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Thread: Gas station cleanup

  1. #1
          jhboyle's avatar
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    Gas station cleanup

    I am working with a developer that is interested in buying a former downtown gas station in a college town in our county and building a bank on its site. The company that owned the gas stations on 2 of the corners has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The question was posed to me, and I am now asking the wonderful people of cyburbia, 'With the fact that the property is in chapter 7, who is responsible for reclamation at the site, the former owner, the DEP, the potential future developer?'

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    You are forgetting some of the others in the chain of ownership. Technically, the liability for environmental cleanup lies with the entity that caused the contamination, or subsequent owners of the property. This might mean former owners are on the hook. Responsibility could also fall to the bank that holds a mortgage on the property. And yes, the responsibility would fall to any new owner. It is not necessarily all that bad, though. The first thing to do is to get an environmental assessment completed. A phase one assessment will likely cost only a few thousand dollars, and will clarify if additional assessment (phase two) will be needed. You could find that your state has programs (most do) available to conduct these assessments or to fund the work of private contractors. You might also find that there are grant programs to deal with any contamination. Lastly, do not over-estimate the problem. I have rarely seen a UST remediation project exceed about $25,000.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Here's a link to PA's DEP underground storage tank website. Hope you can find some info on what you're looking for.

    http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deput...eTanks/UST.htm

  4. #4
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    You are forgetting some of the others in the chain of ownership. Technically, the liability for environmental cleanup lies with the entity that caused the contamination, or subsequent owners of the property. This might mean former owners are on the hook. Responsibility could also fall to the bank that holds a mortgage on the property. And yes, the responsibility would fall to any new owner. It is not necessarily all that bad, though. The first thing to do is to get an environmental assessment completed. A phase one assessment will likely cost only a few thousand dollars, and will clarify if additional assessment (phase two) will be needed. You could find that your state has programs (most do) available to conduct these assessments or to fund the work of private contractors. You might also find that there are grant programs to deal with any contamination.Lastly, do not over-estimate the problem. I have rarely seen a UST remediation project exceed about $25,000.
    We just had a property owner spend $250,000.00 to clean up a contaminated gas station. Is this a different type of clean up you are talking about? On addition to that I have a piece of property in a prominent historic district, very large lot and no one will touch it because of the clean up costs. Perhaps there are different levels of contamination because the clean up around here for old service stations greatly exceeds $25,000.00
    Last edited by giff57; 26 Apr 2005 at 10:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra
    We just had a property owner spend $250,000.00 to clean up a contaminated gas station. Is this a different type of clean up you are talking about? On addition to that I have a piece of property in a prominent historic district, very large lot and no one will touch it because of the clean up costs. Perhaps there are different levels of contamination because the clean up around here for old service stations greatly exceeds $25,000.00
    I have seen a couple big ones, where the leaking fuels created a large plume, and the clean-up costs were extensive. Most of the contamination from LUSTs I have seen is on a relateively small scale, though, without groundwater contamination. In these cases, the tank is romoved, the contaminated sils are excavated, and the hole is filled in. Not much to it.
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  6. #6
          jhboyle's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    Here's a link to PA's DEP underground storage tank website. Hope you can find some info on what you're looking for.

    http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deput...eTanks/UST.htm
    Thanks biscuit, I was trying to find that page. I knew what I was looking for was on the DEP website, but could not remember where.

  7. #7
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I have seen a couple big ones, where the leaking fuels created a large plume, and the clean-up costs were extensive. Most of the contamination from LUSTs I have seen is on a relateively small scale, though, without groundwater contamination. In these cases, the tank is romoved, the contaminated sils are excavated, and the hole is filled in. Not much to it.
    Hmmm, well that is surprising information, thanks. Like I said so many of the cleaups around here are very expensive. I do however, know a few properties that are part of a "Superfund" and they contribute a max of 10k and the fund picks up the tab for the remainder of the clean-up..I do not think that is an option any longer but a few of the business owners around here are part of it.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra
    Hmmm, well that is surprising information, thanks. Like I said so many of the cleaups around here are very expensive. I do however, know a few properties that are part of a "Superfund" and they contribute a max of 10k and the fund picks up the tab for the remainder of the clean-up..I do not think that is an option any longer but a few of the business owners around here are part of it.
    Most I've seen have been well over $100,000. Tank removal, excavation, testing, land fill fees, and fill material. $25,000 doesn't go very far. Most developers won't touch an old gas station site, so they sit empty and blighted.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    $25k? No way. It can cost $10k just to dispose of surplus earth from a single house's basement excavation. I don't see how defunct gas stations can sit vacant for so long if the cost was only $25k.

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