Hazardous waste buried on property under bank ownership

7 Replies

I have purchased a property from US Bank that while they owned it, they hired crews to remove of trash and debris.  One thing this crew did was bring in a backhoe, dig a large hole and put 55 gallon drums of car oil, transmissions and engines into the hole and covered.  There is a video of them doing this and eye witness.

What is my action of recourse?  I assume sue them for cost of clean up but could I also get additional funds from them?  Do you think it would go to court or would they try to settle out of court?

Concerned about fighting a large bank, but, I think I have a very good case!

Hi Jeffery,

Wow, how do you know the barrels contained (toxic) oil? How do you know the engines and transmissions are toxic?

Have you had a Phase 1 or 2 Environmental test done yet?

Just wondering, because of it is toxic this seems awful.

The previous owner of the home was there recording all of this.  He told me they buried 55 gallon drums of car oil, transmissions with fluid still in them and car engines with oil and anti-freeze.  I am no expert, but that sounds like hazardous waste to me, if nothing else, a very bad environmental issue as people in the area use shallow wells

I would talk to an attorney and get an affidavit from the eye witness. You will need an environmental report as mentioned. Also need to look through your contract and make sure nothing was disclosed to you in the fine print or you inadvertently agreed to future mitigation. Coincidentally, I just read a report earlier this week talking about the amount of trash and waste being brought in to South and the amounts that are already here. South Carolina, Gerogia, Alabama, and Mississippi were the main states outlined in the report. Frightening. My company has worked on several environmental clean up sites. We're working one now in Alabama. Good luck with your situation and let us know what you find out.

Clint

You purchased from the bank which means the previous owner had his property repossessed by the bank.  It is possible he is not an impartial witness.  He might be angry at the bank for repossessing his home, and angry at the new owner for enjoying his old home.

If you haven't seen the video, ask to view it.  Take a good long look at it and make certain that the burial is taking place at the property you own.  It's possible the previous owner is getting his "revenge" by getting you excited and filing suit against the bank -- just causing unnecessary grief for both you and the bank.  Check the time stamp on the video to make sure it was created between the time the property was repossessed and when you purchased it.

Even if it is, there is no way the previous owner could know what was buried, unless he was part of the crew doing the work.  Or unless he had those items stored at the site and he has personal knowledge of the contents.  In which case, he might be liable for not properly handling hazardous waste before the bank repossessed the property.  

Whatever the case, the first thing to do after viewing the video, is to determine if anything is actually buried on the property.  Hiring a lawyer seems a couple of steps away at this point.

You can get someone with a metal detector to check for buried tanks to verify too. Won't tell you what they are but it is a relatively cheap verification. Why did no one call when it was happening that doesn't make sense? 

The previous owner knows what was buried because he was on the neighboring property, just a few feet away while this all went on.  I will watch the video prior to going any further.  My questions was not so much "is this real" more like, assuming all facts are accurate, what is the process.  First I will contact a local attorney and follow his guidance.  If he says to dig it up, get a soil test, etc., I will do it.  Since it was just buried a month ago, I don't expect there to be much leakage, unless they damaged the 55 gallon drum.


Originally posted by @Randy E. :

You purchased from the bank which means the previous owner had his property repossessed by the bank.  It is possible he is not an impartial witness.  He might be angry at the bank for repossessing his home, and angry at the new owner for enjoying his old home.

If you haven't seen the video, ask to view it.  Take a good long look at it and make certain that the burial is taking place at the property you own.  It's possible the previous owner is getting his "revenge" by getting you excited and filing suit against the bank -- just causing unnecessary grief for both you and the bank.  Check the time stamp on the video to make sure it was created between the time the property was repossessed and when you purchased it.

Even if it is, there is no way the previous owner could know what was buried, unless he was part of the crew doing the work.  Or unless he had those items stored at the site and he has personal knowledge of the contents.  In which case, he might be liable for not properly handling hazardous waste before the bank repossessed the property.  

Whatever the case, the first thing to do after viewing the video, is to determine if anything is actually buried on the property.  Hiring a lawyer seems a couple of steps away at this point.