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7/17/2017 · Environment
The tiny pinhole in the pipe elbow probably took more than twenty years to form and cause a leak, a day or two to be discovered, and less than an hour to be repaired. This recent claim involving corrosion of a pipe elbow on a home heating oil tank resulted in a very minor release of a few gallons of heating oil to the surrounding surface soil. The insured acted appropriately, the release was quickly investigated and repaired. Based on the size of the tank and volume of the release, state regulations did not apply; however, local regulators became concerned over the possibility of impact to shallow groundwater in the area. Although the shallow aquifer was not considered a source of drinking water, it was used extensively for irrigation. Furthermore, the property owner soon began to notice petroleum like odors inside the home/office necessitating relocation for a couple of days. After the repair of the leak, the situation was completely resolved in a few weeks with the excavation and removal of impacted soil from beneath a patio and a portion of the building adjoining the point of release. Fortunately, the release was discovered early, quickly repaired, and the volume of the spill was not sufficient to impact groundwater, which could have easily transported contaminants and associated vapors well beyond the boundaries of the insured's property.