ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION FAQs
Listed below are some of the commonly asked questions we hear from clients. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the list of Environmental Remediation FAQs, please give us a call at 1-800-673-7830.
- How much does it cost?
- How much does it cost to remove an underground storage tank at my house?
- How do I find a good company I can trust?
- Does EMG accept credit cards?
- Does EMG accept PayPal payments?
- How long does it take to schedule a job?
- Does EMG provide references?
- Will the estimate be the actual cost?
- How can I find the best environmental consulting and remediation companies?
How much does it cost?
This is by far the most often asked question we hear. Unfortunately, there are no “cookie cutter” price lists in environmental remediation. Each site, each challenge, is different. Anyone who will tell you otherwise is being unfair (at best) or scamming you (at worst). The Washington State Department of Ecology provides a report on How to Select an Environmental Consulting Firm. The general guidelines provide useful information on selecting a reputable company and explains why there can be challenges in accurately and responsibly estimating total costs early in an environmental cleanup project. The good news: EMG Remediation Services has been providing environmental remediation services for more than 25 years. We know what we’re doing and can provide you the best possible outcome. No matter the circumstances of your site, we will work as your advocate.
How much does it cost to remove an underground storage tank at my house?
We remove about 200 residential USTs per year all over the Delaware Valley. In our experience, most standard residential tanks can be removed for $1,500-2,500. That range covers a typical 500-gallon storage tank with reasonable site access, no contents, no contamination, and includes permits, disposal, manifests, and a closure report. You may wonder if it’s so straight forward, why is there such variation in prices and proposals? Budget problems arise from the unknown variables: additional testing, tank location, tank size and shape, excavation depth, leakage, soil and/or groundwater infiltration, residual product, foundation shoring, monitoring systems…. These variables can add tens of thousands of dollars to a project’s costs. This understandably creates tremendous uncertainty- and stress! To limit those unknown factors, EMG provides an onsite investigation prior to submitting a proposal and evaluates the site for potential complications BEFORE the work begins.
How do I find a good company I can trust?
Whether a client is removing an underground storage tank, trying to determine a contamination source, or looking for disposal services, finding an affordable AND reliable solution can seem difficult. How do you know which one is the best option for your needs?
- Get more than one estimate OR a referral from a friend who has used the contractor.
- Look for a site-specific proposal that responds to your needs and lists both expected costs and unit costs. A generic, boiler-plate proposal with only unit costs can be misleading.
- Compare – line for line- what work will be done and for what price. Don’t cut corners. Use the company that understands your site, your situation, and the outcome you want.
- Only consider legitimate, licensed and insured remediation firms and tank removers. Cheap can be tempting, but you may regret the decision when you enter any real-estate transaction. For example, buyers, banks and lenders require chain of custody forms and certified disposal manifests to verify proper tank removals. Townships and municipalities require permits. Plan to have the work done right the first time.
- Choose a company that has been in business for an extended time and can demonstrate a track record of experienced, dependable, and professional service.
Does EMG accept credit cards?
Yes, EMG is Customer Friendly. We do all we can to accommodate your busy schedule and make using our services convenient. Because of security issues with data base breaches and mobile applications, we ask that you call our office to submit credit card payments. Our billing office will collect and submit encrypted information to the secure credit card server and will provide you an e-mail receipt. We do not record or store in our systems any personal financial information like credit card numbers or bank account information. There is a service fee charged by credit card companies that is passed on to customers.
Does EMG accept PayPal payments?
Yes. If you are unfamiliar with PayPal, simply call the office and our billing personnel will walk you through the process.
How long does it take to schedule a job?
Once we received a signed contract, jobs are typically started within five to ten business days. Certain jobs require permit approvals or mandatory notification periods for federal, state or local agencies prior to initiating work. If this applies to your site, EMG will communicate that information in the proposal contract. As soon as all necessary permits and notifications are complete, we will schedule a start date that is convenient for you.
Does EMG provide references?
Yes. We do not post our client list or our clients’ names on the website to protect their privacy. If you would like to speak with one of our satisfied customers, please let us know, and we will provide a like-service client who would be happy to tell you about their experience with us.
Will the estimate be the actual cost?
We all want to know the bottom line: How much will it actually cost to have the job completely finished and clear of all environmental contamination issues. In the industry this often referred to as a “not to exceed” bid. In general, environmental companies do not provide “not to exceed” numbers because there are so many variables that can effect the final costs. Many times estimates include a baseline cost and then additional unit costs (Ex: cost/ton of contaminated soil disposal). Read contracts very carefully when comparing quotes. If it seems too good to be true, often times it is.
Why is it so hard to get an average cost? In a word: expectations. Very few clients or jobs are “average.” Average numbers and ranges are typically too high or too low. If an environmental company errs on the side of caution and lists a higher-end cost for a project, it scares people. If they list the lower-end, it creates unrealistic expectations and unhappy customers.
Aside from routine services, many times there are too many “unknowns” to generate a guaranteed cost for every site. There are general ranges associated with services, testing, analysis, remediation, and disposal. To what extent each of those aspects is required varies greatly from one project to another. Here’s an example:
Service: Remove a residential underground storage tank
What’s typically known before work starts:
- Tank location
- Estimated tank size
- Site layout
- Access issues
- Anticipated restoration needs (landscaping etc.)
- Equipment required on-site
- Soil type in the area
- Permit costs, lab fees, estimated fill-material costs….
What’s NOT known before work starts:
- Exactly tank contents: gallons of fuel oil, versus water, versus a mixture of both water and product…
- Does the tank leak? (Soil boring samples can help determine this before work starts.)
- If tank leaks, how much product leaked and for what period of time?
- If tank leaks, how many tons of contaminated soil will need to be excavated?
- Is there impact on groundwater, steams, waterways…?
- Is the contamination actually coming from a different site?
- Has the site contamination migrated to an adjoining property?
The good news:
EMG Remediation Services has been providing environmental remediation services for more than 25 years. We have EARNED our reputation as a professional, reliable environmental remediation contractor. With all those years of working in the Tri-state region, EMG is able to “ballpark” many jobs once some general information is obtained. How? We have a good idea of the conditions of the soil type, groundwater level, and gradient of your site because we have probably done work in your neighborhood.
How can I find the best environmental consulting and remediation companies?
- Face-to-Face meeting before work starts
- Site-specific proposal
EMG has been serving the tri-state area for more than 25-years with environmental consulting and remediation services. We have seen the worst and the best. There are many capable consultants and contractors. We are friends with many of them.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Only accept proposals from companies that come to see your site BEFORE they give you a quote. If at all possible, meet a company representative face-to-face and explain your specific concerns and expectations.
- Only use companies that are fully insured and hold certifications (if available) in the service you are requesting. Government-issued, regulatory-agency certifications are best. However, know that services like mold remediation have no standard licensing or certifications (yet). Environmental companies may pay to be listed with trade associations but their certificates are not recognized by regulatory agencies like the EPA, DEP, or OSHA. (EPA- Environmental Protection Agency, DEP- Department of Environmental Protection, OSHA– Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
- Use a company who has been in the environmental business for several years and can provide a track record of reputable service.