Archive for Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fuel cleanup efforts to take a year

Air monitors, groundwater filters part of remediation effort

May 23, 2006


State environmental officials today said they are continuing to clean up the Old West Lawrence neighborhood where fumes from a leaking underground fuel tank caused a house fire last month.

The cleanup effort, which includes installing a trench and an automated groundwater treatment system, will last about a year, according to officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"With the completion of the initial response, we have now moved into the longer term clean up phase of the project," said Ron Hammerschmidt, director of KDHE's division of environment.

Hammerschmidt said efforts will continue to monitor for fuel vapor and any further underground fuel seepage in the area around the Presto Phillips 66 gasoline station, which had a leak in an underground fuel tank.

The leak was discovered during the investigation of an April 30 apartment house fire at Ninth and Louisiana streets, which was across the street from the station.

Investigators found that a leak in a tank led to fuel migrating underground toward the east into the sewer system.

The fumes from the sewer system came up from the home's basement and caught fire, investigators said.

Hammerschmidt said eight homeowner have received air monitors for use in their basements to detect fuel vapors. Four more will be provided to homeowners on the outskirts of the contaminated area, he said.

Much of the contaminated soil and groundwater has already been removed and no fumes have been detected for some time, he said.

However, the monitors could detect any more seepage caused by any upcoming heavy rains, he said.

The Presto owners are installing new tanks and piping this week, which will include equipment designed to detect any fuel leaks, he said.

Hammerschmidt also said a trench has been completed around the north and east sides of a nearby law office. Water is now being pumped from that trench and hauled away for disposal, he said.

An automated system will be installed next week that will continually remove the water, treat it and discharge it into the sewer system.

That system will likely be in place for a year, maybe longer, said Gary Blackburn, KDHE Bureau of Environmental Remediation director.

KDHE officials also said a recovery well has been installed at the edge of the tank pit to recover any contaminated groundwater that movings into that area as the result of the previous leak.

Also, 25 monitoring wells have been installed in the area around the leak, they said.

And observation tubes will be installed in the tank pit area to detect any contamination, theys said.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's Channel 6 and pick up a copy of Wednesday's Journal-World.


ASBESTOS 11 years, 10 months ago

""With the completion of the initial response, we have now moved into the longer term clean up phase of the project," said Ron Hammerschmidt, director of KDHE's division of environment."

NO KIDDING! This is an example of the problem. Why in the world would the Director of the DOE have to comment on a leaking UST or the Environmental Remediation program manager? It should be handled by the local office or the UST program manager. It is because of the colossal screwup that KDHE commited! Now we have all these "monitors" that KDHE paid for (taxpayers) which would have been spent on other cleanups IF and ONLY IF KDHE would have caught it sooner.

A year or better cleanup which should have been caught much sooner. That is what happens when your State Envorionmental Agency is behind the times about 25 years.

Remember Ron Hammerschmidt is the guy that has kepr t not only one site out of the NPL but now 2! What a go Ronnie!

Joel, did you get my package yet?

nonimbyks 11 years, 10 months ago

Ok, we can move on now. Problem solved, well sort of solved.

ImpactWinter 11 years, 10 months ago

well, it cost us some $$, and families home, but at least they are being thorough I'd rather see taxpayer money making sure no one else gets hurt or their homes damages because the mess wasn't dealt with properly than many of its other uses in this state. Any word on the liability of the station owners? were the tanks up to grade?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 9 months ago

No the tanks were NOT up to grade. ALL UST's in service after Dec. 22 1998 had to have leak detection or fo through a UST closure process. The tank was installed in 1978, and KDHE knew it. We have many more to be concerned with.

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