Joliet in last phase of Cass Street cleanup

Underground fuel tank leaked at city street department facility

Joliet city fueling station along East Cass Street.

Joliet plans to wrap up remediation at the Cass Street site of a once leaking city fuel tank by assuring environmental regulators that groundwater at the site will not be used for drinking.

The underground tank was put out of service two years ago. It is one of two at the fueling station that is part of a city-owned street department facility at 818 E. Cass St. The fuel pumps are used for city vehicles.

Public Works Director Greg Ruddy said the leak was minor and the city was not required to remove contaminated soil as part of the remediation.

Gregory Ruddy, Director Of Public Works at City of Joliet, speaks at Monday’s Public Service Committee Meeting on December 5th.

“We’ve been working through the remediation process with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency,” Ruddy told the City Council Public Service Committee on Monday. “We’re coming to the end of that process.”

Ending the process includes a city ordinance that bans the use of groundwater on the site for drinking water.

The site covered by the groundwater ban does not extend to any privately owned properties next to the city site. But it does include the section of Cass Street at 818 E. Cass St. The fuel pumps are near the street.

“We consulted with our public utilities department,” Ruddy told the committee. “There are no intentions of ever pumping groundwater there.”

There are no wells on the site now, he said.

The committee without discussion voted 3-0 to recommend approval of the groundwater use restriction ordinance sought by the EPA. The ordinance will go to the full City Council for a vote, probably later this month.

Joliet city fueling station along East Cass Street.

The city gets its water from wells but is in the process of changing to a new system in which most city water will be piped in from Lake Michigan.

Ruddy said outside of the meeting that consultants hired for the remediation determined that there was no hole in the tank. But the leak could have occurred from overfills or a loose joint, he said.

The tank is still in the ground. But the city plans to remove and replace it next year, Ruddy said.

Eight monitoring wells were drilled to look for contamination, he said. Contamination was found at three of the wells.

“It wasn’t significant,” Jeff Price, director of fleet services for the city, said of the contamination.

Price said the groundwater use restriction ordinance when it is approved by the city is “the absolute last step” in the remediation process.

The city looks to receive a No Further Remediation Letter from the IEPA.