Underground Storage Tanks and Purchasing Commercial Property

When preparing to purchase a commercial property, what’s below the surface is nearly as important as what is found above ground. When underground storage tanks exist on a commercial property, they immediately become the responsibility of the new owner upon transfer of the property. This means that if you purchase a commercial property that has a leaking underground storage tank, it will be up to you to handle the expensive repairs and soil remediation. Learn what you should think about when purchasing a commercial property to avoid costly headaches, below.

underground storage tanks

The presence of underground storage tanks can complicate closing on a new property.

Underground Storage Tanks and Purchasing Commercial Property

Find out whether there are USTs

Before you purchase a commercial property, it is important to determine whether there are any existing underground storage tanks that have been installed.  A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment can be use to determine whether you have a tank on site and will also alert you to a number of other potential environmental obstacles.

Determine whether existing tanks have leaks

If underground storage tanks are found on your desired commercial property it does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the property. The main concern is whether the tank is leaking. If the tank is a newer double-walled model then the ESA will likely uncover leaks. If the underground storage tank is an older single-walled kind then leaks can be more difficult to determine. If water is found in the tank, this is generally a strong indication that there is a leak that will need to be addressed.

What happens if you purchase a property with a leaking storage tank

Even if you were unaware of the leak in an underground storage tank at the time that you purchased your commercial property, it will be your legal responsibility to remove the offending UST and clean up any affected soil. EPA and statutory guidelines will outline this process and you will likely need to have the tank removed by a company that is experienced with the removal of underground storage tanks. The soil will also likely need to be remediated, which can also be completed by an experienced storage tank company.


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