessary!”

Be warned in cases like the above. If you do not test your soil, you could face future implications like:
  • You may be required to re-open the excavation area at a later date if you are selling your home and the perspective buyers could not get or finalize their mortgage without a report showing soil tests.

Why are five samples taken instead of only one?

A: Oil Tanks have four sides and a bottom, or a base. Taking only one sample will not provide a complete assessment.

What is the difference between using the Oil Tank company as opposed to an Environmental Consultant for testing?

A: In many cases, in the City of Vancouver for example, the Oil tank contractor is not allowed to take their own samples. In many municipalities, it is completely non-regulated. It is best practice to utilize third-party soil testing experts that are licensed, trained and certified in testing soil. Oil Tank companies generally are not certified to provide written reports or test soil. If a company offers to take their own Soil Samples, ask for their credentials and certification! If the soil below your Oil Tank is determined to be contaminated, it is extremely important to have third party between the Oil Tank company (the excavation firm) and the homeowner.

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