Have we a problem?

Many people in the town will have seen posts in the ‘Our Town’ Facebook group yesterday about potential soil contamination behind the Red Barn that has been unearthed during recent work on the new sports facility. Questions were asked by several members of the group … to the best of our knowledge this is the current situation. Any questions will need to be directed to the town hall.

Feeling intrigued, CM deviated a little from his regular morning constitutional and wondered if anything was to be seen as it’s the weekend and nobody is working there today.

Between the new installation and the fence surrounding the children’s play-area at Whiteside-Taylor we found a deep square hole with mesh over the top to prevent accidents (see photo) about where pictures yesterday showed people in high-vis jackets looking concerned. Next to it under a plastic sheet is what we took be a spoil heap of earth from the hole. Rubbing a small handful between our fingers we were immediately aware of a quite strong and characteristic smell of oil. Obviously it’s early days yet and tests on soil samples will have to be performed to identify the substance – but that’s what it smelled like.

Many residents will probably look forward to hearing how extensive this contamination is and what steps might be taken to clean it up.  Hopefully the affected area is small and well localized and can be easily dealt with.

Note:  Needless to say, we are not engineers but to pick an information source at random (http://www.oilspillprevention.org/oil-spill-cleanup/land-oil-spill-cleanup ) we learned that “… recovery of spilled oil is a top priority, as it can leach into groundwater or enter rivers and streams as run-off” and although one would expect translocation or leaching of hydrocarbons sub-surface to be a fairly prolonged process the groundwater in town drains towards the river.

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