By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — The city has budgeted $190,000 to clean up soil and groundwater contaminated with gasoline beneath the Public Works yard on Lindberg Avenue.
Remediation work is scheduled to begin this fall and could take up to two years to complete, according to a “Remedy Implementation Plan” submitted to the city in late 2012 by a New Bedford-based environmental contractor.
The gasoline is believed to have leaked from underground tanks decades ago and has since impacted a roughly 120-foot-wide area on the property, which is located just south of the Pelham Street exit on Interstate 93.
The contamination was first discovered in October 2007 by a utility company looking to install a natural gas pipeline. Years of testing and reporting to state environmental officials followed to determine the extent of the problem.
Methuen DPW Director Raymond DiFiore said gas and oil spills are not uncommon at older public works yards. The city’s DPW yard and highway garage are both located at 61 Lindberg Ave.
“This place has been there for probably 50 or 60 years,” said DiFiore.
This year’s DPW operating budget contains $190,000 in remediation services reserved for the project.
A remediation plan submitted by Common Sense Environmental Inc., of New Bedford, states that contaminated soil and groundwater exists as deep as 9 feet below the ground. To clean the area, the contractor plans to inject ozone and hydrogen peroxide into groundwater in a process described as “insitu chemical oxidation via ozone sparging.”
The chemicals injected into the ground will break down the contaminants on-site. Once the system is installed, the process “may be operating for up to two years in order to achieve remedial goals,” according to the plan.
Jeffrey Garretson, senior product manager with Common Sense Environmental, said the bulk of the contaminated area is located below the city’s highway garage building. Levels of gasoline there are “above state standards,” he said.
Garretson said the remediation process should be up and running by November. To reduce costs, Garretson said city workers will perform initial trenching and other setup work.
The highway garage building is the site of several underground oil and gas storage tanks. City workers reported that a gasoline tank and diesel tank located in front of the building were removed in the 1990s, while other nearby tanks were “reportedly emptied and closed in place with concrete,” according to the remediation plan.