Environmental clean-up underway at former oil depot site

LACONIA — Work has begun to remove abandoned fuel tanks and contaminated soils from the property at 55 Bay Street, which lies between the railroad track and Winnisquam Avenue, owned by the Fred Fuller Oil Co, Inc.

Cheryl Bentley of Aries Engineering, Inc. of Concord, which is partnering with TMC Environmental of Portsmouth on the project, anticipated that about a month will be required to removed approximately 4,800 cubic yards of soil and 60,000 gallons of groundwater from the site. In addition, A 1,628-square-foot office building on the site will be demolished. However, a garage backing on to Winnisquam Avenue will remain on the site.

There are six underground storage tanks on the site, five 20,000 gallon tanks, four of which contained home heating oil and a fifth holding kerosene. The six tank, containing gasoline, was only found this week, after work was underway. Bentley said that there was fuel in the tank, which would be pumped empty and removed.

Bentley said that after testing indicated relatively low levels of contamination in the soil the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) determined it could be safely transported to a landfill in Bethlehem.

Monitoring wells on the site and in the neighborhood have measured the level and extent of contamination for more than a decade. The clean up operation, which is budgeted to cost almost $300,000, is underwritten by the "Oil Discharge and Disposal Cleanup Fund" established in 1988, which itself is funded by a fee levied on all oil imported into the state. Michael Donahue, principal engineer at Aries Engineering, said that the fund has facilitated the clean up, transfer and redevelopment of compliant facilities by eliminating the prolonged, expensive and often contentious process of seeking to assign liability. particularly when a site has had a series of owners.

Donahue said that the site will continue to be monitored and if necessary further excavation of contaminated material will be undertaken.