Local

Removal of underground fuel tanks at abandoned gas station in Woodstock underway

City interested in acquiring property

Crews work to remove underground fuel tanks on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at a defunct gas station at 830 Lake St. in Woodstock
Crews work to remove underground fuel tanks on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at a defunct gas station at 830 Lake St. in Woodstock

Work is underway to remove underground fuel tanks at an abandoned gas station on Lake Street in Woodstock.

The Office of the State Fire Marshall condemned the tanks on the property in 2017, and property owners then abandoned the site, according to city documents. The city is working to acquire the property, and took on the cost of removing the tanks, which were installed in 1970, city records show.

Woodstock officials agreed to pay Loves Park-based Stiles Inc. up to $19,762 to remove the tanks at its Nov. 5 meeting. The city will use money from its Distressed Property Program to cover those costs, and it also will seek reimbursement for the tank removal and eventual site clean-up through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank program.

According to the IEPA, leaking underground storage tanks “are a significant source of environmental contamination” and might threaten health and safety. Such possible threats include fires and explosions; the inhalation of dangerous vapors; contamination of both soil and groundwater; contamination of drinking water; and contamination of area streams, rivers and lakes.

“Identifying the contamination prior to taking ownership will help ensure that the city has not been a party to or contributed to the contamination on the site, virtually eliminating any liability on the city’s part,” Building and Zoning Director Joseph Napolitano said. “The city’s environmental consultant has recommended that the tanks be removed as soon as possible. Removal of the tanks will help to determine the level of contamination on the site and plan the future steps necessary for clean-up.”

Woodstock received court permission to remove the tanks, according to city documents.

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