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Gas-tank removal becomes weightier project after further contamination is found by DEQ

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - City of Woodburn was apprised that its fuel tank removal at the for Centro Gas & Market will require the removal of an additional 600 tons of contaminated soil.City of Woodburn's tank-removal task at the former Centro Gas & Market on First Street became a weightier project after the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) weighed in on the process.

The city had several fuel storage tanks removed on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at a cost of $27,785. The following Friday the DEQ informed the city that significantly more needed to be removed.

"The contamination identified is fairly significant, (requiring the city) to remove an additional 600 tons of contaminated soil," City Administrator Scott Derickson told the Woodburn City Council during its Feb. 26 meeting. "Which is approximately a 20-by-20 foot area in the right of way and 8-feet deep."

That is the DEQ and city's "best guess" at what will remove the contamination. Financially, that removal will more than triple the project's cost.

"The project's budget was originally $27,000; the additional impact of the 600 tons of contaminated soil will be an additional $74,460, bringing the total (amount) of the project and environmental mitigation cost over $100,000," Derickson said.

A silver lining to the news is the city's good rapport with the DEQ, which has agreed to pick up part of the tab.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - City of Woodburn was apprised that its fuel tank removal at the for Centro Gas & Market will require the removal of an additional 600 tons of contaminated soil.

"(Woodburn) reached out to Karen Homolac of Business Oregon's Brownfield Program and received a commitment for additional funding to for the project," Woodburn Economic Development Director Jamie Johnk said. "Business Oregon has already granted $18,000 for the tank removal and has committed an additional 50 percent of the clean-up cost up to $60,000.  We continue working closely with DEQ on this project."

That keeps the economic impact within the parameters of the worst-case scenario the city had envisioned entering the project.

"In my opinion, most cities do not have the ability to clean up this type of contamination; Woodburn does," Derickson added. "We are going to try to do that in the right of way to the greatest extent that we can. I think the DEQ appreciates the fact that we want to mitigate and clean up the site, as opposed to just monitoring it and pushing it off for another day."

The tank removal at northeast corner of First and Garfield streets, directly across from the Woodburn Post Office, is one of the initial tasks needed to be completed before the city begins First Street improvement work in earnest.

Earlier in the meeting the city awarded the First Street improvement project work to Pacific Excavation, Inc., which provided the lowest bid, $3,868,157, among 8 submissions.

Derickson cautioned the city council that it is possible that more contamination could be discovered beyond the 600-ton extraction, but the aim now is to get the work done quickly so it doesn't gum up the overarching First Street project.

"We are trying to work as expeditiously as possible," Johnk said. "There's a giant hole right there. It's all fenced; it's safe and the street's blocked off."

Johnk said the contamination derives entirely from the residual gasoline product.

"Fortunately there was no lead or anything else found," Johnk added.

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