Oil/Water Separators and Redevelopment of Commercial Properties
In the middle of developing a historic auto-body shop, a developer ran into an oil/water separator mounted in the ground below the floor.
A diagram of a typical separator:
One large box made of pre-cast concrete, internally subdivided into chambers that are accessed for cleanups through manhole covers constructed of steel plate.
This device is variously called a clarifier, grease trap, grease interceptor, oil-water separator, oil-sand-water separator, or similar.
Here’s how ours looked from the surface. You can see the manholes, both covered and with the cover plates removed.
Clarifiers of ages past have leaked into the subsurface environment; they therefore pose certain concerns in transactions with properties that have them installed. These concerns can be removed in most cases.
In the case in point, the clarifier was demolished, and the soil underneath sampled and tested for the contaminants of interest. The excavation was certified clean to the joy of all concerned.
The development proceeded full throttle.