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Re: Oil Leak

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In a message dated 97-09-25 10:49:13 EDT, Bruce Resnick writes:

<< <<... my friend just pulled an oil tank out from under a porch where
 we're building a bathroom and have discovered a fair bit of leakage.  The
 contractor's solution is to turn the ground over, spray some chemicals to
 take care of the odor and then seal the earth with plastic.  He assures me
 we'll never know it was there.    >>

In California,  you'd have to remediate the site and clean it up.  There is
an ethical burden to disclose the leak to the next buyers of the problem as

What is not stated here is the type of fuel ( bunker oil? ) and the levels
and depths of concentration.  If it goes deep enough to pollute your well or
the groundwater,  you should fix the problem by cleaning it up or by removing
the contaminated soil or else you will be drinking water with benezenes in it
with the potential of carcinogens.

Petroleum products are relatively easy contaminants to spot in the soils
because they are aromatic ( smell ) starting at levels of about 40-50 ppm.
 Regulators get concerned in California because it is definitely hazardous
over 1000 ppm.  Below 100 ppm in California,   if it does not pollute the
water table,  we generally let mother nature clean the soil itself over time.
  Between 100 and 1000,  it depends.  

Gasolines are easy to clean because you just turn the soils over and let the
fumes aerate out.  Diesels can aerate too,  but they are more difficult
because they tend to bond to the soil.  Special bio-techniques may be useful

More than 1000 ppm gas or oil,  you will definitely notice the odor and will
probably get headaches from the fumes and definitely need to remediate.   

Just my cents
Ronnie Fong
Fremont,  CA