The city of Fulton will likely pay a fine to the state for failing to test and repair underground gasoline storage tanks at an abandoned gas station seized by the city for unpaid taxes.
Mayor Ron Woodward said the state Department of Environmental Conservation inspected the former Valero gas station at 48 W. 1st St. S, near Price Chopper, on Nov. 9.
Woodward said he was surprised to learn that the state requires the owner of a closed gas station property to conduct sampling and work from checklists just as if the station was open. The city was issued citations by the DEC.
“The citations (from the state) relevant to the gas station were Greek to me and the Council, so we hired an expert,” Woodward said.
City Aldermen recently hired Shumaker Consulting Engineering and Land Surveying to oversee the removal of the underground tanks, at a cost of $13,800. The consultants will also help screen the contractors that bid on the job of removing the tanks, a project that the consultant estimates will cost about $25,000. If the soil around the tanks is contaminated with gasoline or another chemical, the cost could go higher.
The consultant urged the state to set aside a small amount of money for a possible DEC fine for failing to maintain the tanks.
Woodward said the city will have to borrow money to pay for the project.
Woodward said six 55-gallon drums stored behind the store will also need to be dealt with. Some contain a mixture of gas and water and will have to be dealt with according to state rules.
The city sits down with DEC officials on Dec. 22 to discuss the citations.
The property was seized from its owner, Alaskan Oil, Inc. in April, 2009 for failing to pay property taxes. Its 2009 tax bill was $6,413.74, according to the county’s real property database. $3,985.69 of that amount was owed to the city. The property was assessed at $243,000.
Properties are usually taken at tax foreclosure after several years of unpaid or underpaid taxes.