Every home heated with oil fuel will have a residential heating oil tank somewhere on its premises, either buried underground, located on the outside property, or more typically, in a basement. Any home with an oil tank becomes the potential site of a residential oil spill.
Home heating oil spills most often occur when the tank is overfilled. When heating oil is delivered to the home, it is important the tank’s fill line is clearly marked or flagged. Other oil spills, which might be harder to initially detect, result from leaking underground storage tanks. These types of spills adversely affect surrounding soil and water supplies. Some oil spills are directly related to malfunctioning or corroding equipment, such as fuel line gauges, vent pipes, shut off valves, and tank filters. Faulty installation of an oil tank presents another significant spill risk in residential homes. However, a large number of tank overfills are caused by the negligence of fuel companies. Where a spill is caused by operator inattention or misdelivery, the fuel company is likely liable for the resulting damage.
Home heating oil spills can result in significant environmental and property damage, including:
If residential oil spills are not properly remediated in accordance with environmental statutes, the property value of the premises can be greatly diminished, especially if the home becomes legally deemed an oil disposal site.
The quicker a residential oil spill is detected and remediated, the better the outcome. Oil releases will have much worse environmental and health effects if left uncontained. Homeowners notify their regional Department of Environmental Protection as soon as possible after a spill has occurred.
Professional spill response companies and forensic engineers are used to handle these matters promptly. Specially designed absorbent materials should be used and disposed of properly. In some cases, underground tanks must be decommissioned and removed. In almost all cases, extensive testing of surrounding soil, nearby groundwater supplies, and the air quality of the exposed area will be an important part of the cleanup process. With the costs of contamination testing and remediation often reaching well over $100,000, the expenses associated with remediating an oil spill can become a financial nightmare for a homeowner.
Homeowners experiencing property damage resulting from an oil spill caused by defective or malfunctioning equipment or the negligence of the oil servicing company may be entitled to compensation. If an oil spill on a property produces problems on a neighboring property, the homeowner may face legal liability. By contacting an experienced Philadelphia environmental lawyer immediately following a residential oil spill, individuals can take the necessary steps to preserve and/or defend any legal claims that might arise.
If you experienced a home heating oil spill resulting in property damage or have suffered property damage resulting from a neighbor’s spill, the experienced Philadelphia environmental lawyers at Williams Cedar are ready to assist you. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and nationwide. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation at 215-557-0099 or contact us online.