The Utah Solid Waste Control board held a hearing Thursday on the matter of Gold Cross Ambulance Service's Corrective Service Action Plan to determine if the executive secretary of the board operated within the confines of the law and rules of the board in issuing a conditional approval of a corrective action plan.
After hearing arguments, the board ruled that the plan had conformed to law.
Kay Eckardt, who leased land to Gold Cross for its ambulance service, and his sister Heidi Gardner appealed the conditional plan.
Gold Cross had a gas tank installed on the property, at 740 W. 1700 South, to fuel its vehicles. After a time the tank leaked and gasoline contaminated the soil. Gold Cross removed the tank and had tons of soil excavated to clean up the site.
Gold Cross submitted a plan to the The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation to monitor and clean up the site. The plan included natural attenuation, a process to reduce the contaminant levels in the soil through biodegredation.
The criteria DERR have for site cleanup aim to reduce the threat to human health and the environment and to be cost-effective. The executive secretary of DERR determined there was no one in the area hooked up to a well water system. (All occupants of the area are connected to city water.) Sub-slab vapor tests also determined that no hazardous vapors are seeping into buildings. And because the contaminant levels have gone down, there is no threat to the environment. The criterion of cost-effectiveness was met by using the natural attenuation approach.
However, Eckardt wants to excavate the contaminated soil. The problem is, there is rental property above the soil, which he owns and rents to tenants. The excavation would destroy the buildings. Eckardt said though it is the most drastic solution, it is the most favorable to him.
The estimated cost? $1.7 million.
He hired two environmental consulting firms, both of which were in favor of natural attenuation. He then hired a third.
Brent Robinson, a consultant for Environmental Resource Management, retained by the Eckardts, said he conducted samples at the site and concluded that the contaminants were significantly higher than allowed by the DERR. He did say there are declines from the original testing numbers but enhanced chemical remediation attenuation would not work for this site because the soil has a high density of ,clay.
"We would have a limited area of influence in this area," he said.
He thinks the impacted material needs to be excavated, the hole filled and the building rebuilt. He said the site would still have to be monitored to determine if pollutant levels have decreased. However, he did not disagree with the findings of the toxicologist that Gold Cross hired, which concluded there are no toxic vapors entering the building.
Mike Pecorelli is project manager for DERR and disagrees with ERM's plans.
With no contamination reaching the groundwater, he said, natural attenuation is the most effective plan available.
John Manotti of DERR said chemical oxidation, a form of attenuation, does not invariably work, but he thinks it would work for this site.
Manotti said he thinks the site could be closed with certain restrictions. It would have to be noted on a deed to future property owners and future workers would have to be notified as to the dangers of excavation.
John Russell, an environmental consultant hired by Gold Cross, said the contaminant levels were down.
Board members said if Eckardt were concerned about the toxicity of the site, he would have evacuated his tenants to avoid health problems.The board ruled that the executive secretary acted within the parameters of the law.