Silverthorne takes action on Sav-o-Mat pollution |

Silverthorne takes action on Sav-o-Mat pollution

Silverthorne Town Council members agreed Thursday to move ahead with plans to address pollution issues at Sav-o-Mat, a gas station on Blue River Parkway that’s in the midst of negotiations on how to proceed with cleaning up a benzene contamination discovered in 2009.

Previously, the Daily reported that the town requires a full site plan be in place before remediation could begin, with a focus on the aesthetics of the site. But town officials say that, while the appearance of the site is important, the aspect of the site plan that focuses on drainage is the most critical component.

“Some have mistakenly framed the town’s requirement for a site plan in terms of aesthetics versus pollution cleanup,” Silverthorne mayor Dave Koop stated in a press release. “In fact, aesthetics, while important to the town and still a part of the code requirement, are not the key focus for this site. The prevention of any future contamination via an appropriate drainage plan is of critical importance for this site plan. Remediation of current contamination without addressing the drainage problems that have caused the contamination would simply be a band-aid solution.”

Sav-o-Mat property owner Buzz Calkins said drainage, though part of the site plan submittal, hasn’t always been an emphasized component of the improvements. He said code requires installing a costly surface drainage treatment system – something other municipalities might grandfather.

Council agreed in an executive session Thursday to waive site plan requirements exclusively to allow construction of facilities necessary to operate the ground water remediation system required by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment-Division of Oil and Public Safety. They also directed staff to update state officials and Calkins of Bradley Petroleum on developments in the process. Council also directed staff to place barriers on town land adjacent to the Sav-o-Mat property during the course of the cleanup.

Calkins said installing the above-ground remediation equipment could begin as soon as today or Tuesday and the system could be running in several weeks, though it may take a few months to a year to see if it’s working. The underground system is largely in place and ready to go – much of it was completed before work stopped in 2009, he said.

Prior to the meeting, council members were notified that a site plan was submitted March 29 by Bradley Petroleum. Calkins said he intends to follow protocol for bringing the site to code once the remediation system is in place. If town staff review shows the plan is complete and properly designed, it may bring a comprehensive solution to the site, including prevention of future contamination, a press release stated. Once staff reviews it for completeness, the town’s planning commission and council will conduct the final review and approval.

The contamination is well above approved state levels. Required clean-up, funded by the state, has been slowed because Calkins hasn’t submitted the necessary components for a site plan – a town requirement when new structures are installed. The remediation equipment includes an above-ground storage shed.

Monitoring wells at the site and across the highway indicate the contamination hasn’t spread beyond the gas station property lines, but town staff have announced that officials will “aggressively pursue the clean up of this site – and the prevention of future contamination – to protect surrounding properties, the town’s water system and the Blue River,” the release stated.

Calkins noted that, to his knowledge, the tanks and their lines are not leaking. When contamination was first identified, the diesel leak from the sump pump was fixed, he said. Since then, the state has conducted tank and line tightness tests per regulation. Leak detectors on the lines shut off the pumps when the lines leak, he added.

The barriers, to be installed at the eastern edge of the gas station this week, are meant to protect town land adjacent to the Sav-o-Mat property from additional damage, according to the release.

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