By Andrea Arnold
Long time residents of McBride will remember how the empty lot on the side of Main Street as you enter town used to house the Chevron gas and service station.
The station served the community from 1973 to 2009, and the site has sat empty, with a chain link fence around it, for the past 14 years.
That’s now changing as the company prepares to remediate the site to prepare to sell it.
“There is no established timeline for this type of activity and a variety of factors influence work including monitoring activities, availability of external contractors and Chevron resources and the potential future use of a site,” said Jennifer Werbicki, Communications Advisor Corporate Affairs with Chevron. “Chevron Canada has now directed additional resources and activities toward the McBride property.”
The Village of McBride met with representatives from Chevron Canada in early August to discuss the corporation’s plans for site testing, remediation and, potentially, divestment of the property at 655 Main Street, said the Village’s Economic Development Officer Karen Dubé.
In early September, Chevron began taking steps visible to the public towards remediation.
Wervicki said remediation can involve numerous work activities such as monitoring and sampling, delineation of contaminants, as well as treatment, removal and transport of regulated contaminants.
Over the past almost decade and a half, Chevron has conducted periodic testing in order to adhere to their commitment to protect people and the environment through responsible environmental management. Webicki said this testing was to determine delineation of any contaminants that may still remain in the ground associated with the operations of the gas station.
Drilling around the site to collect soil samples for lab analysis has been completed and still has plans to complete drilling on the section of Main Street adjacent to the site. Dubé says Chevron Canada has committed to keep the Village and community informed of the work schedule in order to minimize disruptions to traffic flow and to ensure public and worker safety.
They are looking for compounds that may have been left behind or leaked into the ground around the station. These include various hydrocarbons, metals and other specific chemicals.
“Some of the boreholes will be converted to groundwater monitoring wells that allow us to periodically collect samples from the shallow groundwater and send them to a laboratory for analysis,” said Werbicki.
In order for the site to be declared remediated, Chevron Canada must obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the B.C. Ministry of Environment.
Prior to being able to sell a property like the old Chevron site, the B.C. Ministry of Environment regulations for any industrial or commercial purposes such as petroleum retailing must be followed. These state that the owner must determine if there is any contamination on site, and if there is, complete full remediation to an agreed and prescribed standard before selling the property.
“Once the remediation has been completed and approved by the B.C. Ministry of Environment, they issue a Certificate of Compliance enabling the owner to sell the property,’ said Werbicki.
The drilling portion of the process was scheduled to take a few weeks. According to Dubé the testing they conduct during this time will inform remediation plans over the next 2-3 years. She also said Chevron Canada noted that they would like to work with the Village to ensure the site is visually appealing and well maintained during this time.
Werbicki said at this time, no concrete plan for the property has been made, but that Chevron Canada is in discussion with the Village of McBride. Dubé confirmed that the Village of McBride looks forward to more conversations with Chevron Canada as the goal of complete compliance is in sight.