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State examining BNSF property

Thu., July 26, 2012

Oil contamination probe in Hillyard

BNSF Railway Co. and Marathon Oil Co. may have to do some cleanup in Hillyard if an investigation prompted by the Washington state Department of Ecology shows petroleum-related contamination.

The site being investigated is on BNSF’s property near 3202 E. Wellesley Ave. and, according to the Department of Ecology, located directly above the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.

The aquifer provides drinking water to more than 620,000 residents in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area.

BNSF has already removed one 50-foot diameter above-ground tank, along with contaminated soil found underneath it.

“Groundwater samples from eight monitoring wells near the site of the old tank contain petroleum product,” wrote Jani Gilbert, Ecology’s spokesperson. “However, current information indicates that drinking water has not been affected by the site’s contamination.”

The Ecology Department is inviting the public to review and comment on a draft agreement that would require BNSF and Marathon Oil to further investigate the site, as part of a cleanup plan for the property.

The documents, including a plan outlining the complete cleanup of the site, are available by appointment at Ecology’s Spokane office, 4601 N. Monroe St., and at the Spokane Library’s Hillyard Branch, 4005 N. Cook St.

Comments may be mailed to Jeremy Schmidt, Washington state Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205, or emailed to

Comments will be accepted through Aug. 20.

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