A few years back, I had a house listed for sale in the town of Houlton Maine, in a regular south west end upscale neighborhood where the water supply was a drilled well.
And like a house with the odor of fire, smoke damage, the smells linger.
There is a real estate expression "If I can smell it, I can't sell it".
The smell of fresh cut hay on a Maine farm, the baking bread filling your lungs as you tour a Victorian home for sale in Vacationland don't count. Those are the good odors that help bring another sense into the real estate buying experience. Clean fresh air and water are people expect when they enter the state of Maine. We are proud of the clean surroundings and work hard to protect it to pass it on to the next grasshopper.
But on the low prices handy man special the odors that are sour are part of the bargain price. And when you are ripping out the plaster. planting the crow bar to the heave ho, there she goes commence the renovations, those odors are short lived. You hope. Garage bag odors can linger, especially if the plastic rips open and fuels are leaking out to scent the property. In Maine we like to protect the air and water so a leak of any kind that could impact the wildlife or our quality of life is serious stuffl
Had a home listed where a previous renter, the last one in the place had several farm pigs.
The athletic went up stairs in this two story kind.
The folks we sold the "dirty but nice" two story farm house with a killer view to knew there was a smell of animal urine. On hot summer days, whatever happen earlier in a propery's life shines through brightly. The new farm house buyer hoped new floor boards replacing the rugs and vinyl would eliminate the house smell. It did not. Because the smells were planted further up the walls than just hiding in the floors.
They get trapped into all the materials from porous ceiling tiles to soaking right into the super structure if strong and long enough exposure. Odors, they can mess up a sale when the buyer clutches their stomach, their eye's wince and water. As they try to suppress the gag reflex.
In Maine, lots of homes have signs of smoke from wood fires. And when a heating oil tank has a loose fitting on a filter line or a delivery just happened, you catch a whiff of petroleum. They say just a soda bottle cap full of heating oil will taint the air inside a house. They say a gallon of heating oil can pollute a million gallons of water
And the fuel oil 275 gallon tank of oil developed a leak during the marketing period. The number two heating oil leaked under the concrete slab in the cellar. Not just created a cup or two of oil on the surface of the slab where clean up would be easy. When public water is the supply, this kind of leak is less damaging but the odor of heating oil if you can not get to it to remove the source. There is the big problem with jack hammering out the basement floor. Removing, replacing building materials along with the inconvenience not just the expense to swallow.
Buried fuel tanks, we run into those with convenience store sales.
Making sure nothing is leaking, that the tanks if underground that they are not ruptured.
Besides heating oil fuel tanks, meth labs, black mold are not what a Maine real estate broker wants to bump into during a listing to sale transaction.
So back to the fuel oil issue when a tank leaks and some petroleum product is spilled.
You don't like to think of any leaks of any kind that would hurt the state of Maine. But how much heating oil fuel has to ooze out and spill before calling the Department Of Environmental Protect (DEP) folks? Each year old 3,000 oil spills happen in Maine. Get them on the horn stat when there is a heating oil fuel tank leak.Tap out the number at the Maine DEP's 24-hour oil spill emergency spill response hot line at 800-482-0777. When should an oil spill be reported in Maine?
If a Maine home owner calls within two hours to report the heating fuel oil leak or spill, no charges or fines are assessed to who ever is paying the property taxes and is the rightful owner on the title deed. To the place with the leaking tank that better not be ignored because it can contaminate the ground water and do other vile things to the environment.
The worst oil spill in Maine was in Portland Harbor in 1996. Roughly 180,000 gallons of oil spilled into the waters off Maine's largest city.
Accidents on the roadways of Maine can cause a diesel oil spill from a saddle bag tank of a truck that ends up on its side out in the pucker brush. We have all seen the big oil tankers off the coast of some wildlife area and the effects the surface scum of the petroleum can impact their life. Home heating fuel oil odors are just as dangerous inside the living space of a household where a family breathes the air. Brownies fresh out of the oven can help a sale. So can hot apple pie or a candle burning that smells and reminds the buyer of something tasty.
Heating oil is not one of those spells and if anyone is smoking, watch out. Not as bad as gasoline for a flash point or LP gas.
But still nothing to mess around with if there is an open flame close by.
What are the health effects on top of the home heating fuel oil spill hassle to clean up to humans and their pets?
Dizziness, eye irritation and a nausea feeling go away when the odor of spilled heating oil in the cellar of a home are managed properly. Getting ride of smells using fresh coffee on paper plates, open bags of charcoal and kitty litter along with bowls of vinegar can help the odor that lingers from a very small heating oil spill.
What happens after a heating oil leak occurs in a house or apartment rental property and the spill needs to be reported?
Your call to report an oil spill will alert a DEP responder in Augusta, Bangor, Portland, or Presque Isle. DEP Response staff is on-call 24 hours a day. Response Services staff will be able to provide you with guidance about what to do next and if necessary, will respond to the spill site to initiate and advise on the clean-up and proper disposal of the spill. Pumping out the contents of a fuel tank with a leak is the first step to contain the damage. Sometimes a magnet is put on the tank to stop the drip drip drip or a band if applied to aid in stopping or slowing the leakage from the malfunctioning fuel heating oil container.
How is the oil spill cleaned?
Cleanup methods depend on the situation, product, and resource affected. Methods used may include: sorbents, pumps, vacuums, controlled burns, excavating contaminated soils, ground water treatment and neutralization.
Who is responsible for cleaning up a spill?
The spiller (responsible party) is legally responsible for cleanup and may choose to perform the cleanup under the direction of the DEP. When a responsible party does not or cannot clean up a spill other agencies such as the local fire department or the DEP, must act to protect public health, safety and the environment. But it is the seller or owner of the property that is responsbile for the fuel oil or whatever tanks in the property.
Who can cleanup a spill?
Workers must be adequately trained before they can be involved in spill response.
Both the state and federal governments have standards for health and safety for individuals involved in spill response.
Anyone who responds to spills must receive training in compliance with these state and federal standards.
Food safety means the tractors out on a Maine farm must report leaking hydraulic fuilds to help contain which batch of the field harvest is effected by the spill.
Who determines what is needed to cleanup a spill?
Staff from DEP will provide the responsible party with advice on proper spill cleanup. Depending on the nature and extent of the spill, oversight of cleanup may also be provided by the local fire department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or the U.S. Coast Guard.
Homes years ago in Maine were big, drafty and heating them was with lots of wood. Now that homes are built more energy efficient, whatever goes on inside those four walls may lead to sickness. Too tight, not breathing can make the inside of a Maine home unhealthy. Hope this blog post on home heating fuel oil spills is helpful to handle them.
MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730