A previously unknown 20,000-gallon underground tank containing kerosene was dug up and removed from a park directly in front of the El Garces Hotel in Needles, Calif., a few days ago, reported the Mohave Daily News.
Needles public works director Marc Richards explained how the tank was discovered:
Richards said the tank was discovered while crew members were digging to put in a 15-inch pipe for utility purposes. At present, the work being doing at the El Garces includes adding what is referred to as a civil package, which means infrastructure for utilities such as plumbing and electricity.
That work was interrupted when construction crews discovered the tank, he said. Because of the potential environmental concerns, it had to be removed.
Richards said the tank still had kerosene inside that was removed first. About 7,800 gallons of the liquid was removed.
Then the tank itself had to be dug out of the ground and removed, he said. This meant getting a crane to lift it out of the ground. It was then placed on a flatbed truck.
Richards speculated the tank was used by El Garces many decades ago for heating and lighting. No one was sure how long the tank had been there.
Unfortunately, the discovery likely will add a delay to the El Garces restoration project. It’s probable some of the kerosene leaked out, contaminating the soil. The soil must be removed and incinerated, and it’s uncertain how the city will pay for this.
El Garces opened in 1908 as a Harvey House, and the complex closed in 1988. Allan Affeldt, who guided the resurrection of La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., is pursuing the restoration of El Garces.
(Hat tip to Jeff Meyer and Gerry Gall; image of El Garces by cogdogblog via Flickr)