As many people know the recent flooding in New Jersey, after Hurricane Irene, has created horror stories of water in basements, ruined yards, loss of power, water everywhere (except where we need it in our sinks and showers), fallen trees and total destruction of personal property. Many neighborhoods in New Jersey can only be navigated by boat since the storm hit.
While I was shopping for groceries, I just heard an unbelievable story that takes this nightmare to a new level. Someone recently had an oil tank unearthed from the their front lawn and had a new above ground tank installed in the garage. Easy fix for under $2,000. No contamination, no leaks, and the home owners did this as a precaution to avoid having a problem in the future when they decided to sell their home. The soil was clean and there were no issues.
Here is the problem: If an oil tank is placed into an above ground location like the basement or the garage, it MUST be tightly secured into the ground in such a way that flood waters cannot move it.
Sadly, a devastating scenario played out to the worst possible outcome. Flood waters from Hurricane Irene fillled a garage and actually lifted the tank and its contents of hundreds of gallons of oil, and moved it out of the garage where it fell over and spilled. Oil now covers the lawn and street and has spread to neighboring properties. No one knows for sure how much oil was in the tank, but the spill has infected a large area and the DEP is investigating the level of contamination. I was told (but have not verified) that the owner had to be evacuated.
This could have been avoided if only the company who performed the installation had made sure that the tank was secure. Certainly there will be a lawsuit (if not more than one) and somewhere down the line this will be cleaned up, but it could have been avoided if the tank had been correctly reinforced against this type of accident.
If you have an above ground tank, PLEASE make sure it is tightly screwed into a cement floor and that is cannot move or fall over in this type of a flood. Check your oil tank and call your oil tank company to make sure this has been done properly.