State rules have caught up with an abandoned Batesville business.
Mayor Rick Fledderman said June 9 during the Batesville Board of Works meeting that there has been an investigation of the former Feller’s Service Station, now owned by Becker Properties LLC, Batesville. “The conclusion is the city is going to acquire that property” if the two other BBW members agreed.
Attorney David Guevara of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Indianapolis, explained, “In 2012 we became aware of the fact that 18 N. Elm St. had underground storage tanks that were used for a gasoline service station that were out of compliance” with Indiana Department of Environmental Management standards.
If tanks are not intended to be used for six months, they must be temporarily closed to prevent leaks. If not used for 12 months, they need to be permanently shut down.
The attorney reported, “We approached the owner of the property and inquired about his intentions … the owner didn’t have the financial wherewithal to properly address” the issue.
The mayor had a limited subsurface investigation done in March by August Mack Environmental, Indianapolis, to determine if the tanks had leaked and there was contamination.
In April results showed “that indeed both the soil and groundwater at the site are contaminated,” Guevara reported. IDEM set the acceptable limit of benzene (a gasoline component) in groundwater at 5 parts per billion. The Elm Street site exceeds that number by “a signification amount,” testing at 185 parts per billion. Guevara advised, “This is a contaminant release that is going to need some attention.”
He met with the owner again and the response was the same. He could not financially afford to remedy the problem.
The study showed “there are at least 6 inches of product in the tanks, a further source of contamination.”
Fledderman and Guevara discussed possible solutions. If the owner is unable to address it, “the city could come in possession of the property and take care of the contamination.” For underground storage tanks, there is a state excess liability trust fund to fix releases from properly registered storage tank systems. An entity can use up to $2 million for investigation and remediation.