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Port runs into design flaw removing tanks

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — Following the installation of two new 12,000-gallon gas tanks at the Kingston Marina, the Port of Kingston commissioners were looking forward to the removal of the old, 10,000-gallon containers and the completion of the job. As crews began the process Monday, however, they ran into a bit of a snag in the form of the Port of Kingston building.

When the smaller tanks were first installed in 1964, it was likely there was not a firm plan on where to put them, said POK Commissioner Marc Bissonnette. The current building was constructed around 1984, and the plans the designer used must have been inaccurate, because one of the tanks is now located under a corner of the structure, he said.

“We still have to do remediation around it,” Bissonnette said. “We’ve determined half the problem, we want to just get it all out of there.”

Unfortunately, the tank’s removal would destabilize the building, so the commissioners and staff decided the best route to take would be to fill it with concrete and check the surrounding soil regularly for contamination. The process will include remediation, on-site monitoring and potentially inserting chemicals into the container to nullify the gasoline it held, Bissonnette said. The tank was filled Thursday while the other one was removed Tuesday.

“It makes it just a big rock,” said POK Commissioner Pete DeBoer Wednesday. “One came out yesterday and is on it’s way to wherever the tanks go to retire.”

The new tanks were installed this past spring, and the port has been working off the new system since then, one that is more state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly. The POK was waiting for soil samples to be returned, they were due sometime last week, to determine if any contamination occurred while the old tanks were in place.

“There’s not a strong smell of fuel in the area,” Bissonnnette said. “We haven’t had any big leaks, so we’re pretty lucky. I think we have to do a pressure test annually on those (new) tanks... No one told us to take them out, we’re being pro-active.”

The tank project was a facet of the POK’s Master Plan, which also includes new landscaping near the port building, the fire lane near the port being replaced with grass pavers and the construction of a kayak and small boat house.

The boat house is undergoing a redesign, DeBoer said, because the original plan for the floating shed would have proved too expensive.

“What people really want are storage racks and a place to launch kayaks,” he said. “This little house wasn’t going to do it.”

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