For the past couple of weeks, I have been working with a client who is purchasing a property with an abandoned underground oil tank. My client is from the East Coast where the laws are pretty strict on this sort of matter. Therefore, she was especially concerned about the underground storage tank.
I did some research and here is what I discovered. The first thing I did was go to the State of Indiana’s website to see if I could find any rules. Sure enough, the website listed the rules and a contact person. I also talked to two private companies that work with underground storage tanks to get a clear picture of what is involved.
If you are a seller, you need to provide this information on the Sales Disclosure form. If you have had the tank pumped or filled, it is best to keep your receipts as proof of what you have done with the tank.
In Indiana, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) does not regulate residential fuel tanks less than 1,000 gallons. Most buried tanks on residential properties hold about 500 gallons or less. Therefore, nothing has to be done according to state law.
However, the experts I spoke with recommended – and this is what we had the seller do – having the fuel pumped from the tank. The tank then was filled with pea gravel. You may use pea gravel, sand or cement slurry to fill the tank. This is all that is necessary for the system to be considered environmentally safe in Indiana.
Additionally, the fire department requires that the tank be capped off so no addition fuels can be added. If this is not done and your property is ever inspected you are subject to a fine.
So, my advice to folks searching for a home in the Greater Indianapolis area is don’t be afraid to purchase an older home that has an abandoned underground storage tank. The same advice holds true in communities such as Brownsburg, Carmel and Zionsville. The fix is simple and will cost about $1,000. Insist the seller take care of the potential problem as part of the purchase agreement.