Fuel leak at
Express Staff Writer
five months since gasoline was detected in soils near the Redfish Lake
Lodge gas station in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, though little
has been done to clean up or fix the problem since then.
of the contamination is not yet fully known, and sufficient clean-up
measures are not yet in place, said Barbara Jewell, regional manager for
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
seeped from the gas station into soils just several hundred feet from the
shores of Redfish Lake, which is a known spawning habitat for endangered
sockeye salmon. It is also several miles upstream from the spawning
habitat for endangered chinook salmon.
leaky line connecting the station’s fuel tanks and pumps was reported by
the lodge’s manager on June 4, and gas pump operations were suspended
upon detection of the leak. Officials do not know how long the leakage
occurred or how extensively the contamination spread in the area’s soils
and water table.
are sure, however, that the contamination has found its way into the area’s
in the ground water. The ground water has been impacted," Jewell
a DEQ consent order, which sets up remediation standards and timelines,
was not signed by the lodge’s manager, Jeff Clegg, by an Oct. 9
deadline. And the consent order remained unsigned as of late last week.
have not done a full assessment" of the contamination, Jewell said.
the DEQ is going to give Clegg a few more days to sign the consent order
before imposing a mandatory schedule and criteria for cleanup.
Lake Lodge were to fail to comply with a mandatory schedule and criteria,
the DEQ could impose a maximum fine of $10,000 or $1,000 per day that the
schedule is not followed.
would have been a plus to have the contamination fully characterized and
to have a remediation system in place that would cover that, but I don’t
think they would have been able to get fully cleaned up by the
spring," Jewell said. "We’ll be looking at ongoing remediation
in the spring."
consultant, chosen by a gasoline tank insurance company and working for
Clegg, is currently working to install a remediation system, Jewell said.
The system will blow air into the ground water, which will transform the
gasoline into a vapor before it is drawn out using a vacuum system.
geologic setting that characterizes Redfish Lake, sands and gravels, is a
good medium for that technology to work to clean up ground water,"
she said the system is set up to use three monitoring wells that were
installed adter detection of the contamination.
are needed to "collect appropriate data to complete the initial site
characterization," SNRA permit administrator Alison Nelson said.
Service, however, is not directly involved in the cleanup, said Sawtooth
National Forest spokesman Ed Waldapfel.
far as we’re concerned, at this point, we’re satisfied with how the
state is handling it," he said. Redfish Lake Lodge has not violated
any of the terms of its operating permit with the Forest Service, he said.
originally suspected a leaky line connecting the gas station’s storage
tanks to its pumps as the source of the contamination, but Jewell said the
DEQ is requesting that Clegg go ahead and test the tanks "because we’re
not absolutely, positively sure that the leak has only been occurring
through the lines."
got to rule out that the tanks have been leaking themselves," she
the difficulties, Jewell said, is the insurance company, the Petroleum
Storage Tank Fund.
have not been very forthcoming with their information," she said.
insurance company has been directing the site investigation and cleanup
efforts, though Clegg is the legally responsible party.
the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund were not available for comment.