SARANAC LAKE - A drilling crew has been installing monitoring wells this week to test for potential environmental contamination around a downtown gas station and convenience store.
As of Friday, groundwater monitoring wells have been drilled in at least five locations near Wilson Farms, located at the corner of Main and River streets across from the Harrietstown Town Hall.
7-Eleven Inc., which purchased the 188-store Wilson Farms chain in 2011, informed the village in June that it had been directed by the state to investigate potential environmental contamination in the area. It hired AECOM, an engineering firm, to oversee the installation of the monitoring wells and conduct an environmental assessment of the soil and groundwater around the gas station, according to a letter AECOM sent to village Manager John Sweeney, dated June 12.
A crew hired by the engineering firm AECOM drills a groundwater monitoring well next to the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake Friday.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Riverside Park, which is owned by the village, is one of the sites where the company has installed a monitoring well. At AECOM's request, the village board granted the company a temporary easement to drill a well there.
As of late Friday morning, monitoring wells had also been drilled in the gas station's parking lot, in front of the town hall and next to Little Italy restaurant, according to Steve Wright, an AECOM geologist overseeing the site work.
"We're just trying to make a big circle around the area to see what (environmental contamination) may be coming from (the gas station)," he said.
Wright told the Enterprise the drilling crew had been running into a lot of rock, so things were taking longer than expected.
Orange cones and barricades were set up to block off each well site, which will eventually be encased in a steel manhole box at or below ground level. The testing at each location will be conducted on a quarterly basis for roughly two years, the company's letter states.
Wright said he couldn't speak to what led to the investigation.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 spokesman David Winchell didn't immediately respond to a request for more information on the matter Friday. An email message to 7-Eleven spokesperson wasn't immediately returned Friday.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.