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Question DetailsAsked on 6/25/2014

How much should a truckload or ton of oil tainted soil cost to dispose of in NJ.

Very scary and confusing to know how much it should cost to have oil tainted soil removed from our yard. Our tank was removed and there were holes in it. There is oil in our soil and we don't know how much, what it should cost to remove, if house insurance covers it, and if insurance covers any damage to our damage property. They are talking
$ 20,000 to start at this point and we are getting very nervous.

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1 Answer


First, you need to find if your insurance covers it - commonly will not, unless you were paying a storage tank premium surcharge. Unless it is covered, damage to the property in cleaning it up will not be covered either.

Then, you may need an attorney - depends on severity of the case. If in doubt, getting an environmental law attorney on board might be a good idea - insurance company will probably do so if you are covered for oil leakage.

You definitely will need an approved UST/AST (Underground Storage Tank/Above Ground Storage Tank) EPA certified (through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) remediation contractor - I presume that is who removed the tank ? Here is a link to a search page that lets you search by certified tank remediation contractors by county -

If you just had a small leak, a remediation contractor might be all you need. If significant oil loss (say hundreds of gallons) then you are going to need a Civil or Environmental Engineering firm to maintain inspection and certification of the work and to design remediation measures and help you throught the regulatory issues.

Cost of course depends on amount leaked, grade of oil (heavy fuel oil does not travel as far as light heating oil/diesel), and whether it left your property or got into the groundwater or underlies your house.

Cost can run from $1000 typical lower range for just some filling spillage or very minor leak contaminating only a couple of foot area, into the tens or hundreds of thousands for a leak that went on for years and leaked hundreds or thousands of gallons.

Disposal cost depends on where you are and what the approved disposal method in your area is, type of soil, and how far from an authorized disposal facility you are. Only a few landfills can take oil contaminated soil, in some areas it is recycled into asphalt paving (if soil type is not clayey), and in some areas it is incinerated in a rotary kiln. Excavation cost of around $10-25/cy is typical depending on if there is free oil present or is showing hazardous combustible fume levels in the excavation, plus typically $5-15/cy for clean fill backfilling when done. The disposal cost can run as low as $3 or as high as $20/cy for the hauling depending on distance and on whether the truck has to be watertight to keep the oil from leaking out, and disposal facility fees can run as low as around $5-10/cy and as high as $2000/cy - so potentially a vast range of potential costs.

Most residential oil tank cleanups run in the few thousand to $10,000 range because people (or the oil company) notice unusual fuel consumption rates so total leakage amount is limited, but there are ones that go over especially where there is a very slow leak for years so the loss is not noticed. If the oil is getting into potable water supplies - either groundwater or leaching to surface water, or into places like wildlife refuges or under other buildings, then the remediation costs can skyrocket.

Here is a link to a similar question that might be of interest, with some other related questions listed below it -

Also - go to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection website for many brochures and FAQ's on this problem and what homeowners should do about it. Be SURE your contractor is licensed and gets the proper permits, AND gets a rememdiation certificate when done BEFORE final payment, tp be able to prove you have NJDEP approval ofthe cleanup. Important for protection against claims against you by neighbors, and also your property will most likely have an UST leak report appended to the title, so you need to get the remediation signoff recorded with the title at the recorders office to prove at resale time that the problem was solved.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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