Friday, September 5, 2008

More Oil Runoff Problems at Metro's Ballston Bus Lot

Remember Metro's Ballston bus lot? The one that had oil runoff problems? Well, they're not getting better. In fact, they might be getting worse. Here's a picture from July:

Heavy rains had washed oil and trash from the lot out one corner and into the grass between the sidewalk and the street, then into the street. There had been a tree at that corner of the grass, but it's long since died and been removed. Gee, I wonder why?

The only oil collection method in that corner are some curb-high white tubes. I sent the above picture to Metro asking what they were doing to reduce the oil runoff but never heard back, so I sent the picture to Arlington's Department of Environmental Services.

Magically, the next day the corner looked like this:

It's a miracle! Everyone stand up and shout hallelujah! The oil-soaked grass had been replaced, the sidewalk had been washed, and you can see new white oil-collecting tubes next to the wheels of the bus.


Worst miracle ever:

The new grass is oil-soaked and trash-covered again. And when the remains of Tropical Storm Hanna come through this weekend, I'm sure the lot will get a nice power-washing -- with the wastewater going right out the corner of the lot into the storm drain, where it will go straight into an Arlington river or stream untreated, like all of Arlington's storm drain runoff.

Metro's feeling seems to be that since the bus lot will shut down anyway in March to make way for a major redevelopment of the block, it's content with what it considers stopgap measures. But as the continuing oil runoff problems show, that gap ain't gettin' stopped. It's up to Arlington DES to decide if and how the problem should be addressed.
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