Saturday, November 18, 2006

Losing our post office?

We here in The South of Iowa are in jeopardy of losing our US post office, with our mail service being merged with a neighboring town. Sound ridiculous? Here's how...

This summer, a rather foul odor started permeating through the buildings on the north side of Main St (where the post office is located at). Upon further investigation, it was found that a fuel oil tank used to heat one building had leaked. The fuel drained into the basement of the nearby buildings, soaking into the floor trusses.

The next building over was used as a residence. The owner of that property has since moved out - she had just remodeled the place. It shares a common basement with the post office, and further away, the library. The odors permeating from the basement caused concern with the postal workers, such that the issue has been brought to the attention of higher ups in the postal system.

Air samples have been taken in the post office, and if found to be unsafe, would force the post office to temporarily relocate. If a temporary location cannot be found in town, our mail service could be permanently moved to another town.

I'm also concerned that if the odor is unsafe, it would essentially condemn the block of buildings located there, built about 100 years ago. The lower levels include the library, post office, and residence; the upper levels are meeting rooms for the IOOF and Masons. Would the buildings need to be destroyed to effectively clean up the mess? I hope not.

My question about the whole issue is this: Why hasn't the person who's fuel oil tank leaked in the first place come forward and taken responsibility? The DNR has not assessed any penalty to him; I'm sure if he ran some manure down a dry ditch and killed a couple of frogs he'd be in big trouble, but allowing fuel oil to permeate a residence and US government office's basement must not be a big deal to the DNR...


Anonymous bearhollow said...

Minnesota and Wisconsin have a per-gallon fee on all gallons sold in their states for leaking underground storage tanks like this. I'm surprised the DNR has not traced the ownership and stuck them with the bill for remediation.

10:59 AM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

The ownership is known and obvious in this case. The tank is ABOVE ground, and it still leaked.

7:04 PM, November 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF the tank is ABOVE ground, as stated in the above post, the DNR is not responsible for their regulation. (I'm certainly NOT an advocate for the DNR, bur fair is fair).

According to Iowa Code, the State Fire Marshal regulates above ground tanks.

Rattle their chain and see what happens.

10:24 AM, November 19, 2006  

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