ROCKLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection plans to test properties adjacent to a former garage to determine if gasoline contamination has spread.
City officials are pleased with the announcement that may lead to answering an environmental question that has lingered for five years.
Code Enforcement Officer John Root met with DEP representatives two weeks ago to discuss testing and potential cleanup at the former Getty station at 59 Camden St.
“After five or more years, it looks like this problem is finally going to be resolved,” the code officer’s weekly report stated.
The garage closed in 2006. Underground gasoline tanks were removed in 2008 and it was found that some of the fuel had leaked into the soils of the Getty property as well as an adjacent residential property in back of the former garage.
The DEP will begin testing both the property at 25 Maverick St. in back of the former garage and 21 Maverick St. which is another residential property if the owners agree, according to Fred Lavallee who is the engineering manager for the DEP’s oil and hazardous materials division.
The DEP official noted this has been a slow process but said that Getty had done a lot of remediation at the former garage site by removing contaminated soils. He said, however, the company had not done an adequate job on plans for testing adjacent properties.
He said the Getty business entity that deals with cleanups filed bankruptcy and that put a hold on its continued work.
The DEP has decided to do the testing and pay for it through a fund paid for through a half-cent tax on every gallon of gas and fuel oil sold in the state.
The estimated cost of testing will be $10,000 to $20,000, he said.
He said neighbors have not reported smelling any fuel in their properties but the testing will determine the extent of contamination. There will be air tests taken inside the buildings at 25 and 21 Maverick St. with the owners’ permission as well as soil tests and tests of groundwater on the properties. The 25 Maverick St. property is a two-unit apartment building and 21 Maverick St. is a single-family home.
There are no wells in the neighborhood. Water is supplied through pipes from the regional water company.
Testing done in 2009 on behalf of Getty found fuel contamination about 6 to 8 feet below ground at the far end of the 25 Maverick St. property near the property line with 21 Maverick St.
Lavallee said if there is no further contamination found, then he expects no additional remediation will be needed. He said if the building at 59 Camden St. is removed, then additional cleanup would be required to protect construction workers. He said the DEP may require a deed covenant from Getty to ensure such measures would be taken if the building were to be torn down.
The site had been a garage since at least 1950, according to city records.