Friday, August 4, 2017

Two Became Five!

I'm here today to attest to the fact that there CAN be too much of a good thing. I knew that the excavators had found a third fuel oil tank late in the day, causing the "one day" job to stretch out into two. What the parking lot dirt truly covered was a surprise to all of us.

I don't do selfies often, but this gives you an idea of the size
of these tanks. I'm standing directly in front of the second
of the two tanks removed on the first day. The square hole
was cut into the tank to allow any water or fuel still in the
tank to be removed. Some of the pipes were stuffed inside
the rusted carcass for ease of disposal. The tank is at least
six feet tall, maybe a bit more than that. 

By the end of the first day, the men had dug out two rusted fuel oil tanks, one holding approximately 2000 gallons, the other approximately 500 gallons. The metal detectors were still indicating metal, so they covered the pit back up and restarted on Thursday morning in pouring rain. They uncovered the third tank, then checked and found a fourth, and finally they also found a fifth. One of these tanks was a vertical tank. The head excavator, who has worked at finding and removing old petroleum tanks from abandoned fuel oil heating systems or gas stations for more than 20 years, said he had only seen one other vertical tank in the hundreds of tanks he had found and removed. Now he had a second one to add to his count.

Here are the three additional tanks in situ. The round opening of the tank
on the far left is actually the opening to the vertical tank. The other two tanks,
with their sides opened up, are horizontal. All of the sludge had to be
siphoned and disposed of as hazardous waste before the tanks themselves
could be pulled. 

They estimated that if all went well and they didn't find any other tanks, they could have them removed and the hole back-filled by mid-afternoon. That's exactly what happened. They emptied the tanks, checked for any soil contamination (fortunately there was no leakage or contamination at all), then loaded the tanks into a huge dump truck which hauled them away. Finally they pulled a dirt and gravel mix over the gigantic hole in the parking lot,tamping it down firmly in several smaller layers first with the excavator shovel, before raking and leveling the fill to match the rest of the parking lot.

Here the tanks have all been removed and are waiting to be loaded
into the dump truck and taken away from the property. The crumpled
tank to the left was the vertical tank. Apparently the metal was quite thin
and it fell into itself when the excavator shovel attempted to pull it
out of the soil. The pile of sand, soil and gravel to the right would
fill the void left by the tanks. 

So now we have a parking lot without stripes or other indicators of where to park. That could be a real problem because the lot is very busy between the four businesses sharing our building, so the landlord is going to string guide ropes and do some painting. The new soil needs to settle for a month, then we'll get new asphalt laid down and new painted striping. By late fall or early winter, this project should be complete. It's really lucky that my state has a slush fund to help pay for the removal of these tanks. If my landlord had to pay for all of this out-of-pocket, I suspect those tanks would have remained buried until next century.

Have a great Friday. We're cold here - about 20 degrees colder than we should be at this time of the year. I'm grateful I'm swimming inside today, but it will be a very cold trot outside to the larger pool tomorrow morning. The temps will return to normal next week, but right now I'm dressed in fall clothing!

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