Oil Tanks: Tackling the Most Complex Cases

OilTankCaseStudyBEI has extensive expertise in managing the integrity and conducting the removal of above ground storage tanks (ASTs) and underground storage tanks (USTs). The two cases profiled here are among many that illustrate some of the ways this expertise benefits our clients.

During removal of a homeowner’s heating oil tank, a discharge was identified. Another consultant who was originally engaged to perform the cleanup encountered bedrock. The consultant installed a bedrock well and subsequently discovered free phase oils in the bedrock aquifer.

BEI was then called upon to take over the case from the previous consultant, who lacked the resources needed to undertake a cleanup with this level of complexity. BEI remediated the impacted soils in two phases. Our team installed a pump-and-treat system to recover the oil and impacted groundwater, enhancing the system by adding a biodegradable surfactant. Following the removal of the free product, BEI implemented an in-situ treatment program consisting of a chemical oxidation phase followed by a bio-remediation phase. The contaminants of concern were remediated successfully and the site is in the process of final closure with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

In another tank-related situation, a discharge was identified during the removal of a homeowner’s heating oil tank. The contractor who was first engaged to handle the cleanup was unable to complete the job because the contamination had migrated under the residence. The homeowner then called the experts at BEI. Traditional dig-and-haul remediation was not recommended, since it would have caused a significant disruption to the homeowner due to the extensive engineering and demolition that would have been required to remove the contaminants from beneath the residence.

BEI developed an in-situ remediation program to effectively address the contamination under the dwelling. Based on site conditions and existing insurance policies, costs of the remediation were to be covered by the homeowner’s insurance. However, at the time of this work, insurance carriers did not readily cover in-situ treatment since using the technology for heating oil tank remediation was a relatively new practice.

BEI successfully negotiated with the insurance carrier, offering a fixed-cost remediation program which the insurance company agreed to cover. The resulting win-win situation enabled the homeowner to benefit from a significantly less disruptive cleanup program and put a clear limit on the insurance carrier’s liability. The cleanup was executed as designed and the site was subsequently closed with the NJDEP.