- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Almost four years after the city of Lincoln hauled away about 14,000 cubic yards of dirt contaminated with diesel, city officials say the cleanup and monitoring operations are expected to go on for at least two more years.

The city has still been finding diesel fuel in the ground near Pinnacle Bank Arena, where the contamination was first discovered at the site of a former rail yard, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1z9Yrzh ) Saturday.

The West Haymarket Joint Public Agency has extended the contract with Alfred Benesch & Co. for another year to keep cleaning up the diesel plume north of O Street and to remove contaminants.

The agency, which supervised Pinnacle Bank Arena construction and related developments, increased the Benesch contract by more than $153,000 to $2.46 million during its meeting Tuesday.

The new work includes about $120,000 for further investigation of the environmental contamination and cleanup south of O Street, and about $33,000 for petroleum remediation and monitoring near Canopy Lofts.

Contracts for the environmental investigation and cleanup work now total about $5.8 million, the newspaper reported. The city does not expect the cost of future environmental work to exceed the $7.2 million budgeted for the West Haymarket, said Frank Uhlarik, the city’s compliance administrator.

The city has continued to find diesel, from a few inches to more than 3 feet, in three of the six monitoring wells around Canopy Lofts, a neighboring parking garage and near the arena, based on the most recent quarterly report.

No diesel has been found in the other three wells. City officials believe that petroleum, which once covered at least two city blocks, remains only in a small area, Uhlarik said.

Benesch has been removing the diesel with a vacuum truck and expects to find less diesel contamination over the next year. However, if it does keep finding more diesel, an alternate recovery method may be required, according to the report.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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