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Land Revitalization Fall '05 Newsletter – Walgreens Turns Community Liabilities into Community Assets in Maryland

In order to redevelop two former service station properties in Baltimore County, the Maryland Department of the Environment has been cooperating with the national pharmacy chain Walgreens. By moving forward with the developments, Walgreens has taken underutilized, contaminated properties and made them productive, aesthetically pleasing, and a service to their communities.

Compass Road Location

Walgreens parking lotToday, a busy Walgreens Pharmacy occupies the corner of Compass Road and Martin Boulevard in the Middle River area of Baltimore County. As customers go about their business, they don't even know that a groundwater monitoring network exists below the surface of the parking lot.

The monitoring wells are charting the progress of a groundwater pump and treat system, installed in 1991, to remove subsurface gasoline from this former Shell service station site. A soil vacuum extraction system is also busily cleaning the site. These recovery systems have removed over 9,200 gallons of gasoline from underground.

The now redeveloped Walgreens site hasn't always been such a success story. It had a history of groundwater and soil contamination dating back to 1982. The first monitoring wells were installed on the site after the failure of tightness tests on the underground storage tanks. Over 21 monitoring wells were installed on the site during several stages of an ever-expanding groundwater plume investigation.

After demolition of the service station building in February 2000, Walgreens became interested in the property. However, their interest only remained strong, as long as the responsible party and the MDE could ensure that the existing contamination would not threaten their building or cause construction delays. The MDE agreed to remove a number of monitoring wells, reviewed construction plans for the new building, and worked with the company during the construction phase.

Through the cooperation of MDE, the responsible party, Shell Oil Company, and Walgreens, a site that would have been another abandoned service station is now a productive commercial enterprise serving the citizens of Middle River.

Baltimore National Pike and Ingleside Avenue Location

Walgreens Pharmacy has moved forward in developing a second service station site in Maryland. This 3.25-acre development involved several underutilized parcels of land in the Westview community just west of the Baltimore City limits.

The Westview area struggles to maintain businesses and provide services to the community of mixed income families. The parcels were the former location of a closed restaurant, a used car lot, and a single-family home. The used car lot was a gasoline service station from 1958 through 1987.

Despite an in-depth Phase I and Phase II report, during initial construction activities abandoned underground storage tanks were discovered on the former service station property. It appears that these tanks were abandoned prior to the enacting of state regulations that now require such tanks to be removed. Immediately, MDE, the general contractor, and the property management company responded to the situation.

In total, four underground storage tanks were discovered and removed. Two of the tanks were 550 gallons and two were 1,000 gallons in capacity. Due to MDE's quick response and cooperation of the developer the tank removal action was able to take place without stoppage to the site construction activities. The MDE provided on site evaluation of the tanks and soil with a goal of advancing the construction activities without delay. To date, soil sampling has revealed that the environmental impact is minimal from these old, recently discovered tanks.

This article was contributed by:
Herb Meade
Oil Control Program
Maryland Department of the Environment

Return to the Fall 2005 Land Revitalization Newsletter

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization

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