Oct. 26–HAZLETON — The city removed aged oil tanks and discontinued used oil collections at the highway garage after state environmental officials issued a notice of violation for a small amount of oil that was released on the property, the director of public works said.
Officials have also taken steps to address issues with an unregistered diesel storage tank at the highway garage, he said.
Public Works Director Frank Vito said Thursday that city officials acted immediately to clean the property and remove three aged tanks that the city used for collecting used oil from the public.
The state Department of Environmental Protection determined that a used oil release occurred at the highway garage Sept. 18. Later that month, state officials issued a notice of violation that explains steps the city can take to contain pollution and clean the property.
City officials contacted an oil salvage firm to empty the tanks, arranged to have the tanks removed and excavated dirt near the leak, Vito said.
The storage tanks have been at the highway garage for decades, Vito said.
Firefighters were called to wash a street near the highway garage and highway workers excavated more than a foot of soil from a 2 feet by 6 feet area near the tanks, he said.
Crews are storing the excavated soil on a tarp and an environmental company will remove it next week at a cost of about $2,000, Vito said. An engineering firm will perform soil boring, which will determine if additional remedial work is necessary, he said.
Vito estimates that 10 gallons of oil leaked.
“We excavated … until we had dry soil and no smell,” he said. “It’s a small area.”
Vito said crews had no way of knowing a leak occurred until it was observed.
The city is also in the process of addressing issues that state officials noted for an above ground diesel storage tank. The city must coat that tank with noncorrosive paint, install a check valve and place two signs on the tank, Vito said.
Crews are working to complete those tasks before state officials are expected to return in 10 to 15 days, he said.
Vito said the city plans to stop using the diesel tank since the fire department no longer uses fuel at the highway garage.
“We’re probably going to empty that out,” he said.
State officials visited the highway garage about three years ago. An inspector at the time noted that a valve had to be installed on one of the tanks, he said. The city did not arrange for an inspection of the diesel tank because Vito thought that the state automatically performs inspections.
No fines or citations have been issued, administrators said.
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