Cumberland Farms project before City Council

WESTFIELD – During a public hearing Thursday night, the City Council posed many of the same questions pertaining to installation of two fuel tanks at the proposed Cumberland Farms convenience store as the Planning Board and Conservation Commission, which are both currently conducting their own reviews of the project.
Details of the project were presented by Attorney Thomas Murphy and Project Manager Patrick O’Leary, P.E. of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) and on behalf of the developer, First Hartford Realty Corp., of Manchester, Conn., which will sell the land and building, when completed, to Cumberland Farms corporation.
The application pending before the City Council is for the two underground fuel tanks that will store 32,000 gallons of gasoline and 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
William E. Baird of Web Engineering Associates, Inc. of Norwell, the engineer who preformed a peer review of the tank design and installation, presented the technical details of the proposed tank installation and answered questions raised by council members about the reliability of the double-hulled tanks.
The developer is seeking approval of a site plan and stormwater management plan, permits issued by the Planning Board, to construct a 4,500 store with 26 parking spaces and five fuel islands with a total of 10 fueling positions, two for diesel and eight for gasoline dispensing. The facility will be constructed on 1.17 acres of land that is now a primarily wooded and undeveloped site on the southwest corner of the intersection of Southampton (Route 10) and North (Route 202) roads.
The focus of that discussion Thursday was the proximity of the convenience store, and fuel storage tanks, to the Barnes Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to Westfield, Holyoke, Southampton and Easthampton. The proposed store site is about 950 feet from to the Barnes Aquifer protection district, but is not included in the aquifer overlay protection district. The Arm Brook wet lands, located directly behind the proposed store site, are also not included in the aquifer protection zone.
Baird said there is no record of the double-hulled tanks failing and that the tanks will be anchored because they will be installed in soil where the natural water table is only five feet below the surface, so the tanks will “float” in the groundwater. The space between the two walls if filled with brine and monitored by several sensors to determine if either tank wall is breached.
Several residents of that area also raised questions and offered suggestions to the council members
Ruth Corell of 1277 Southampton Road said the boundaries of the aquifer are estimates and have not been determined through scientific investigation.
“Nobody seems to know the exactly where the aquifer is located,” Corell said.
Guy Dangelo of 700 North Road said residents, most of whom have shallow wells, already have problems with salt, from decades of road salting, in their well water.
“Most of our wells are polluted with salt.  We don’t need to be adding gasoline to that mix,” Dangelo said.
Edward Ziskowski of 34 Northridge Road said that similar tank license requests at that intersection have been denied in the past because of the proximity to the Barnes Aquifer and the fact that the intersection is higher in elevation than the aquifer protection zone. Ziskowski suggested that the city require Cumberland Farms to provide a bond or insurance policy to protect the city’s financial interest if there is ever a leak releasing fuel to the soil.
Council President Brian Sullivan closed the hearing, but said that the License Committee will have access to the findings and conditions established through the Planning Board and Conservation Commission before bringing the underground tank storage license back to the full City Council for a vote.

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