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Exxon Mobil Role in Cleanup from Gasoline Spill

The Record was unable to reach Exxon Mobil for comment before press time last week, but this week Amy Blanchett, their public and government affairs spokesperson confirmed and amplified information provided to us from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Various reports from groundwater testing had shown high concentrations of MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, an oxygenate added to gasoline and later found to be a contaminant when it reaches water supplies, banned as an additive to gasoline by New York State in 2004.

Ms. Blanchett reports that Exxon Mobil had installed a total of 5 on-site monitoring wells at the location of the gas station at 788 Middle Neck Road. In February of 2008, they installed three more testing wells in the Steamboat Road right-of-way.

Exxon Mobil is still in negotiations with the Village of Great Neck to install more testing wells off-site, a plan approved by the DEC. Kleinfelder of Bohemia, NY is the engineering firm they are using for the work.

In addition, Exxon Mobil proposes to use a field screening and sampling tool with the trade name, HydroPunch, which gives quicker “real-time” data that is useful in mapping the size, shape and depth of any plume of contamination. A series of 1-inch rods are drilled underground at regular intervals and the groundwater samples obtained will be submitted to a New York State Department of Health approved laboratory for 24-hour turnaround time analysis for benezene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and MTBE.

As reported last week, quicker “mapping” of a plume is essential for more effective remediation.

The service station was closed and the dealer vacated the property in February of 2010. The station is currently on the market for sale. Ms. Blanchett wrote in an email, “Any sale of the property will not affect Exxon Mobil’s obligations to remediate the property as required by the NYSDEC.”