Environmental experts conducted what they said have become routine monitoring and extractions of gas under the parking lot at the Lewis Johnson Senior Complex last week, and according to the city manager, the work isn’t costing Grenada a penny.
Senior Manager Bruce Tease of Environ Global said Thursday that he and his colleagues had been monitoring remediation wells, which are openings in the ground, that reach down 20 feet, and allow workers to assess the level of gas that has leaked into the soil. This also allows ventilation, which hastens evaporation.
Environ is an international environmental consulting and health sciences firm with offices in Louisiana.
The work is being paid for by the company that sold the land to the city, which City Manager Charles “Jo Jo” Weathers said was Soutland Oil Company. The company formerly operated two gas stations and a bulk storage facility for gas on the spot where the Senior Complex is located.
“That was part of the agreement between the city and Southland for the purchase,” said Weathers. “Southland would pay for ongoing remediation, or cleaning of the ground.”
Tease and his colleagues were ventilating gas, extracting the vapors, then shipping the water by-product to a facility in Alabama where it would be disposed of, he said.
Weathers said he did not have figures immediately available as to how much the city paid Southland for the property, although officials connected to the project told the GrenadaStar in 2010 that it was scheduled to cost around $1.5 million. Some of that money came in the form of bonds from organizations like the Mississippi Development Authority and the U.S. Development Authority, officials said.
The two gas stations formerly on the property had below-ground storage tanks. One was located on the southeastern corner of the parking lot. That tank is still underground.
The other station’s tank is buried approximately where the yellow, center line is on MLK, near the northeastern corner of the Senior Complex parking lot, Tease said.
Underground tanks leak, and the gas gets into the soil and contaminates it, Tease said. That’s why he and his men have been monitoring the ground and performing extractions.