Tank removal opens way for development in Jefferson County

Photo by Mark Law Crews worked on Tuesday to remove tanks from a lot on South Third Street in Steubenville. development

STEUBENVILLE — Jefferson County has the state record so far for the most gasoline tanks removed from one site under a state grant program.

The Jefferson County Port Authority contacted the Ohio Development Services Agency on behalf of the Ohio Motor Group concerning gasoline tanks buried on property on South Third Street, across the street from the former Hanna Chevrolet.

The port authority hired Civil & Environmental Consultants to do the oversight of removing the tanks.

Evan Scurti, port authority executive director, said Ohio Motor Group purchased the property without knowledge of the tanks. Since nobody who originally was associated with the gasoline tanks could be found, the state has funding available to remove and remediate the soil, Scurti said.

Brent Smith of Civil & Environmental Consultants said he researched the property’s history and discovered the lot once was the location of a gasoline distribution warehouse.

He said the gasoline was delivered by rail, pumped into the underground tanks and then taken by tanker trucks to gasoline stations around the area. Smith said there also was a service station in front of the warehouse selling gasoline to the public.

“No one can remember when it was a service station. It is a huge bonus for the port to get the grant,” he said.

April Stevens, an Ohio Development Services Agency environmental specialist, said tanks like those removed on South Third would sit in the ground when no original property owner could be located.

The Ohio Development Services Agency undertakes such projects to support job creation.

The agency has removed about 70 tanks in the past three years and it is about half way through the funding available to take out the tanks.

She said the 10 tanks found on the Steubenville lot is a record for the agency.

Nine were removed in Manchester in Adams County, she said.

Scurti said he will work with Ohio Motor Group to market the property. He said it would be good for retail or office space, considering its location nearby to Ohio 7.

Stevens said once the tanks and contaminated soil are removed, the property will have to sit for one year while more testing is done on the site to make sure it is OK.

“I hope to be back here in a couple years for a ribbon cutting,” she said.

Smith said his consulting company used ground-penetrating radar to identity the number and location of the tanks. He expected to find six to nine tanks. But since the tanks were buried side by side, the exact number wasn’t determined until excavation began, he said.

The tanks were full of ground water, which was pumped out prior to extraction. He said the soil around the tanks is in “bad condition.”

The tanks will be sold for scrap, and the soil will either be taken to an incinerator for burning or a landfill, he added.

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