Two abandoned oil tanks removed from Main Street in Peterborough

  • Two concrete-filled oil tanks were removed from beneath Lower Main Street in Peterborough over Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

  • Two concrete-filled oil tanks were removed from beneath lower Main Street in Peterborough over Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/17/2019 3:23:48 PM

Lower Main Street in Peterborough was completely closed for several hours Wednesday evening and Thursday for the removal of two decommissioned and abandoned oil tanks buried beneath the on-street parking area outside of Maggie’s Marketplace.

The tanks were part of a gas station previously on the site, and decommissioned in the 1980s.

Deputy town manager Nicole MacStay said the tanks were discovered about a month ago when a trench was being dug across the road.

“The more road projects that happen, the more tanks they find,” said Matt Jones of the Department of Environmental Services.

He said the tanks were being removed by the MtBE Remediation Bureau of the DES, which is dedicated to mitigating MtBE and other contaminants from sites with active and abandoned oil tanks, such as gas stations. The Bureau was formed in 2014 based on a settlement from oil companies, he said. 

Although the tanks were filled with sand and cement, which was legal prior to December 1985, current policy is to remove decommissioned tanks. Jones said the only time a tank would be left in place nowadays is if its removal would cause damage to an overlying or adjacent structure.

Bystanders estimated the smaller tank, which was being pulled out of the ground on Thursday afternoon, contained at least 71,000 pounds of concrete. 


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