Risk mitigation: LaFayette to remove UST tanks

Published 9:30 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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The city of LaFayette recently approved two proposals for the assessment and removal of underground storage tanks (UST) under the city hall using an Alabama Department of Environmental Management UST trust fund.

Harmon Engineering Vice President Allen Tucker presented two proposals to the council. The first proposal is for assessing the project and the second proposal is for completing the project.

Two tanks, one gas and one diesel, are underground but haven’t been in use for many years. Once the tanks are removed, the soil and groundwater will be tested for contamination.

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ADEM UST offers the statewide Alabama Tank Trust Fund, which reimburses projects for the cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater. The Alabama Tank Trust Fund has provided funds around the state for UST removal and cleanup projects.

The project will cost $15,000 plus the $5,000 deductible if contaminants are found. If the soil is contaminated, the fund will reimburse the contamination clean-up up to $1.5 million.

Tucker predicted that the project can begin in the next one to two months as the state needs a 30-day notification.

“It’s a fairly routine operation,” Tucker said.

Tucker said Harmon Engineering has done many UST removal projects around the city.

“You can almost stand on that spot at city hall and throw a rock and hit one, two — if you’ve got a good arm — three sites in LaFayette right there that we’ve removed,” he said.

Regulations state that when the underground tanks are no longer in use, they need to be removed to avoid contamination. Tucker said that the contamination of the groundwater could spread to underground wells that are used for drinking water.

Ultimately, City Attorney Mac Tucker said the project represents risk mitigation for the city.

The project would involve removing the storage tanks so that the surrounding soil can be tested and then refilling the ground.