Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Old gasoline tanks removed from former Standard station

November 24, 1999

Mike Seymour figures he's saving big bucks by doing the digging himself.

With a Dec. 22 deadline approaching for removal of underground petroleum storage tanks, Seymour checked into the cost of taking out his four tanks.

"The cheapest bid was $12,000 just to remove the tanks and put them on the ground," Seymour said.

So Seymour did something that most people in his predicament probably don't do, and in the process, he said, he saved an estimated $10,000.

"I went to Topeka and got my own license to take them out," he said.

The license permits Seymour to remove the tanks on his own property, but not on anyone else's property. Seymour said.

"There's a $1,600 fine for removing underground storage tanks without a license," he explained.

Helping with the removal were Jack Willis, Ryan Dietrich and Mark Himpel, Seymour said. Heavy equipment belonging to Willis was used to dig out the tanks and pull them up on the ground.

Then the tanks were crushed and hauled to salvage yards in Kansas City, Mo., Seymour said.

The "haul" consisted of four tanks, Seymour said. Two of them had a 4,000 gallon capacity, one held 2,000 gallons and the other held 6,000 gallons.

"I probably have a couple of thousand dollars wrapped up in it," he said.

Seymour's father, William Francis Seymour, opened the Standard station in 1952, and ran it for 20 years. Mike Seymour bought the business from his father in 1973, stopped selling gasoline in 1991, and continued operating his automotive repair shop there until 1998.

Currently, he spends about half of the year working for the National Park Service at the Fort Larned National Historic Site in central Kansas.

Seymour said he postponed removing the underground tanks as long as he could.

"I'm like everybody else," he said. "I didn't want to do it."

But failure to remove them is serious business.

"Anybody who has tanks in the ground and knows they're in the ground has to have them taken out by Dec. 22, or serious consequences can occur," Seymour said.

Environmental geologists from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment took soil samples last week.

"They took seven or eight samples on site and all of them passed inspection," Seymour said.

However, if final results show there is contaminated soil, Dan Kellerman, of KDHE said there may be grant money available to help pay for clean up.

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