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Almost bought a house today then..toxic FAIL..

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Relic, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    Crazy stuff, check this out - we have been house hunting off and on for the past month or so. A few days ago, we found one online that we loved, price was cheap, it had 2 acres of ground backing up to state park, very rural, and a nice barn that I was going to turn into a studio. I went to see it this morning and it was love at first site. Even had a neat little stream running the length of the property.

    So, I saw a few little things that needed to be addressed - a loose hand railing here and there, a smoke detector needed in one room, a cracked window pane in another, just little stuff but stuff that here in Jersey may delay the process. This is all stuff that would be caught by a code inspector prior to sale.
    So, here's where it gets good - I did some background research, googled the address, + the area, added tag words like "crime", "floods" and found...........

    A friggen' bonified EPA superfund cleanup site within walking distance of the house, complete with contaminated soil and ground water.

    Now, here's what blows my mind - a county inspector goes through the home and makes sure that you have smoke detectors, GFI electrical outlets, no leaking pipes, etc etc etc and once it's clarified that it's all up to code, you can buy it.
    BUT, the county doesn't even mention or take into consideration at all that the property sits less than a mile away from a Superfund site that's contaminated water and soil for MILES around?? I may die slowly of cancer which is ok, but god forbid I fall down the steps from a loose railing?? What the heck is up with that?? I wouldn't even think that the house could be sold to begin with! Glad I found out about this before I bought it.
    I did some research and found out that there were some folks who bought houses in that same area completely unaware of the site. Crazy...

    Fassa, I'm catching up to you in threads full of woe, look out! :)p)
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I thought this thread was going to be about Chinese drywall.
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Wow. Good on you for doing the search. Scary, scary stuff.
  4. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    No kidding! You would have been in bad shape had you bought. Way to go.
  5. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    So help me god I was planning on making them a good offer tonight until I saw this.
    But the thing that bugs me is that there are several families that had NO idea about this and bought houses there...
    Given that a whole sale can be held up due to a broken pane of glass should the fact that the Superfund site is there have been pointed out to them?? It boggles my mind!
  6. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
  7. You should be able to get it REALLY cheap now.
  8. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Typically a home inspector, or even the county/local authority only looks at the STRUCTURAL integrity of the home.

    Location, or any other historical event near (or in) a home has nothing to do with habitability or whether a municipality considers it 'approved' for occupancy.

    You could write a purchase agreement based upon receiving a satisfactory report regarding water quality. That means, you'd end up spending additional dough to get the water tested.

    PS. A word of advice from this Realtor of 13 years: If you find the home you want. Along wth your home inspection, have the sewer line scoped as well to make sure there are no faults or breaks. Sewer lines are an expensive repair considering everyone expects them to work. Best to find out before you buy.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You said that it's NEAR a superfund site, not ON one.

    Whether there's actually risk in living there would depend on the cause of the superfund site designation, the materials which caused that designation, and whether there is any involvement with the water source for the home - which may or may not be the case. I'm not quite sure whether this is the case from your original post - although it sounds like it may be.

    Granted, this is reason to be very cautious and not to buy at this point - but it is worth finding out what the background of that site actually is. Some site issues are not hard to contain and may not have any impact on the home you found. If you already know, let us in on it. I'm curious.
  10. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
  11. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    I have some property in Love Canal with your name all over it.

    If you'd like to move to Washington State there is some prime real estate down wind of Hanford for sale; cheap.
  12. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Good you found out when you did.

    I figured you'd nearly bought a house that had toxic mold, but that's nearly as bad.

    I'm pretty sure when the real estate agent says "location, location, location," they're not promoting the proximity of a Superfund site. :eek:
  13. Nightlyraider


    Sep 30, 2009
    They won't tell you if the last owner was axe murdered in your bedroom if it makes you less likely to buy the home.

    Greed rules most the world
  14. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    When I bought my house in 2008, the mortgage company ran an environmental report on the property. My guess is that it would've raised a red flag and a disclosure of the Superfund site would've become part of the loan papers.

    I work in the environmental consulting business. How cheap and more importantly, where was the house relative to the Superfund site elevation-wise and was it upstream or downstream of the site?
  15. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I'd love to have a summer house in Beverly or Desert Aire.
    Beautiful place! Last stretch of wild river.

    But yeah, Hanford and Boardman, OR = not good. Lotsa hot slop.
  16. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Actually, they do...kind of. They have to disclose any deaths in the house within the past 3 years (in California at least).
  17. That be the important stuff right there. If you are seriously interested in the house, get an environmental assessment, and take the cost of that off your offering price if it passes to your standards. You don't want to pass up on a sweet place because it MIGHT be contaminated, you want to pass up on a sweet place if it IS contaminated.

  18. Oh yeah. The our rival high school from back in the day was located next to one of those. I've stood on top of it too.
  19. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    I will never have another house on a well. Not that they are all bad, but the one I had gave me the gift of iron. A special type of iron you can't get rid of with filters. HAHAHA wonderful. :rollno:
  20. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    Interesting development.. when I was researching this yesterday, I happened upon a guy's website who lives right in that area. He's a musician and luthier so I figured that I could maybe trust him to give me the real scoop on the property.
    Just got this back from him this morning:

    _property address here__ is only a few yards from the Crown Vantage Superfund site. It is directly behind your house, between you and the river. Just a few hundred yards north of you is the Crown Vantage Papermill, which has also been classified Superfund. About 1/8 mile south of you is a third site that should become Superfund.

    These are massive chemical dumps. Literally multiple soccer fields piled 30' deep with leaking chemical drums. Yes, they are leaking into the water...substantial runoff that is draining into the Delaware and the aquifers beneath the sites. My concern is the amount of rust in the runoff indicates the chemical drums from the 1970's are heavily corroded, and the worst of the chemical spillage is yet to come.

    Due to funding shortages, it may be a decade (or more) before these sites are cleaned up. They've been covering the site behind you with gravel and shoring up the river bank because the site's flooded twice in the past five years.

    The home you are looking at is in a beautiful location, but the soil may be contaminated. We have well water (310' deep) and there is a rock barrier between us and the Delaware flood plain where your house is located. Your well would need to be drilled at least as deep or on an angle to reach an uncontaminated aquifer.

    I think that it's safe to say that not only am I not going to buy this house, but I'll probably wash the freaking shoes I wore yesterday when viewing it so I don't track toxic doom into my present house.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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