Third Street excavation project continues - Republic-Times | News

Third Street excavation project continues

By on October 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

The view from east to west of the excavation site on Third Street in Waterloo for removal of three fuel tanks and mitigation of underground fuel leakage. (Alan Dooley photo)

The gaping hole on Third Street near the intersection with Moore Street in Waterloo is nearing its greatest extent, as work continues on the removal of old underground fuel tanks.

“We have some additional mitigation and one more fuel tank to remove,” Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk said Tuesday.

The work is being done in connection with road improvements on Moore Street.

“We knew there was one fuel tank underground there,” Birk said.

Turns out, there were three.

Willis Fischer, owner of the buildings on the north side of Third Street, had shown city workers a fill pipe near the edge of his building.  In the course of removing that tank and mitigating for ground contamination from a leak in accordance with EPA procedures, the city discovered the other two.

“And just this morning, we got permission from the fire marshal to complete their removal,” Birk said.

Fischer said the site was the location of Waterloo’s first Chevrolet dealership in 1911.  Then, in the 1930s, Nobbe Implements was located there.

“I was born here in 1938,” Fischer said. “I used to ride past here every day, to and from school. Coming home, it was a sort of skill test to pedal between a Shell fuel pump and the building.”

Fischer bought the building in 1977, and until about nine years ago, it was home to his business – Fischer Sheet Metal.

“Now I have renovated it and rent it to several businesses,” he said.
Birk said it was not known what type of fuel was present.

“The test is for benzene, which is a component of both gasoline and diesel fuel.  One of the tanks may even have been for fuel oil to heat the previous structure,” he added.

The extent of the underground fuel leak has been defined by so-called “migration wells” per EPA requirements.

All of the soil being removed will be replaced with rock.

Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.