Shop sale stalls

Land Steamboat wants may be contaminated

The $220,000 sale of the old Moffat County Road and Bridge shop to the city of Steamboat Springs hit another snag Tuesday on fears the property may be contaminated.

Officials from the city of Steamboat Springs told Moffat County commissioners at Tuesday's meeting that soil tests at the property, 616 E. Victory Way, revealed large quantities of what could be diesel fuel.

An independent laboratory is testing the soil to confirm the presence of diesel fuel. Officials expect lab results within two weeks.

Commissioners in September voted to sell the 1.4-acre property to Steamboat Springs Transit. Steamboat wants to use the property for a park-and-ride depot to serve commuters from Craig.

Commissioners were supposed to sign a contract finalizing the sale in November.

But commissioners delayed the signing, citing concerns about the contract language and who would clean up scrap metal if the shop building were razed.

In December, the city of Steamboat hired Northwest Colo--rado Consultants, a Steam--boat environmental engineering firm, to test the soil at the property.

Winnie DelliQuadri, with Steamboat Springs intergovernmental services, said officials expected the soil to have some contaminants, such as diesel fuel, because the site was used to fuel and service vehicles.

But officials didn't expect to find what she described as "free-flowing diesel."

Some question remains about how the diesel fuel ended up in the soil.

The county once stored diesel in underground tanks at the site. But in 1988, the tanks were drained and filled with sand, said Road and Bridge director Bill Mack.

Also, the diesel that consultants found in the soil was clear. Government entities, including Road and Bridge, use red-dyed fuel, DelliQuadri said.

A layer of clay could have trapped the fuel when the county still used the facility, DelliQuadri said. Or there could be another source, she said.

The site borders a Kum & Go gas station.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to hire Northwest Colorado Consultants to conduct more soil tests.

Commissioners said they hope the tests, which they expect to cost about $10,000, will determine the source of the fuel.

"We would still love to purchase it," said George Krawzoff, director of Steamboat Transit. "But we have got to resolve this."

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