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Yellowstone: Environmental Quality Team Up to Clean Up Underground Contamination

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avatar Yellowstone: Environmental Quality Team Up to Clean Up Underground Contamination
July 30, 2009 07:10PM
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

July 30, 2009 09-061
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015

Yellowstone and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
Team Up to Clean Up Underground Contamination

Efforts to clean up underground contamination in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area will soon be underway, thanks to a joint partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WYDEQ).

In the world’s first national park there is an ongoing challenge to bring technologies of the past into the present in order to meet modern standards of sound en¬vironmental practices. Within Yellowstone, seven sites have been identified as needing remediation. One such site is the building that houses the NPS maintenance shops at Canyon. The remaining six sites are operated by park concessioners and are as follows: Bridge Bay Marina and service stations at Grant Village, Fishing Bridge, Lake, Canyon and the Old Faithful Lower Station. One additional privately-owned site, located near Cody, Wyoming, will also undergo remediation.

At each of these sites, soil and/or groundwater contamination has been discovered. In most cases this contamination is the result of natural wear and corrosion of underground storage tanks and pipes.

Ensuring the health of local ecosystems and park visitors is a main priority of Yellowstone and the National Park Service. Yellowstone National Park is eager to work with WYD¬EQ on these clean-up efforts as part of its commitment to health and safety issues.

Remediation planning efforts have been spearheaded by WYDEQ as part of the department’s Storage Tank Program (STP), which cleans up releases from regulated underground storage tanks statewide. The cost for Yellowstone National Park’s clean-up effort is estimated at $3.9 million dollars and will be funded through an account specifically designated for such STP projects.

Contractors for the project have already been selected and the construction and installation of remediation and monitoring systems is slated to be completed by late fall 2009. The NPS will provide technical expertise, logistical support and continued monitoring.

Once in place, these systems will be maintained until monitoring shows that contamination levels have fallen into the range deemed acceptable by the State of Wyoming. WYDEQ expects that it will take between 4 and 10 years for that goal to be achieved.

"This joint project with the Wyoming DEQ is an excellent example of what can be achieved when government agencies collaborate to create effective environmental solutions, helping to preserve and protect this very special place," said Jim Evanoff, Yellowstone’s Environmental Protection Specialist.
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