Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | October 7, 2011

The Pit of Despair

Our backyard is now a hazmat site. Yesterday, a nice man named Chuck came with two helper guys (never found out their names) and dug up the old oil tank that was there. Ten years ago, we switched over from oil to natural gas and, being the responsible citizens we are, got the oil tank emptied, cleaned and certified and filled. Should have been fine. When Chuck and his guys dug up the tank, it became clear that sometime in the past it had leaked. My first reaction was an emphatic, oh shit. My second, shamefully enough, was let’s just shovel all the dirt back in the hole and pretend it didn’t happen. I stomped on that one fairly quickly, knowing how incredibly pissed I get at companies who have done that very thing, and Bettied-up.

From the small test hole that Chuck dug to get an idea of how far the oil has spread, it appears that it has affected the groundwater, which, oddly enough is a good thing. While it’s definitely bad that it is affecting the groundwater, because seems that it is, it would mean that the insurance would cover the clean-up. A fact I did not know before, but now do is: The State of New Jersey owns the groundwater. So, in legal fact, the oil from our property would be affecting someone else’s property, i.e. NJ’s property. Weird, but true. In a day or two, an environmental assessment and clean-up company will be by to do sampling and dig bores and other stuff to find out the extent of the problem.

The oil tank shrouded in plastic and the drums filled with what was inside the tank waiting for the environmental people to check out.

So, yeah, it kind of sucks and my backyard continues to get uglier and uglier, but, you know, this is a problem that can be fixed. I have three different friends who are dealing with really difficult, horrible, awful problems in their lives, some with multiple difficult problems that can’t be fixed, that can only be gotten through and suffered through. While I know, as I commented to Betty Fokker that someone else’s pain doesn’t make your pain go away, it does give it some perspective. This is a pain in the butt, it’s messy and all, and could be expensive, but it can be fixed. It will be okay.


The Pit of Despair



  1. I think I saw a sarlacc at the bottom of that thing. (Star Wars nerds got that.)

    • My son would be thrilled beyond measure to have a sarlacc in his backyard. Actually the daughter would to. And I could lure the neighbor cats into it. Hmmmm, this has some real possibilities!

  2. That would be awesome!!!!! Throwing things at it could entertain me for hours….. and the compost wouldn’t smell nearly as bad! (:

  3. Yeah, that sounds like a royal pain in the butt. But as you say, fixable.

  4. No one died. Yet. And your daughter commented. I’m gonna say it’s tie now. 😛

  5. Yes, but a sarlacc would be a “win”.

  6. Whatever the contest, a sarlacc is likely to be a win! Unless, of course, you have a Jedi and his buddies with you. 🙂

  7. […] Then a few years ago, we did the basic test for coliform and nitrates. Still fine. So now that the hazmat site has been found in the backyard, we decided to do it again. We didn’t need lead, arsenic, […]

  8. […] to the Pit of Despair which history you can read here, here, and here. Last week we got the good news/bad news that the groundwater was contaminated. […]

  9. […] other news, the Pit of Despair has been filled in so that the probing machine can come on Monday and poke holes and not fall into […]

  10. […] know you all have been following the Pit of Despair saga with bated breath so you will undoubtedly be truly thrilled to have another installment. The […]

  11. […] house news, we have an update on the Pit of Despair. The environmental guys came and dug up all the dirt with a large backhoe and put it in a dump truck […]

  12. […] those of you who have followed the saga of the Pit of Despair (starts here, continues on here, here, here, and here) we have new and exciting developments. We received the coveted “No […]

  13. […] back on the home front, the Pit of Despair is quickly becoming the sunroom of loveliness and the patio and walkways of beauty. Which is good. […]

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