Environmental officials are investigating whether fuel contaminants have spread from a defunct service garage to neighboring residential properties in the city of Rockland, Maine.
According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, the garage closed in 2006, and soil contamination from fuel leaks was discovered a couple of years later, when the underground gasoline tanks were removed.
The company commissioned tests in 2009, which indicated that the underground leak had spread to a neighboring parcel that’s home to an apartment building. Contaminants were also found near the property line of another parcel with a single-family home.
A Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesperson credited the company with carrying out necessary remediation by removing contaminated soil from the garage site, but termed testing for the neighboring parcels inadequate.
A bankruptcy filing from the company had put the investigation on hold, but the Maine DEP is looking to resolve the uncertainty by underwriting $10,000 to $20,000 of air, soil and groundwater testing with funds from a state gasoline tax.
The neighborhood receives drinking water through a regional company, but the Maine DEP considers petroleum contamination a health hazard and regulates cleanups to minimize the risk to public health.
The garage building is currently vacant, and the DEP spokesperson said removal of the structure would require additional cleanup to protect the construction workers.