On September 25, GFCA met with the owners of the contaminated old Exxon gas station site and reviewed their pending proposal for additional cleanup of the spreading underground water contamination created by the gasoline additive MTBE in groundwater. The current contamination plume map can be viewed here.
On September 30, GFCA sent a letter to the owners (Fairfax Petroleum) asking them to reevaluate a critical element of their proposal. This letter is available here.
GFCA has been monitoring efforts by the Fairfax Petroleum Company and its environmental consultant (Kleinfelder) to remediate groundwater contamination caused by the former Exxon Service Station at Walker Road and Georgetown Pike. The attached map is from the latest Kleinfelder report, and shows the plume of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) – a gasoline contaminant – that extends in the southeast direction under the Great Falls Center, and in the southern direction under the Crossroads, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo properties. The contamination has not reached private wells used for drinking and bathing.
Kleinfelder recently presented its plans for cleanup proposing a small, single recovery well on the site, which would pump and treat groundwater at the rate of about 10 gallons per minute over the next several years.
After professional review of the proposal, the GFCA, the GFCA Special Committee on Groundwater Contamination, and their professional environmental consultant do not believe that the small proposed system will be effective at removing the contamination from the entire plume, which Fairfax Petroleum committed to do last December when it asked for a Special Exception from Fairfax County to construct a drive-in bank on the former Exxon Service Station Site.
GFCA requested that Fairfax Petroleum and Kleinfelder evaluate a more reliable alternative involving three recovery wells with two located near the leading edges of the plume to the south and southeast, in addition to the proposed well location. In GFCA’s opinion, this alternative will be more effective at drawing contamination more efficiently from all parts of the contamination plume and remove the contamination more thoroughly in a shorter period of time. GFCA has formally requested that this alternative be evaluated and presented to the citizens of Great Falls, at a Department of Environmental Quality public meeting at the Great Falls Library, currently scheduled for November 11, 2014.