The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Contamination monitoring from old underground tank expanded in Chinook


August 8, 2018

A crew with Boland Drilling, Great Falls, is shown on West Fifth Street sinking one of two new monitoring sites for the buried tank removed from the northeast corner of Indiana and Fifth. The two new holes bring to 16 the number of monitoring sites in the area. Samples are taken and analyzed twice a year from the monitoring wells to determine the extent of the contamination from the old tank site.

A crew was in Chinook last week to drill additional monitoring wells on West Fifth Street just west of the Blaine County Museum and another on Pennsylvania, south of the intersection of Fifth Street and Pennsylvania. The two new wells are in addition to the 14 monitoring sites drilled in 2014. The monitoring is for a site at the northeast corner of Indiana and Fifth Street where a buried gasoline tank leaked. The tank was removed some time ago.

Ross Remsen, Environmental Engineer with CTA (architects/engineers out of Great Falls), helped identify the locations for the original 14 wells. He also marked sites for the two additional wells recently drilled. A crew with Boland Drilling, also out of Great Falls, drilled the two new holes. Remsen said the new wells are part of an attempt to determine just how far west and south the contamination spread.

Remsen explained that water samples are taken twice a year from the monitoring wells. The samples are analyzed to find out how much and how far fuel contamination has seeped into the ground from the old buried tank. At the time the first wells were drilled he said, "If the results tell us there is above a certain amount of contamination, we will have to designate a "dig out" area-removing the road pavement and hauling away the contaminated soil."

The Montana Petroleum Fund pays for the biannual testing. If contamination requires a total dig out of the contaminated area, the property owner pays the first 30 percent of the cost and the Fund pays the remainder. Several hundred areas in Montana identified as being contaminated from underground leaking tanks have been cleaned up, but many more still pose risks to some underground water systems throughout the state.


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