The latest obstacle to Annapolis' reconstruction of State Circle has been overcome.
The city removed two fuel-oil tanks from School Street near the Governor's Mansion on Monday and drained and cleaned a third that had been leaking, city Public Works Director William Campbell said.
The city will install a monitoring well to see how deep the oil has traveled from the third tank, Campbell said.
The state Department of the Environment ordered the test because leaking tanks can pose a serious environmental threat. Oil and gas can seep into waterways and ground water supplies.
Campbell said he doesn't think the oil could have traveled deep enough to reach the aquifer, and probably doesn't pose much of a threat.
The city will pay for the work on the three tanks, which are similar to heating oil tanks found in many homes. But Campbell said he hopes to make the as-yet-undetermined owners reimburse the city once the work is done.
Under state law, property owners with underground tanks on their land are responsible for their upkeep, including removal and environmental testing.
Three other tanks were found by the city on Francis Street several weeks ago, but the city filled and buried them because they were too close to a gas line to be moved, Campbell said. The owners of the tanks will have to pay to pump them clean and fill them with a watery gravel mixture to keep them in place, he said. That could mean tearing up a few bricks on the street.
The $2.8 million State Circle renovation has been under way since March.
Merchants on Maryland Avenue have complained the project has taken too long already and has disrupted business. The city reopened State Circle near Maryland Avenue recently.
Campbell hopes the latest delay in the reconstruction will be a brief one. "I don't think we lost any time," he said. "But we'll keep our fingers crossed on it."
The city hopes to complete the work by Dec. 1, he said.