Summary: eScreenLogic performed a Phase I ESA for a Client that was in the process of obtaining bank financing to facilitate redevelopment of a historic gas station into a coffee shop. The current owner stated he purchased the property a few years prior in an all-cash transaction and therefore did not perform any environmental due diligence. The current owner aslo stated the previous owner informed him that there had never been a gas station or automotive service facility occupying the subject site and there were no underground storage tanks (USTs). During eScreenLogic’s performance of the Phase I ESA on-site inspection and historical research phase of the investigation, the presence of a past gas and service station was identified on the subject property (existing from the 1970’s through the 1980’s). The on-site observations identified an old fuel dispenser island and canopy; UST vent lines; UST access points; floor drains with oil-water separator, and an underground hydraulic lift. The review of the applicable Regulatory Data and Regulatory Agency had no records of the gas station or automotive service facility operating at the site nor any information regarding USTs.
Result: eScreenLogic recommended a Phase II soil/groundwater investigation and Geophysical Survey to determine the location and how many USTs might be located on the subject site. The Geophysical Survey discovered three 10,000-gallon USTs. The soil/groundwater sampling discovered significant petroleum hydrocarbons contamination in the soil and groundwater associated with the USTs; however, no contamination was identified with the underground hydraulic lift and oil-water separator. Subsequently, eScreenLogic had the underground hydraulic lift, oil-water separator, old USTs and product lines removed. During removal of underground hydraulic lift and oil-water separator, there was no visual evidence that a release had occurred, and the excavated area was replaced with select clean-fill dirt. Further, during removal of the USTs, visual soil staining and olfactory indications of contamination were observed beneath the USTs from a release of petroleum hydrocarbons. The petroleum impacted soil was over excavated and replaced with a clean engineered fill material. The USTs were reported as unregistered “ghost tanks” to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Applicable Release Reporting was submitted to the TCEQ. Permanent groundwater monitoring wells were installed to assess groundwater impact. Since, the current property owner was not the original owner/responsibility party for the USTs and since the USTs were unregistered, eScreenLogic petitioned the TCEQ to accept the cleanup of this site’s petroleum hydrocarbon contamination into their “State Leads Program”. TCEQ agreed with the petition and enrolled this site into the program, assuming responsibility for additional cleanup. Since the old hydraulic lift and oil-water separator were removed with no contamination identified and USTs removed with TCEQ taking over responsibility for cleanup, the bank approved the loan and funds were dispersed to the current owner for the commencement of the redevelopment of the site into a coffee shop.