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EPA Targets Gas Station Cleanups in New Hampshire and Maine

Release Date: 07/02/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced $185,000 of grants for New Hampshire and Maine that will be used for assessing and cleaning up gas station properties and other parcels contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks (USTs).

Among $3.8 million of grants awarded nationwide, the UST Field Pilot Grants include $135,000 for seven projects in New Hampshire, with $85,000 of the work focused in the North Country communities of Berlin, Carroll and Northumberland. An additional $50,000 was awarded to the state of Maine for four cleanup projects.

"These grants will fund much-needed site investigation work at some of New Hampshire's most contaminated gas station properties," said Ira Leighton, deputy regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "By getting these properties evaluated, property owners will have an easier time getting financial support from the state's Petroleum Reimbursement Fund, which helps pay for cleanups after the work is done."

The $135,000 being awarded to the N.H. Department of Environmental Services will focus on the following projects:

    • Berlin, $40,000: DES will focus on two former gas stations – Leon's Garage and Fred's Service Station – that are both known to have contamination problems. Severe groundwater contamination has been found at the Leon's site, but a site investigation still hasn't been done. Elevated concentrations of petroleum byproducts were found in soils at the Fred's Service station property. A total site characterization still hasn't been completed for this property. Both properties are potentially eligible for the state's Petroleum Reimbursement Fund.
    • Carroll, $25,000: The grant is earmarked for the former Twin Mountain Sunoco property on Route 3. In 1998, USTs were removed from the property and soil and groundwater contamination were discovered. Because the site investigation was never completed, getting the site cleaned up with funds from the Petroleum Reimbursement Fund has not been possible.
    • Northumberland, $20,000: The grant will focus on the Dupuis Country Store, which no longer sells gas but is still a retail store. In 1995, USTs were removed and groundwater contamination was discovered. A site investigation was submitted in 1999, but the investigation report still isn't completed. The tanks are owned by the same entity that owns the Twin Mountain tank system.
    • Pelham, $15,000: Work will focus on the former Green Acres Store which was operated as a gas station and country store until about 1987. The gasoline storage system, including two USTs, was removed in 1987. Contamination has since been discovered on the property and the parcel is also under new ownership. DES would like to perform a limited remedial action on the property so that the gasoline contaminated soil can be removed and the site closed.
    • Bradford, $15,000: The grant will target the former Autocraft/Naughton landfill near the Village Center in Bradford. The former property owner was a garage hauler who constructed a large illegal landfill on the property. Additionally, the owner dealt in scrap metal, cut up USTs and had a sloppy auto repair tenant. The town took the property for back taxes several years ago and last year EPA awarded the town a Brownfields Targeted Site Assessment for the property. The site assessment was partially done, but petroleum-related assessment work still needs to be done. The town hopes to eventually use the 20-plus acre site for recreational purposes, including ballfields.
    • Greenfield, $15,000: The grant will focus on the East Coast Steel property, a parcel the town is interested in buying due to its prominent location in the town. The town completed an environmental site assessment in which a number of pollution issues were identified. The town has since applied for a Brownfields Targeted Site Assessment and that site assessment work has been completed. Some follow-up petroleum-related investigated is still needed, though, and this will be a priority at DES.
    • Concord, $5,000: The grant will be used on the Allied Leather Tannery site, a large complex of decaying buildings on 40 acres. The company that owned the tannery declared bankruptcy in the late 1980s and the property it is now under new ownership. The tannery received EPA funded assistance several years ago under Concord's Brownfields Demonstration Pilot Program and the site investigation that was done uncovered a number of petroleum-related problems. Among the problems is a large volume UST and an above-ground storage tank, both filled with #6 fuel oil. The tanks have been inactive since about 1987. The UST assistance money will be used specifically to remove the #6 fuel oil contained in drums and to remove the remaining UST.
A total of $50,000 was awarded to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the following projects:
    • Hiram, $22,000: The grant will focus on a former gas station property along the banks of the Saco River that the town hopes to redevelop into a park and small boat launching facility. The property is at a key access point into the town and is considered vital to the town's economic revitalization. The property was abandoned more than a decade ago and the current property owner filed for bankruptcy and has defaulted on his taxes. Some remedial work was done through the cooperative efforts of Maine DEP, the Maine Department of Transportation and the town, but petroleum contamination still remains at the site beneath the road and under the former garage.
    • Portland, Westbrook and Lewiston, $28,000: The state of Maine has had considerable success removing bare steel USTs. Of the 34,845 registered tanks, 99 percent were removed or abandoned in place. But a number of the tanks removed more recently include previously unknown tanks that were discovered in the process of redeveloping Brownfield sites located in Westbrook, Portland and Lewiston. Maine DEP will use the UST fund to help the municipalities assess petroleum contamination and cleanup options at three Brownfield redevelopment properties – the Marginal Way property in Portland, the Stultz-Foye property in Westbrook and the Bates Mill complex in Lewiston.