Environmental Enlightenment #113

By Ami Adini - Reissued April 01, 2015

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never known the meaning of.

Exploding Grounds

A street widening project. A section of a property along the street has been acquired by the City and a new sidewalk is being constructed. The construction crew encounters a buried 1.5” steel pipe running across the intended side walk.
  Using an electric saw they start cutting. The sawed side of the pipe emits a puff of smoke and six feet away a crater opens up with a volcanic blast throwing dirt and rock. By sheer luck, nobody gets injured.

  We are called upon to investigate. We find two historical 500 gallon gasoline tanks buried underground with piping running to the locations of historical pumps some 30 feet away. The tank that connects to the sawed pipe is the one that exploded. Its end is ripped open. The sawed pipe used to be a vent line.


First - safety: Never perform hot work on abandoned buried piping until it has been traced to its origin. As a minimum, sniff the interior atmosphere and determine if it is explosive.

Second - real estate transaction: A qualified environmental assessor conducting the Phase One Environmental Site Assessment process would have been likely to find historical evidence of the tanks. Investigation of old building permits, business permits, fire insurance maps, aerial photography, etc., would have had a good probability of locating data pointing to the historical tanks. Our after-the-fact interview of the site occupant revealed his detailed knowledge of the historic installation.

You can find past issues of our  "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.amiadini.com: Wealth of information about environmental site assessments in the real estate transactions and issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini
Ami Adini & Associates, Inc.
Environmental Consultants
Underground Storage Tank Experts
818-824-8102; 818-824-8112 fax

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI & ASSOCIATES, INC. (AA&A), an environmental consulting firm specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments and rehabilitation of contaminated sites. AA&A specializes in practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.