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Petroleum cleanup could cost millions

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- At its October 20 meeting, the La Veta Town Board heard about remedial measures to clean up two petroleum leaks at La Veta Oil that have contaminated the groundwater, one in 2007 and the other in April 2009.  Kevin Tautkus from CGRS told the Board that a two-part system would inject air into the soil and groundwater (air sparge) to force petroleum vapors out, then they would be volatized (burned) with a thermal oxidizer.  Tautkus said the remediation wells would be 20-25 feet deep, 15 wells for the air sparge and 12 more for soil vapor extraction points.  CGRS requested the Town’s approval to install the proposed system, because part of it will extend onto Town property.  Besides some of the wells, there will be a 760 foot long trench, half of which will be on Town property.  There will also be two sheds that will house motors and blowers running 24/7 at a noise level of 70-80 decibels. 

    Tautkus said the contaminated groundwater is migrating off site, moving north, so “something must be done.”  He said the test well next to the river so far has tested clear of petroleum.  “There is still an opportunity to clean this up while it’s still mainly on site,” Tautkus said.

    “I would rather see all this mitigation stuff put on the property that’s causing the problem,” said Mayor Mickey Schmidt.  But Tautkus said the cleanup will be more effective in its current design.  The first year’s initial treatment will cost $467,000.  “If we don’t see improvement, then we may need to expand it,” said Tautkus.  He said the project will take at least five years and will be paid for by a State tax on bulk tanker trucks.  The propane to run the motors will cost more than $400,000 over the five years. 

    After Tautkus pointed out that the State could withdraw its offer to pay for the cleanup, the Trustees decided to approve installation of the CGRS project. 

    The Board agreed to let the La Veta Boosters use the Community Center 9 am to 5 pm, December 7 through 13 for their “Christmas Gift Shop.”  Jackie Willburn told the trustees that the CGS has been used mostly by grade school students in the past, but the Boosters want to make it a community event. 

    There will be a budget and museum workshop on October 28, starting at 6 pm.

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