gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Richard Castleberry


#1

Posted by JHyre in Ohio on December 21, 1998 at 06:47:00:

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as “Superfund”. It is the federal legislation that sets the minimum standards for cleanups, including who the government may go after. Some states- California comes to mind- have legislation that is even stricter than CERCLA.


#2

gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Richard Castleberry

Posted by Richard Castleberry on December 20, 1998 at 15:41:22:

I may be buying a piece of property (at auction in
California) that used to have a gas station on it.
I think it hasn’t been operational for 20/25 years;
there is a small occupied house on the rear of the lot.
It is in the county and on septic with public water.
What are the chances I would have to deal with
the old (and maybe leaky) fuel tanks that are in
the ground on this lot.
Anyone have any experience w/ this type of
situation?
Please e-mail me at castleberry@rocketmail.com
Thanks in advance, Richard


#3

Lender Liability Act of 1996 - Posted by BankRobber

Posted by BankRobber on December 20, 1998 at 21:31:22:

If you are buying the property at a Foreclosure or Tax Sale I believe that you would recieve the same protection the Lender would under the Lender Liability Act of 1996. The entire Act is published somewhere online but I can’t seem to locate it now. You might want to start at this link: http://www.arentfox.com/alerts/lenderliab.html

I have never bought one of these properties, Under Storage Tanks just don’t seem to be a problem in my area.


#4

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Irwin

Posted by Irwin on December 20, 1998 at 20:40:46:

This is a very tricky matter to handle on your own. You can contact the Cal. dept of environmental protection, or whatever it’s called and ask for the section that deals with underground storage tanks. They can probably tell you what the status of this property is regarding the presence of tanks. Many tanks have been removed by the owners, and soil tested in the last ten years. Perhaps that was done with this property, and if that can be established, you might be okay. But check it thoroughly, and don’t take anybody’s word for it. Get the documentation from the state agency, if it exists.
If there is no clean bill of health, then pass.


#5

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Dale(OH)

Posted by Dale(OH) on December 20, 1998 at 19:31:21:

JHyre is correct in saying that you should run away from the deal. I worked for a company that repaired underground fuel tanks, and the enviromental clean up cost were stagering. If the tanks are as old as you say, they will almost surely have leaks in them resulting in contaminated soil. Good Luck.


#6

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by MarkHOUTX

Posted by MarkHOUTX on December 20, 1998 at 17:38:44:

I seem to recall something under the federal regs. where the liability for environmental damage (and its clean up)follows all property owners subsequent to the contamination. That’s why you always avoid property where dry cleaning processing went on or any chemical handling or processing. The rules were set up this way because all too often the offending company no longer exists so the EPA figured a way to hang the cost of clean up on all the subsequent land owners. Kind of the deep pocket syndrome with a twist! Perhaps some legal eagle out there can address whether my recollection is accurate or way off base.


#7

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by JHyre in Ohio

Posted by JHyre in Ohio on December 20, 1998 at 17:04:58:

I work for an oil company that owns lots of gas stations. My advice is RUN FROM THE DEAL AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Environmental liability on such tanks is HUGE and PUNITIVE. Such old tanks almost CERTAINLY have problems. If you absolutely must go through with this, pay for the most thorough environmental audit money can buy. DO NOT SKIMP. The EPA or its State equivalent will not hesitate to seize everything you are worth or shall ever be worth if the tanks leak(ed). I am not exagerating- CERCLA liability will ruin you.


#8

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by JHyre in Ohio

Posted by JHyre in Ohio on December 21, 1998 at 06:48:50:

You are exactly correct.


#9

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Brkr2000

Posted by Brkr2000 on December 20, 1998 at 18:06:35:

Richard,
Jhyre is 100% correct! I am a commercial real estate broker in Calif. and can tell you without hesitation that environmental pollution problems are the biggest nightmare you can possible imagine! I have lost many deals based on a rumor that the property once had tanks or a dry cleaner on it, if you KNOW it had tanks you must run as fast as you can!! This is nothing to fool around with-SERIOUSLY!!!


#10

Re: gasoline tanks and liability - Posted by Richard Castleberry

Posted by Richard Castleberry on December 20, 1998 at 17:29:06:

Thanks for the comments. What is CERCLA?
Richard