Monday, September 3, 2012

Old Gas Stations and Leaking Tanks a bad situation

A couple times during the summer I would stop at Chucks Gas Station on Pa. 56 in Apollo to get gas for the weed trimmer I use at the radio station . But when I stopped most recently Chuck was closed and out of business.
When I asked a neighbor up at the radio station about it he told me the EPA had shut the station down and ordered the underground storage tanks emptied because they where leaking.
This is a big problem in rural areas with mostly  old independently owned stations where owners do not have the funds needed to upgrade there tanks and pumps which runs into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Unlike major branded stations which have the resources to handle it.
Which includes digging up and removing the tanks and any contaminated soil.

New tanks if allowed underground must meet all kinds of special rules to prevent leaks and contaminating the ground water such as special liners and leak alarms.  This is why you will often see tanks are now above ground  with barriers around them as it is very expensive to bury them for use.
You might notice all modern repair  garages have there  servicing lifts installed above ground now for same reason to prevent hydraulic oil from leaking into the ground. A tank leaking above ground can be spotted much faster and leak cleaned up much easier than when its underground.

The problem since fuel is lighter than water one single tank leak can contaminate soil and water for several hundred acres around it poisoning wells and those who consume the water.
In Chucks case he sits on a hill above the Kiski River. His tanks leaking could well end up in the river if they where not stopped from pumping gas.

A few years back in Pittsburgh's North Side a developer ran into a major problem when he ran into ground which was contaminated in the 1930's when a gas station once sat there. Soil had to be removed and area sealed before work could begin.

Since water well design and construction in Pa. has no regulations  gas station leaks  are a major concern because if wells are not sealed properly they can be easily contaminated.
This is one of the on going fights with gas wells being done with fracing  many people claim the well has contaminated there water when clearly 70% of all wells tested in many areas before drilling even starts where already contaminated by various chemicals and pollutants from past industrial activity's such as  shallow gas and oil wells, coal mines, chemical and industrial plants etc.
Even the well at radio station  I take care of is not consumable because although there was no industrial activity all the chemicals and pesticides  used over all the years when it was a farm have made it into the water table.

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