Contaminated Peace Portal lot might not be alone

Published on Thu, Oct 3, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Contaminated Peace Portal lot might not be alone

By Meg Olson

The state department of ecology (DOE) has added another Blaine property to its list of contaminated sites to be targeted for cleanup.

While drilling for soil samples on the lot just north of the G Street road end on the west side of Peace Portal Drive, owned by planning commissioner Brad O’Neill, contractors saw evidence of petrochemical contamination. “They saw a black oily substance in the soil, on the water, and they found an odor,” said Mindy Miller, the county environmental health specialist who did the analysis of the site. “We did find some aged gasoline of some form and some diesel in the soil and water.”

The site has been ranked three out of five on the state’s scale of how seriously a site is contaminated, with one being the most serious. Rankings are based on the level of contamination and how much threat it poses to human health and the environment.

Under the state’s Model Toxics Control Act those responsible for the mess pay for the cleanup. “We haven’t been able to identify a liable party,” Miller said. “We were hoping to find where it originated. It could be from contamination on the site itself or coming in from the north or east. There’s a lot of history in that area.” Both the Chevron and Tesoro stations across the street are listed in the state’s leaking underground storage tank list, but both are ranked as having cleanups underway.

City planner Russell Nelson added that the O’Neill property wasn’t alone in having soil contamination problems. “We anticipate that parcel is not the only one given historical uses along the corridor. There have been auto repair shops and gas stations on the west side of the street.” He said the city was looking into grant sources to help property owners clean up their sites. “We want to find ways to undo the problem and make those sites buildable,” he said.

There are now four local properties on the state toxics cleanup list: The O’Neill property joins Blaine Marina in Blaine and Beacon Battery and the Chris V* shop in Custer. Statewide there are over nine thousand sites on the list and cleanup has begun at one third of them.

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