RALEIGH – State environmental officials soon will oversee assessment and cleanup actions at dozens of North Carolina’s most significant contamination sites, using funds awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded North Carolina in July $7.55 million in economic recovery funds to begin assessing and cleaning up fuel leaking into the environment from underground storage tanks.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will use the money to hire environmental companies to assess and clean up about 172 sites (listing attached) identified as priorities due to their risk to people and the environment. As required by federal guidelines, at these sites the parties responsible for the release of contamination are unable or unwilling to conduct cleanups, or cannot be located.
“This economic recovery money will protect public health and clean up the environment,” said Dee Freeman, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Until now, we have only been able to conduct limited site assessments and partial cleanups at many of these contamination sites due to a lack of financial resources.”
This award is part of more than $150 million North Carolina is set to receive in ARRA funding to improve drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, reduce diesel engine emissions, restore beaches and waterways and improve the state’s forest resources.
The money for leaking underground storage tanks will include state oversight of assessment and cleanup activities at the following priority sites:
• Berry Brothers (closed country store that formerly sold motor fuel) in Camden County – The ARRA funds will be used to remove additional petroleum floating on the water table and contaminated soil in attempts to completely clean and close the site. Past funding enabled a limited site assessment and removal of underground fuel storage tanks and some petroleum.
• Lewis Grocery in Wake County – Economic recovery funding will be used to extend a waterline to a nearby neighborhood to ensure clean water to people with water supply wells who live in homes at-risk from the leaking underground fuel tanks. Until now, funding enabled the state to pursue limited site assessment, remove the fuel tanks, provide people with alternate water and monitor adjacent water supply wells.
• Brown's Grocery in Randolph County – ARRA money will be used for a comprehensive site assessment as well as the removal of any remaining contaminated soil, free product petroleum and groundwater and closure of the site. Until now, state officials have provided alternate water, removed fuel tanks and conducted limited site assessment and the removal of some fuel floating on the water table.
• A& H Used Auto in Gaston County – ARRA money will be used for a comprehensive site assessment and cleanup to try to reduce the risk from contamination and close the site. Since 2003, state officials have overseen the provision of alternate water, the removal of some contaminated soil and leaking petroleum floating on the water table. Adjacent water supply wells have also been monitored.
As required by state law, DENR advertised the cleanup work and will start accepting bid proposals later this month from companies that specialize in environmental cleanups. The state agency expects to award contracts to four environmental cleanup companies and two laboratory service providers. Also, the state will use part of the funding to hire two scientists to oversee the assessment and cleanup actions and make sure those actions comply with federal and state guidelines. All economic recovery funds for underground storage tank cleanup are expected to be obligated by Sept. 30.
For further information on economic recovery funding for environmental efforts, please visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/arra/home.