Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

Most of the soil and groundwater results came in for our Phase II project down in Silicon Valley. All looked initially good. We had some low level hits of diesel and motor oil range petroleum hydrocarbons in the groundwater, but no VOC hits in soil or groundwater. This is a bit unusual. Why no VOC or gasoline hits? You always expect some VOCs with a petroleum release. On face value this looked like a manageable problem - long term groundwater monitoring at worst was what I was seeing. I was still troubled by the source of the contamination. Where could these low level petroleum hits be coming from? Our investigation was really just a set of pin pricks into the ground. A potential source could lie under the buildings, which we could not access.

The other concern was we didn't yet have the parking lot results. They went to the lab late Friday. When those remaining results came in late Tuesday it was a shocker - big diesel and motor oil petroleum hits in groundwater. Again, nothing in soil and no VOC hits. The source was likely off site somewhere and potentially on the adjoining property that we initially investigated earlier in the week. We had no way to conclusively determine groundwater flow direction at this point. We had a notion of groundwater flow direction. However, below-ground parking garages were located on the neighboring properties. If these garages have sump pumps to keep groundwater out, then the pumping could locally influence groundwater flow direction.

Now we just have to wait and see where this goes next. It's in the hands of the buyer and seller, their attorneys, the lenders, and the insurance people.

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