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Question DetailsAsked on 10/24/2017

My basement has a kerosene oil smell.

We had our cement front porch removed and had a new cement porch poured, the oil smell is not coming out of the drains. The kerosene/ blacktop smell is very strong. We do not have a sup pump. The smell is seeping thew the walls of the basement

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1 Answer


Sounds like:

0) they use a bitumastic sealant on the foundation before putting the concrete porch/stoop in (a good measure, though rarely done) and that is what you are smelling. Or could be an asphaltic waterstop between the porch and the foundation wall - comes in a strip of gooey asphaltic compound which the concrete is poured agaisnt and keeps dirt and water out of the crack between foundation and porch. Also comes in the form of asphalt-impregnated fiberboard as a compressible joint filler.

1) they broke into a fuel oil line or tank doing the work, which is not leaking against/near the foundation, causing the odor (and soil contamination)

2) there was previous contamination by oil there which has been disturbed and exposed so is creating strong odor

3) it is totally coincidental that the odor occurred right after the concrete work, and you have a fuel oil leak (assuming you have a fuel oil tank in your yard) - or remotely possibly, a neighbor's tank has a leak that has made it to your yard - or if you have an oil tank, the vent is not working right so fumes are not venting high enough to avoid the house.

Ask the porch contractor if he put any sort of asphaltic sealant or waterstop or joint filler - also if during the prep work they smelled oil smell. Alos if they use any sort of diesel-fueled equiment near the house which maybe spilled some diesel (basically same fuel as kerosene - most people cannot tell the difference in the smells).

If not from the concrete work (which if it were, should have same smell right around the porch area), then you need to start looking for an oil leak. Can be done by excavation, but usually by calling the oil supplier (if you lease the tank from them) or by an Environmental Engineering firm which will drive soil probes into the ground and then put a vacuum pump on it to extract air from the soil - testing what fuel chemicals are in the soil.

If you do not have heating oil service - check if your state has a buried fuel tank directory listing a tank at your house - or if not, check your house purchase disclosure statement for any mention of fuel oil tank (mandatory disclosure in most areas), or if not contact local fuel oil suppliers to check if they show sale/lease of a tank or fuel deliveries to your address in the past.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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