Construction Project at 9th and N St, NW Digs Up Old Fuel Tanks

by Prince Of Petworth — August 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm 14 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Thought I would share these photos of the construction project occurring at the corner of 9th and N, NW. Yesterday they discovered at least 5 old fuel tanks while digging and the soil (surrounding air) smells like petroleum. Wonder what impact this discovery will have on this project.”


  • Remediation. Nobody likes it, but it sounds like that site will require remediation.

  • B’Dale Res

    I would only imagine the developer already knew about the tanks and part of the planning for the development was to clean up the lot before any development can take place. I bet a lot of soil tests and sign offs by inspectors is in the workers. Part of the huge budget to build le Diplomate was because of a similar situation. used to be a car repair shop, then dry cleaner….that ground was saturated with poisons that required quite an extensive and expensive clean up.

    • brookland_rez

      I would think so too since it was the site of a former gas station….

  • anon

    Ummm, a huge impact. EPA will require an extremely expensive disposal, testing and decontamination effort.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what impact this will have (is having) on our water table.

  • Envi_sci_guy

    As someone who used to deal with this as a consultant, I can tell you that it should delay the project at the very least. USTs are very heavily regulated, and most USTs are LUSTs (leaking underground storage tanks). An investigation will have to be performed to determine the extent of any contamination and what treatment/mitigation may needed for the site. Plus they will have to go back to DDOE and get some permits, approvals, and do a lot of additional coordination. Lots of $$$$ to say the least. There is a chance that they knew this was down there and have all their permits and paperwork in order already. But judging by the extraction “method” shown in the photos I am not sure they did that. Usually there would be a consultant on-site to monitor as well. Not sure if the guy in the hard hat is that monitor. Did they post anything at the site or nearby that shows a permit? I would definitely check with DDOE and see if there is any record, all that info is supposed to be public due to EPCRA (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act which establishes requirements for Federal, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and “Community Right-to-Know” reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals). Basically you have a right to know what is in your backyard if anything toxic is discovered or spilled.

  • Anonymous

    this is just under the old Old City Green lot… right? what was there before them? gas station?

    • tonyr

      Funny that building on this sets off all sorts of alarms, but buying fruit and vegetable plants from the previous occupier was no problem. I wondered why the tomatoes has a unique taste.

  • Alan

    Definitely. I’m sure the developers weren’t totally unprepared for that. Happens in cities.

  • Development Team

    Just to clarify, we were fully prepared for this and found exactly what we expected. We have a fully approved remediation plan with the District and have incorporated the necessary protections in our construction process. As noted above, this happens quite frequently in most urban areas and becomes just another line item within the budget. In fact, in today’s world cleaning up petroleum is quite cheap vs. haz-mat type issues, such as a dry cleaners. We are excited to be moving forward and should be delivered by fall 2014.

  • eric

    Seriously people. Its just some fuel tanks. Did em up, test and dispose of contaminated soils, and bam! Done. Its really not that big of a deal for a large construction project. It is only a big deal for small business owners who dont have the money.

  • ShawGuy

    I’m actually more curious about the red Toyota Celica parked in the lower righthand corner of the second photo on what is clearly the sidewalk that’s blocked off for the construction. If it’s available for free parking for the crew, it should be available for parking for the actual residents as well.

    As for the fuel tanks, they knew beforehand – they mentioned it in one of the ANC meetings talking about the project.

  • anon3

    me too. that’s been happening all over town. they shut down the sidewalks, and then just use them for parking instead of building protective walkways for pedestrians. one of my favorite examples is at the ‘city market at O’-the sidewalk has been shut down around the entire block for close to a year, but at the corner of 9th+P, the sidewalk has been restored for about 10 feet so that the developers can operate a sales office on-site, there is actually a small parking lot set up as well, and landscaping to make it look like a sidewalk doesn’t exist there. I wonder if ‘development team’ can chime in on this one. why isn’t the city protecting pedestrian/neighborhood rights? don’t forget to go and check out how ‘public land’ is being utilized for private profit at 9th and P NW.

  • anon

    Still using well water are you?

    Do you have a privy out back as well?


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