One of the questions on the Seller’s Disclosure is – are there any underground tanks on the property. In La Pine and a lot of outlying areas the answer is generally yes, it is a septic tank. Of course if you do not have sewer available a septic tank is a must. However, in other areas of the state and sometimes in Central Oregon there are other tanks to be aware of.
After completing high school I moved to Portland, Oregon. While I lived there I lived in a home with oil heat, the tank for this source of heat was underground. Now, Portland and areas like it are having problems with these tanks leaking, hence the reason for the question on the Seller’s Disclosure.
Oil furnaces require oil tanks. The tank can be in one of three places. Outside above ground, below ground or in the basement. There may be soil contamination around an above ground tank but where we get scared is the in-ground tanks.
The Department of Environmental Quality oversees oil tanks and their decommissioning through their HOT program. This is a complete list of resources regarding oil tanks.
What does Portland have to do with Central Oregon you might ask? A lot, we should be learning from the issues they are having to deal with. Many people coming to Central Oregon are wanting to put their oil tanks underground, we are seeing them put propane tanks underground. What will happen as these tanks corrode as they have in Portland. The real issue for Central Oregon with this is we all depend on our ground water to survive. When these tanks leak or overflow the fuel goes into the ground. Our ground water in La Pine and Three Rivers South can be pretty high (my well is 34 feet).
When these tanks cause problems the question on the Seller’s Disclosure will be even more important to Central Oregon home buyers than it is today. Please if you do not like the looks of the tank – hide in some other way – it does not belong under ground. Let’s learn the lesson now not in the future when we have to clean up the mess.