After almost three decades, a program to remove thousands of toxic oil tanks from North Shore properties has had marginal success, leaving homeowners -- and the environment -- at serious risk.


Residential underground storage tanks, large metal containers that were once used to hold heating oil, are buried next to thousands of houses in North and West Vancouver. The tanks, many of which were designed to last only 25 years, are inclined to leak toxic oil products into the surrounding soil.


Municipalities have been encouraging their removal since 1989 when the province included their disposal in the fire code. But after nearly 30 years, only a small number of the containers have been taken out. That means the ground around many North Vancouver properties is growing more toxic every year, and the costs are now being felt by the environment and by homeowners. The oil, a carcinogen, sits on top of water, eventually coming to the surface. It can contaminate households by being tracked in on shoes; and it can migrate into neighboring properties and into watercourses. 


A corroded tank, usually buried eight feet deep, can also become a dangerous sinkhole. Most tanks were installed between the 1920s and 1960s. When people switched to natural gas, most doing so by the 1970s, many simply abandoned the old tanks. In the absence of proper installation records some property owners do not even know they are there. 


Prospective Buyers will no longer take on the responsibility of a potential buried tank - yet everyone continues to feel the sting of the public's inaction.  Removal of the tanks is now required at the time homes are sold and when insurance is renewed.  Straight forward removal of a tank that has not leaked costs around $3,000 to $5,000, including an environmental assessment, typically required in most Municipalities. But for a leaking tank, the cost can be much higher. Cleanup jobs range from $15,000 to $30,000 - to, well, "the sky's the limit".  


For more information on the consequences of unremdiated oil tanks, click here.


If you think you have an oil tank on your property, please contact a qualified

environmental consultant.


Suggested Companies.

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If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the many steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.


2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.


3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?


Dave Ramsey, a financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated and informed real estate professional. You’ll want someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.

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