(Kansas City, Kan., July 24, 2012) - EPA Region 7 and its contractors have begun work to remove an underground storage tank from a former automotive garage in Omaha, Neb., as one step of clearing the way for city authorities to redevelop the property as part of a planned $5 million low-income housing project.
The former Strehlow Garage, at 2107 N. 16th Street in Omaha, is currently owned by the Omaha Housing Authority (OHA), which plans to transfer ownership of the property to the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) for inclusion in the housing project after the tank removal and related environmental assessment work is completed. The removal work is necessary to allow for the sampling of subsurface soil and groundwater beneath the tank.
Funding for removal of the tank and the other site assessment work, totaling approximately $60,000, is being provided by EPA Region 7’s Targeted Brownfields Assessment Program. The program is designed to assist states, tribes and local governments to minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with brownfields properties.
Brownfields are those properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands.
The former Strehlow Garage property was recommended to EPA by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). NDEQ, along with OHA and OEDC, applied to EPA Region 7 for funding to conduct a dual-phase environmental site assessment. That assessment includes removal of the underground tank, screening the garage building for asbestos, lead and other hazards; and environmental sampling of subsurface soil and groundwater.
EPA Region 7’s Storage Tanks and Oil Pollution branch has worked with the region’s Targeted Brownfields Assessment Program to prepare for the tank’s removal and facilitate with NDEQ when necessary.
Contractors working under the supervision of EPA staff will prepare the site today for the removal of the tank, which is presumed to have stored gasoline, oil or other petroleum products while the automotive garage was in operation. The process of removing the tank and conducting the environmental assessment work at the site should be completed by the end of the week.