Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Unexpected Find

 Bruno's Pizza, Main Street

While maybe not as dramatic as uncovering an unexploded WW2 bomb, the surprising find on Main Street could probably have done almost as much damage:  two underground gas storage tanks, one 4,000 gallons the other 3,000 gallons, each with many hundreds of gallons of the dangerous liquid still in them, buried and forgotten for almost 100 years.

Looks like something dropped from a B-52

The full-reconstruction Main Street road project, which is expected to be completed next week, as it made its way up towards town center uncovered the long forgotten gas storage tanks, setting in motion a series of public safety responses.

Amherst Fire Department coordinated with Department of Environmental Protection and local Hazmat expert New England Environmental, Inc sampled the soil around the two tanks to test for contamination. And that is probably the only good news, as there was no leakage.

But the first tank had 1,000 gallons of gas and the second one 500 gallons that needed to be carefully siphoned into a truck with a large holding tank. Both underground tanks will stay where they lay but will be refilled with 3,300 gallons of concrete and paved over.
2nd tank was even closer to the building 

Apparently, well before the Main Street business became a pizza shop, it was an auto repair facility -- and since it was on heavily traveled Main Street, it also had gas pumps out front (one regular the other high test).

The shop became a pizza parlor in the early 1980s, called "Whole Wheat Pizza" and was one of the first establishments in Amherst to specilaize in delivery.

Bruno Matarazzo purchased the business in 1994 giving it a new name that it carries to this day.  Bruno sold the business and moved uptown, where he founded Antonio's Pizza. 


Anonymous said...

New England Environmental does great work. If Lyons was involved in this project, the town is in good hands.

Anonymous said...

Underground storage tanks from 1912? I don't think so.

Larry Kelley said...

I guess it depends on how you define "almost".

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that - during the gas shortages of the 1970s -- no one who knew about it wouldn't have been using it.

Dr. Ed said...

A friend of mine in the DEP said that this is far more common than you might think -- that it is quite easy to "forget" about a tank when removing it is going to cost you quite a bit of money -- and she said she really was surprised that none of them were leaking.