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Land Revitalization Spring '08 Newsletter – Closure of Oil Storage Plant in Abingdon, Virginia Leads to Opening of Walgreens

Overcoming the obstacle of persistent groundwater contamination, a Walgreens retail store has opened in Abingdon, Virginia on the site of the former Buck Oil Bulk Storage Plant.  This is good news for that site, in particular, and for the local environment, in general.  The site is being cleaned up, and open space will be preserved.

Buck Oil facility before redevelopment

Buck Oil facility before redevelopment

            In 2006 the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Southwest Regional Office was notified that leaks had occurred at two underground storage tanks that were removed during the closure of the Buck Oil facility.  The leaks were confirmed by soil samples that were collected upon removal of a 20,000 gallon underground diesel tank and a 4,000 gallon underground gasoline tank.

            The owners of the Buck Oil storage plant reportedly decided to close their facility after being approached by representatives of Walgreens, Inc., who were interested in the developing the property for commercial use.  So, in 2006 the site’s office building and garage were demolished, and the asphalt parking lot was removed.  The remaining petroleum storage tanks, piping, and related equipment were also removed from the site.  Several feet of fill material was added to the site during the pre-construction activities.

Walgreens on former site of Buck Oil.

Walgreens on former site of Buck Oil.


            The groundwater contamination was later discovered using direct push technology or DPT.  DPT is done by driving, pushing, and/or vibrating small-diameter hollow steel rods into the ground. By attaching sampling tools to the end of the steel rods they can be used to collect soil, soil-gas, and groundwater samples. The DPT wells were properly abandoned before construction of the store building.  After the store was built, DEQ staff requested that long-term monitoring wells be installed across the site to replace the DPT wells<

            At this time, dissolved phase petroleum contamination concentrations at the site persist at relatively low levels.  Due to the presence of a stream on the adjacent property, groundwater monitoring will continue, per DEQ’s request, for another year.

Article contributed by
Chad Quesenberry
Petroleum Storage Tank Program
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
caquesenberry@deq.virginia.gov

Return to Spring 2008 Newsletter

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


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