Posted by & filed under BC Real Estate Update, Prestigious, Victoria Real Estate Update.

When purchasing Real Estate here in Victoria, you might just run in to an underground oil tank. Underground oil storage tanks have been a common product here in Victoria, and is still very common in many old homes. We did not get natural gas here in Victoria until the early 90’s so oil heat has been the norm.

If we run across an underground tank it has to be removed in most cases and in my opinion it should! The old underground metal tanks are like land mines and are ready to go off or in this case start leaking. If this happens you could be faced with a hugh clean up bill.

As a Property owner you can be financially responsible under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) for the costs of remediating soil and groundwater damage caused by leaking oil storage tanks. A buyer may avoid responsibility under the EMA if he or she can establish that, after making all appropriate investigations and inquiries of the seller, they were unaware of the existence of an underground oil storage tank (it’s difficult to be unaware of an above-ground oil storage tank). Therefore, it’s important that you as a buyer, with the assistance of a REALTOR® (that’s us), exercise due diligence in this regard when purchasing a property.

Due diligence could include:

a) A direct inquiry of the seller as to whether the seller is aware of the presence of any underground oil storage tanks on the property;
b) Receipt of a completed Property Disclosure statement Statement representing that the seller isn’t aware of any underground oil storage tanks on the property; and
c) A representation from the buyer’s building inspection service that the property doesn’t contain an underground oil storage tank (for added protection, this could be included with (a) or (b)).

Further we recomend that you use the services of Victoria Tank and have them come out and scan the property for a metal tank. We have found tanks under cement walk ways and cement patios. 

If we (you and us) discover that an oil storage tank exists on the property, we will insist that the tank will be removed or rendered inert by the seller at the sellers cost prior to closing. Further if it is discoverd that there is contamination below the tank you will want to have the option to walk from the deal.

Since December 15, 2006, the removal of oil storage tanks has been regulated under the British Columbia Fire Code 2006 (BC Fire Code). However, responsibility to remove them rests with the owner or their authorized agent. The BC Fire Code requires that disposal of an oil storage tank be done in conformance with good engineering practices, an example of which is found in Part 9 of the Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products (2003), published by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Source: Brian Taylor, Bull Houser & Tupper LLP

For more information on underground oil storage tanks check out the info that our beloved goverment has printed. (The file takes a while to down load)

If you have any questions for us, just leave a comment below or contact us anytime.

Cheers, Anders

Properties In Victoria Professionals – Royal LePage Coast Capital

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