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  #1  
Old 06-02-2010, 06:16 AM
broughtv broughtv is offline
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There's a car buried in my back yard!

I am within days of closing on my home and the owners have been so gratious as to let me rent while the paperwork is completed and closing is accomplished. I have had visits from 3 different neighbors, at 3 different times and each has told me of the current owner's activities. He had quite an automotive junkyard here as is told, and there are car parts buried in the side yard. We have been cleaning up a burn pile of his where we have retrieved several small auto parts and what appears to be asbestos shingles.

Yesturday, the next door neighbor paid us a visit and informed us that there is a 1924 Ford buried in the back yard. It has cost me so much to move into this house, but I fear I am looking at an environmental nightmare. Furthermore, I received the disclosure and he has clearly marked "no" under environmental items buried or covered.

Anyone know what to do? I live in South Carolina.
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:07 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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First, run, do not walk, to the nearest lawyer's office. If you have one retained for the closing, use him. This is a case where you need one; "saving money" by not consulting one would be like saving money by failing to do needed maintenance on the giant boiler in your basement that you expect to depend on for heat.

Have him consult with the EPA and the state DHEC. Depending on the results of those inquiries, be prepared to institute suit against your "gracious" landlord/sellor. If there are in fact buried automobiles or parts, that "No" on the disclosure is clear evidence of attempted fraud. And with you having run up expenses to buy and move into your (prospective) house, he can probably be compelled to reimburse you for what you've paid out in consequence.

IANAL; this isn't legal advice. It's possible I'm all wet and talking through my hat. That's why I said, "Get a lawyer!"
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:13 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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A 1924 Ford? The violin case full of $50 bills in the trunk ought to cover the clean-up fees.
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:17 AM
campp campp is offline
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Well, is a buried car a big deal? I'm just offering the other side... I'd just roll with it if you like the property.

It is sketchy since the disclosure is in place, I agree. Maybe the neighbor is wrong or has an axe to grind?
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:28 AM
Khendrask Khendrask is offline
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Originally Posted by campp View Post
Well, is a buried car a big deal? I'm just offering the other side... I'd just roll with it if you like the property.

It is sketchy since the disclosure is in place, I agree. Maybe the neighbor is wrong or has an axe to grind?
A buried (any trash) is a big deal, yes. A buried car is even worse, if it was buried with fluids in it.

After contacting your lawyer (to broughtv), I'd strongly also suggest taking some soil samples around the property, and having them analyzed. Since you are in SC here, Clemson University Agricultural Extension Services will perform a soil analysis for a very small fee. Let them know that you are worried about contaminants, such as oils and asbestos.

Catch it as early as you can, because remediation of soil contaminants gets very expensive, very quickly.

ETA - Another worry about contaminants would be if you are on well water. I don't know where in the state you are, but down here by me, the wells are very shallow. My suction line is at all of 35 feet or so deep, and I have water 15 feet deep. You don't want nasties getting into your water supply!

Last edited by Khendrask; 06-02-2010 at 07:29 AM..
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:50 AM
robby robby is offline
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Originally Posted by Khendrask View Post
...After contacting your lawyer (to broughtv), I'd strongly also suggest taking some soil samples around the property, and having them analyzed. Since you are in SC here, Clemson University Agricultural Extension Services will perform a soil analysis for a very small fee. Let them know that you are worried about contaminants, such as oils and asbestos.
I've never heard of any agricultural extension that will test for contaminants. An agricultural extension soil test generally only tests for nutrients.

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Originally Posted by Khendrask View Post
...Catch it as early as you can, because remediation of soil contaminants gets very expensive, very quickly.
Absolutely.

As an environmental professional, based on what you have described, I would personally cancel this sale and consult an attorney. You are walking into a potential minefield here. (Note that you are not my client; I am not familiar with the specifics of this site, nor am I familiar with the environmental laws of your state.)

I have actually investigated and overseen the remediation of small automotive repair sites and auto body shops in other states. A complete sequence of environmental site assessments, including soil and groundwater sampling, easily gets into the tens of thousands of dollars. Depending on what is found, remediation costs go up from there. I had a one-acre automotive repair site a couple of years ago in which remediation costs got into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, due to several leaking underground storage tanks. Our initial site assessment identified over 12 areas of concern (AOCs), all of which has to be investigated and dealt with. You've already mentioned four AOCs in your initial post (the buried car, buried car parts, burn pile, and asbestos shingles).
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:05 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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get a metal detector and scan the yard. see if the neighbor might be telling the truth.

if it seems there is metal buried don't bother closing the deal, you don't have to do any other tests. it is cheaper just moving.

you will has metal in the way of planting bushes or any other digging even if it isn't a major environmental problem. if he buried car parts then likely it might have been used for general garbage that will also be in the way and work its way to the surface.
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  #8  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:14 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Here's a thread - with pics - from another forum I frequent, where a guy dug up a Model A he found buried on his property. According to several posters, it sounds as tho simply buying unwanted vehicles is not at all uncommon.
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:19 AM
Kiber Kiber is online now
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This is a residential property, right? I ask because many states have exceptions for the remediation requirements of residential properties. So - while a business will typically be on the hook for any remediation for asbestos, heavy metals, etc. - residential properties often do not have the same requirements. If the former resident actually operated a business from the site - then the liability would probably go back to him. If he did not, then there may not be much legal liability since it may fall under residential exemptions. All of this is very site-specific, however - so you need to check with your lawyer.

Despite the liability issues which your lawyer should be able to help with, there are still potential hazards from a health and environment standpoint that you should clearly investigate as well. Do you have kids? One of the most common contaminants from junk-yard activities is lead. Lead bioaccumulates and can be quite toxic if ingested, and kids like to eat it - so I would be careful. Pets can be at risk as well. There are also plenty of volatile organics and acids that could be involved as well.

As others have wisely suggested - talk to your lawyer about this.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:09 AM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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My guess is that a buried car will sooner or later rust away and leave a large void.
The soil above the car will then fall into the void leaving a possibly large sinkhole.
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  #11  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:21 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Are you sure the car is... unoccupied?
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  #12  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:24 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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You think you only have one car buried, and you have no idea what else might be down there, nor do you have any idea of the possible effects or cost of clear up.
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  #13  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:47 AM
Twoflower Twoflower is online now
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As another environmental professional, I agree completely with robby. While it's true that your liability may be limited by it being residential, do you really want to live on a toxic waste dump? And it's not like you're going to be able to resell the property when the time comes, either.

You already know this guy was willing to illegally dispose of hazardous materials on his property, create more hazards on the process (that burn pile is probably full of carcinogens), and lie about it on the disclosure form.

Run away! It would be good if you can get him to reimburse your costs, but if not, consider the whole thing a bullet dodged.
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  #14  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:01 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Wasn't there a Garrison Keilor story about the guy that had a car buried in his back yard? IIRC it was put there as a septic tank, and eventually needed to be removed. The owner figured that out when he put a ladder against the house, and as he started climbing found he was going down not up.

So one long weekend he borrowed the equipment, dug it up and loaded it on his flatbed trailer. he was taking it to the dump, but had to go through town. Unfortunately he had forgotten this was the local Memorial Day and found himself face-to-face with the parade, hauling a car-load of septic tank contents, unable to back up while the parade floats were too traffic-jammed to back up either...

His daughter, the parade queen on the lead float, was even more mortified...

Only Garrison can tell it so well.


So - what's inside your car? I would check the neighbour's story first. It takes a LOT of effort to bury an older car; dig a 7 foot hole bigger than the car, then what - flip it in? Roll it in without jamming it needs a heck of a ramp. If it's more than 2 feet down the guy sure put a lot of effort into it, more than I would have; it had to be cheaper and easier to just haul it to the dump.

How much pollution are you going to get from one junker, vs some backyard mechanic who probably just dumped the oil from frequent oil cjhanges onto the earth? One leaky parked car could probably do as much damage over a year or two...

The biggest expense will be hauling it out if that is true, especially if the access to the back yard is difficult for big equipment...

I'd be a LOT more worried about those asbestos tiles.
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  #15  
Old 06-02-2010, 12:22 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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As a gardener, I wouldn't buy a house with a yard like that. I'd go find one that isn't a toxic waste dump.
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  #16  
Old 06-02-2010, 12:26 PM
Jettboy Jettboy is offline
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There's a car buried in your yard AND you're in South Carolina?! Man, that's a double whammy...
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  #17  
Old 06-02-2010, 02:01 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Dude, here in SC they're giving away houses. They're throwing them through your car window along with your USC diploma if you drive through campus too slowly. Why buy a toxic one?
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  #18  
Old 06-02-2010, 07:39 PM
runcible spoon runcible spoon is offline
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Dude, here in SC they're giving away houses. They're throwing them through your car window along with your USC diploma if you drive through campus too slowly. Why buy a toxic one?
Duh, they can't throw anything through his car window until he unearths it.
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  #19  
Old 06-02-2010, 08:10 PM
Joanie Joanie is offline
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I think the most important thing you need to do is to consult an "expert" about how much danger the contents of cars buried underground pose to the environment.

The following post is just "my guess". I know a little bit about cars but I don't really know anything about the dangers to the environment posed by the contents of cars buried in the ground. I have worked on cars for many years and know the kinds of fluids they contain. But you need to know exactly how dangerous these fluids are to the environment and exactly how much of these fluids are contained in a car buried underground.

I would try to determine if there are any harmful solvents in the car. If so, I would try to remove them. These include:

1) gasoline in the gas tank
2) oil in the crank case
3) differential oil in the differential
4) transmission oil in the transmission
5) radiator fluid contained in the radiator
6) brake fluid in the brake fluid chamber
7) power steering fluid in the power steering fluid chamber
8) battery acid in the battery

I'm pretty sure there are some other kinds of fluids that are found in junk cars. I started this list so that other people could contribute other kinds of fluids to help you check for them and remove them. Accessing the car is the hard part. If you can access the car, then removing these fluids is not very difficult. But you should probably try to get an idea of just how harmful these fluids are and how much of these fluids are usually found in a derelict car. Depending on where the cars are buried and how close they are to ground water, I would be mostly concerned with any oil in the car.

Also, you should know that if a car is an automatic, it will have automatic transmission fluid, but it will not have a standard transmission and thus will not have any oil in a standard transimission. Likewise, if it does not have power steering, you will not have to worry about any power steering fluid. Similarly, if it is air cooled, it will not have a radiator and so you won't need to worry about any fluid in the radiator. There are likewise other obvious conclusions like those that you can make.

I'd guess that some of these fluids can be extremely dangerous if they get into your drinkinking water supply and so, I would definitely advise you consult with an environmental expert about that. I don't think you can afford to let any of this stuff contaminate your drinking water supply.

Good Luck!

Last edited by Joanie; 06-02-2010 at 08:12 PM..
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  #20  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:39 PM
Rand Rover Rand Rover is offline
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If I were you, I wouldn't think this is a big deal at all, even if the neighbor is telling the truth. Hey--free car!

Toxic waste dump? Come on, people.
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  #21  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:45 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
Toxic waste dump? Come on, people.
What of these do you not consider to be toxic waste?
  • Gasoline
  • Oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
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  #22  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:48 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
If I were you, I wouldn't think this is a big deal at all, even if the neighbor is telling the truth. Hey--free car!

Toxic waste dump? Come on, people.
If the house was built before the mid 70's then all the ground surrounding it is probably got lead in it. I'd be more worried about the ground sinking as it rusts out and collapses. If the house has a well that might be a consideration.
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  #23  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:51 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
What of these do you not consider to be toxic waste?
  • Gasoline
  • Oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
unless the water table is 2 inches below the ground all that stuff is heading south. Bad for wells, non-existent to everything above. Also, I'm guessing the car sat around for decades in a disassembled state so there won't be gasoline or radiator fluid left. It was probably an empty hull with an axle.

Last edited by Magiver; 06-02-2010 at 10:54 PM..
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  #24  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:57 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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unless the water table is 2 inches below the ground all that stuff is heading south.
I'm unclear as to why allowing the above into the water table at any height in a populated area is a good thing. Regardless, are you saying that they will leave no soil contamination at all? That they will simply seep away?
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  #25  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:59 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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The more I think about it I question the validity of the idea it was buried. Unless it was driven into a pond that was filled in nobody is going to dig a hole big enough for a car and bury it when it is easier to tow it to a scrap yard.
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  #26  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:00 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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Also, I'm guessing the car sat around for decades in a disassembled state so there won't be gasoline or radiator fluid left. It was probably an empty hull with an axle.
Possibly so. Any good reason the OP shouldn't still be concerned and shouldn't follow up on that concern? After all, he already has evidence in the way of (undefined) auto parts being retrieved from a burn pile. Were it me, I'd sure want to investigate further.
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  #27  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:10 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I'm unclear as to why allowing the above into the water table at any height in a populated area is a good thing. Regardless, are you saying that they will leave no soil contamination at all? That they will simply seep away?
When I was a kid the local garbage company dumped trash in a pit on land owned by the developer. Years later he built houses on it. Even as a kid I shook my head knowing the ground would sink. It did. Can't even imagine what chemicals are seeping down into ground. It's not the homeowner's problem if it seeps down, it's everybody with a well.

This brings up any legal considerations of contamination that could be transferred with title but I'm not a lawyer.

Last edited by Magiver; 06-02-2010 at 11:11 PM..
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  #28  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:12 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Possibly so. Any good reason the OP shouldn't still be concerned and shouldn't follow up on that concern? After all, he already has evidence in the way of (undefined) auto parts being retrieved from a burn pile. Were it me, I'd sure want to investigate further.
In retrospect I agree. I'd be asking for more detail from the neighbors. He may have been dumping everything on the ground. God knows what the city/county would require if it's tested and they demand it be cleaned up. It's a sleeping dog that could cost a lot of money if disturbed.

Last edited by Magiver; 06-02-2010 at 11:13 PM..
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  #29  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:17 PM
Twoflower Twoflower is online now
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It's one thing if it's just a car. But car parts in a burn pile, buried asbestos shingles, etc., is evidence of a pattern of abuse of the property. It might not add up to a toxic waste dump, but it's certainly a risk.

Regardless of whether that bothers you or not, this property is not worth what you've agreed to pay for it, assuming you're paying fair market value for what you thought was a clean property. If you really want to buy it, insist on having it evaluated by an environmental professional, at the seller's expense. Then re-nogotiate the price based on the findings.
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  #30  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:23 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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It's a sleeping dog that could cost a lot of money if disturbed.
Absolutely agreed. It may, in fact, be nothing. Before I bought the property I'd want to be pretty sure of that.
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  #31  
Old 06-02-2010, 11:53 PM
astro astro is offline
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I sell commerical real estate for a living and have dealt with many contaminated sites. You did not say how long the neighbor said it had been buried. In practical terms a car buried for over half a century is unlikely to present much of an active environmental hazard. Fluids and solvents will (in most cases) have long since degraded to less volatile and dangerous components. If the burial took place much more recently that equation could change substantially.

Having said this I would blow out of this deal as fast as humanly possible. The main risk for you is not the current operational danger of the buried car, but the legal impact of the fact that a car is buried onsite, and if you decide to close on the property knowing this, at whatever future point you, or your heirs, try to sell the property this will be a huge impediment to transferring it, and will likely impact value as well.

Digging it up and certifying the burial site as clean is going to be a hell of an expensive proposition and will be far more time consuming than you think. All this assumes that it is unlikely to come back as actively contaminated. If it does a whole new can of worms is opened.

A car buried in the backyard is a legal nuke. Run away and get your deposit back if you cannot be guaranteed there is no car.

Last edited by astro; 06-02-2010 at 11:56 PM..
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  #32  
Old 06-03-2010, 12:02 AM
astro astro is offline
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My last post assumed an intact gas tank and crankcase and transmission. If it's just body parts that's much less of a hazard. Even so, if there are buried parts throughout the property it could still present a liability nightmare in the future.

IMO pre- occupancy is hazardous on both sides of the buyer-seller equation. This scenario is perfect illustration of why that is. I always tell my sellers not to agree to it.

Last edited by astro; 06-03-2010 at 12:05 AM..
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  #33  
Old 06-03-2010, 02:13 AM
Napier Napier is online now
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I think you need real lawyering fast, and on the basis of just a little info think I'd cancel or postpone the sale if you couldn't get legal advice fast enough.

It doesn't take much to cause an expensive groundwater pollution problem, and there is much uncertainty to deal with too. I do think, though, that asbestos buried there isn't scary, as asbestos occurs naturally underground in the first place - that's where it all comes from. Asbestos is bad because we dig it up. But that's just my thought, you should get professional advice on all counts.

You should find internet sites that sell old aerial photos and see for yourself what the place looked like in past years, to help clarify the size of the possible problem.

Finally, I worked on some gasoline remediation sites about 15 or 20 years ago and was amazed to learn that Maryland law, at least then, allowed sellers to knowingly hide underground contamination problems without repercussion. The responsibility goes to the new owners and to others geographically nearby who the courts consider have lots of money available. I was getting advice from lawyers and business people as a participant in a research project, and don't feel competent about this or understand the details (for example why the law would operate in such a bizarre way by seemingly endorsing fraud), but certainly want to raise a warning.
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  #34  
Old 06-03-2010, 09:44 AM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
When I was a kid the local garbage company dumped trash in a pit on land owned by the developer. Years later he built houses on it. Even as a kid I shook my head knowing the ground would sink. It did. Can't even imagine what chemicals are seeping down into ground. It's not the homeowner's problem if it seeps down, it's everybody with a well.

...
You sure that wasn't an old Indian burial ground?
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  #35  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:27 AM
robby robby is offline
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Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
If I were you, I wouldn't think this is a big deal at all, even if the neighbor is telling the truth. Hey--free car!

Toxic waste dump? Come on, people.
Anybody who would bury a car and car parts, asbestos shingles, etc. is exactly the kind of person who could create their own little hazardous waste dump. These are the kind of people who pour motor oil and antifreeze on the ground, and paint thinner down the sink.

As I mentioned earlier, I actually remediated a little auto body shop. The site did not look particularly contaminated--it just looked at little bit junky. There were several abandoned cars, a bunch of abandoned car batteries, and a buried gasoline tank and a waste oil tank. However, the batteries had all corroded and contaminated the surrounding soil with lead residue. The underground storage tanks had minor leaks which were easily remediated, but we still had to excavate and remove the tanks, then thoroughly test and analyze the soil from the tank graves. The owner had poured paint solvents down his sink drains, which led to his septic tank, which contaminated the surrounding soil with VOCs (volatile organic compounds). (You can only imagine how much fun it is sampling a septic tank and leach field.)

Because of all of the contamination, we ended up having to remove and dispose of over 800 tons of contaminated soil from the 1-acre site. Groundwater monitoring wells then had to be installed, and in Connecticut, sampled quarterly for years after remediation.

The last time I checked, cleanup costs had passed the half-million dollar mark. The owner got off scot-free because the purchaser agreed to take on all of the cleanup costs as part of the sale of the property. (The purchaser was a developer who wanted to put in a chain pharmacy store.)

This was not an unusual site--just an old auto body shop owned by someone with poor housekeeping practices.

So anyway, I disagree that a "free car" makes up for all of the potential liability the potential purchaser of the subject property is looking at.
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  #36  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:36 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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The more I think about it I question the validity of the idea it was buried. Unless it was driven into a pond that was filled in nobody is going to dig a hole big enough for a car and bury it when it is easier to tow it to a scrap yard.
That was my thought. How do you get a car into a hole without digging a ramp (meaning a helluva big hole!). Pushing it in would leave it stuck at an angle with the trunk in the air or something, I doubt he had the winch and frame or heavy equipment to lower it in straight. Dib this guy also own a big shovel, a loader or something? Those old cars were tall; you need a hole more than 10 by 15 by 7 feet deep. Plus ramp...

First thing I'd do is a metal detector survey. Ask the neighbour where abouts the car should be. Maybe he just meant there's enough parts buried around there to make a whole car. Maybe he's pulling your leg.

As for the pollution, unless it was an art project, the thing was probably pretty much drained by the time he disposed of it.

Plus - anyone here know any backyard mechanics from the good old days? All the used oil went into a corner of the back yard, or got poured down the storm sewer . If it's a gravel driveway, it's probably thick oil underneath from leaks. Plus, half the neighbours probably did the same. As I said before, one old car will be the least of the problems.
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  #37  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:44 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Wile E View Post
You sure that wasn't an old Indian burial ground?
It was probably that too but when I was a kid it was farm land complete with a couple of ponds. I don't remember if it was a ravine or an old quarry but I do remember the location. There was a creek that drained into the runoff sewer which is now gone so any seepage is now confined to the original dump area.
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  #38  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:45 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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That was my thought. How do you get a car into a hole without digging a ramp (meaning a helluva big hole!). Pushing it in would leave it stuck at an angle with the trunk in the air or something,
Don't ask - I grew up in a rural area and quite a few years back.

You push the back end in first and then use a couple trees/logs to make a sort of A-frame and sling it back petard-style fixing the ropes the "high side of center balance". I can do it better than I can explain it. Since all the weight is "up in the air" it sort of helps force the back end, and everything else, into position. I don't know any hard facts but most cars I have heard of being buried were sans motor or at least the vast majority of it.
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  #39  
Old 06-03-2010, 01:49 PM
robby robby is offline
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...Plus - anyone here know any backyard mechanics from the good old days? All the used oil went into a corner of the back yard, or got poured down the storm sewer . If it's a gravel driveway, it's probably thick oil underneath from leaks. Plus, half the neighbours probably did the same. As I said before, one old car will be the least of the problems.
The practices of the "good old days" is what keeps environmental professionals employed today.

Also, I'm sure everyone here realizes that anything poured into a storm sewer ends up in the nearest brook or stream.

There was actually a guy in my neighborhood who was operating an oil-change change business out of his parent's driveway. His method of draining the oil from the cars was to use a kid's swimming pool with a hole in it that was positioned over the catch basin in the street. I called the authorities on him, and he got to pay the remediation costs of the catch basin and the brook, plus he was fined. He reportedly thought that oil went to the sewage treatment plant (which is also illegal). However, my neighborhood didn't even have sanitary sewers. Everyone was on well water and septic systems.

Last edited by robby; 06-03-2010 at 01:49 PM..
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  #40  
Old 06-03-2010, 03:58 PM
Mavis Topholese Mavis Topholese is offline
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There's a friend of mine who lives way out in the sticks with a car buried in his parents' front yard. Well, it used to be way out in the sticks, now it's suburbia. The house wasn't built as part of a subdivision, just former farmland turned into single lots sometime in the 60s. I guess they needed fill for a gully or something and hey, nobody's looking, just cover it with some fill dirt, nobody will know!

20 years later the car slowly rises from its grave....

Actually there's another friend with a house on a cul-de-sac, if you peer over the curb at the end of the road, you'll see the hood of a car emerging from the scrub.

This is in GA, right next door to SC.
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  #41  
Old 06-04-2010, 02:40 AM
Voluble Voluble is offline
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The danger you face isn't from the environment but from the government. Nothing that guy did to the yard is likely to harm you or anyone else. People pour worse stuff in their yards all of the time. Things leak or someone changes their oil. Most people I know just dump the old oil in their backyards. This is normal behavior everywhere... regardless of what the laws say. I bet you get more "toxic" run-off from the street in front of your house than what is in that car.

But what the government may do to you is an entirely different story. They can harm you in ways you can't begin to imagine if some busybody decides to tell on you and your jurisdiction is a restrictive one. Your neighbors obviously know and they are obviously busybodies if they are still minding the last guy's business even after he is gone. So... dump the dump.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:55 PM
astro astro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voluble View Post
The danger you face isn't from the environment but from the government. Nothing that guy did to the yard is likely to harm you or anyone else. People pour worse stuff in their yards all of the time. Things leak or someone changes their oil. Most people I know just dump the old oil in their backyards. This is normal behavior everywhere... regardless of what the laws say. I bet you get more "toxic" run-off from the street in front of your house than what is in that car.

But what the government may do to you is an entirely different story. They can harm you in ways you can't begin to imagine if some busybody decides to tell on you and your jurisdiction is a restrictive one. Your neighbors obviously know and they are obviously busybodies if they are still minding the last guy's business even after he is gone. So... dump the dump.
This causal attitude only works if you are on municipal water and sewer. If you are on a well you will be drinking that crap at some point in time.
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  #43  
Old 06-04-2010, 01:32 PM
robby robby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voluble View Post
...Nothing that guy did to the yard is likely to harm you or anyone else.
On what do you base this on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voluble View Post
People pour worse stuff in their yards all of the time. Things leak or someone changes their oil. Most people I know just dump the old oil in their backyards. This is normal behavior everywhere... regardless of what the laws say.
Yes, and it was normal behavior in the past to dump human waste out of windows. It doesn't make it right, nor is it good for the environment or human health.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voluble View Post
I bet you get more "toxic" run-off from the street in front of your house than what is in that car.
Actually, you're not too far off here. I actually wrote my master's thesis on the environmental effects of roadway runoff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voluble View Post
But what the government may do to you is an entirely different story. They can harm you in ways you can't begin to imagine if some busybody decides to tell on you and your jurisdiction is a restrictive one.
And rightly so, IMHO. Despite my otherwise conservative tendencies (particularly in fiscal matters), environmental regulation is one of those areas in which I think that government need to be involved in, because those who pollute (individuals and companies) are so insulated from the consequences of their actions.

People like you and your neighbors dump oil or other hazardous waste in your backyards, but your other neighbors with drinking water wells downgradient from you deal with the consequences. Oh, and hopefully nobody lets their child play in your backyard for the next few decades. I trust that you will inform any potential buyers of your property know about the pollution in your backyard?
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