State agency confirms no contamination at Elkton Auto Corral

LISBON – Test results confirmed no contamination was found in the area where the village severed sewer service to the Elkton Auto Corral after gasoline fumes were detected two years ago during a storm sewer project.

The letter from ARCADIS U.S. Inc. stated the the results of the April 1 “soil sampling event were less than the laboratory detection limit.” This is based on two samples taken at each of five test borings.

Christine Pyscher, who is an environmental specialist with the Ohio Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations, or BUSTR, received a copy of the analysis. She said laboratories set their test equipment to detect minimum levels of specific contaminants, which in this case were various petroleum-related chemicals, and remediation action can be required if the results exceed those minimums.

Pyscher said that was not the case with the Auto Corral tests. “The minimum detection level is well below our cleanup standards,” she said, adding that as far as BUSTR is concerned no contamination exists in the tested area.

BUSTR is the state agency overseeing BP’s remediation of the groundwater contamination that occurred at the front of Auto Corral property, where a BP gas station was once located. The gas station has been gone for decades, and the storage tanks were removed in 1980. ARCADIS was hired by BP to clean up the property.

The latest testing occurred in the alley area at the rear of the dealership, behind the building that houses the offices and service area. The village requested the tests be performed because of the dispute with Jay and Susan Mullen, who own the dealership and are at odds with the village over the decision to sever sewer service.

The village did this in 2012 while installing storm sewers along South Jefferson Street. The private contractor hired by Lisbon came in contact with a strong odor of gasoline while excavating the lateral line connecting the municipal sewer line in the street to the dealership, which was closed at the time.

The contractor sealed off the lateral line per village regulations, and later that same year the Mullenses purchased the property and moved their used car dealership business there from Elkton. They did not discover sewer service had been disconnected until the bathrooms and service area drains began backing up in 2013.

The Mullenses have threatened to move the business back to Elkton unless Lisbon reconnects them to the sewer system. While the village has pledged to do what it can to help the Mullenses and agreed to waive the minimum $600 tap fee, officials have made it clear property owners are responsible for connecting to the sewer system.

The village was also concerned about the liability should any gasoline leak into the municipal sewer system if the line were reconnected, which was the reason for the tests.

Meanwhile, village Solicitor Virginia Barborak said she is attempting to contact BP in the hope of being able to convince them to reconnect the dealership to the sewer line. “I’m hoping to get hold of someone at BP to see if they can do it, and the village would be willing to work with them,” she said.

Mrs. Mullen said BP made it clear before that is not something the company is interested in doing.