Tanks pollute Beaumont

Tanks pollute Beaumont

Alberta Environment has ordered three petroleum companies to clean up a site after leaky underground gasoline storage tanks were found polluting the soil and groundwater in the Town of Beaumont.

SP79 Investments Ltd, Petro-Canada and Gulf Canada Limited have been directed to clean up the soil, sub-soils and groundwater at the location of 5010-50 St. and on near-by properties. Although the current owner is SP79 Investments Ltd, all three companies are required to clean up the site since all three have used the location to sell gasoline.

”The Environmental Protection order was given because there wasn’t sufficient action taken in the progress of the clean up,” said Kim McLeod, communications liaison for Alberta Environment.

”Testing found hydrocarbon residue in the soil and in the shallow ground water at the site and four adjacent properties. (The report of the leak) was done through a routine regulatory channel. There was nothing out of the ordinary on how we heard about it.”

In 1994, testing of one of three tanks on the site found a pinhole leak after failing pressure tests, according to the Environmental Protection Order. Testing of the soil and water found the levels were higher than the standards set by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). On May 29, 1995, a report was issued that the site had been contaminated. The contamination spread underground to two residential properties, one residential-commercial property and under 50th Street, which is owned by the Town of Beaumont.

”Our job at Alberta Environment is to make sure these sites are cleaned up properly. The time it takes to clean up a site depends on each individual site. (These companies) have until Nov. 30 to give a written remediation and until May 31, 2007 to clean it up,” said McLeod. All parties have the right to appeal the decision of the Environmental Protection Order if they so choose, according to Pat Vincent, general manager for the Town of Beaumont.

”It’s been a bit of a challenge to get the situation resolved but finally some action has been taken. We’re happy about the action taken by Alberta Environment,” said Vincent.

According to Vincent, there are no health risks for the Town of Beaumont in terms of drinking water safety since the town buys its water from Epcor in the southwest water commission. The tanks are currently empty and filled with cement so the possibility of any more contamination is unlikely. Hydrocarbons are combustible molecules that are a component in the manufacturing of gasoline. All fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc.), plastics, paraffin, waxes, solvents and oils contain hydrocarbons. These components, when combined with Nitrogen Oxide and sunlight, produce greenhouse gases.

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