State DEP monitors cleanup of Bentley soil |

State DEP monitors cleanup of Bentley soil

Sheila Gardner

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection is monitoring cleanup of a pocket of contaminated soil discovered under the old Minden Creamery Building, now owned by the Bently Nevada Corp.

The contaminated soil was found during analysis of the site as a potential location for Douglas County’s office complex.

“It’s not something we’re really concerned about,” County Manager Dan Holler said Monday. “It’s been there a long period of time and is stable in its location.”

Based on visual analysis and soil samples, Holler said the contamination appeared to be contained in about three cubic yards.

While Bently officials declined Monday to discuss the soil samples, county and Town of Minden officials said the manufacturing firm had been quick to respond.

“This is not something that comes from or involves Bently,” engineer Bruce Scott told Town Board members on Wednesday.

The contaminated soil is near one of Minden’s wells, but Scott said the water supply had not been affected by the soil.

“The town’s concern is that it is so close to Well No. 1, but we have an excellent history. The samples always come back clean. Our well is deep and it does have a surface seal.”

Scott said water samples were taken last week and the results are expected in 10 days.

“Bently has been very cooperative,” Scott said. “I think we’re in good shape.”

Scott said the soil sample contained benzene and methyl tertiary butyl ether which is a gasoline additive to reduce air pollution in cold weather.

“MTBE hasn’t been around for too many years, so this didn’t happen 30 or 40 years ago,” Scott said.

“If the creamery is torn down, that would remediate the problem,” Scott said. “If it is not torn down, then they would have to enclose it. It appears from everything that there is no particular harm.”

“My guess is that Bently will take care of it whether or not the county takes that site,” Holler said. “They will do any remediation or cleanup required.”

James Lukasko, environmental engineer with the Bureau of Corrective Actions for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, said Monday the contamination could be as simple as “cross-contamination” from the Bently parking lot.

“It appears to be gasoline,” he said. “I don’t think anybody has to worry.”

The county has narrowed its search for a new county complex to two sites: the Bently site and an addition to the historic county courthouse. Holler said he expects county commissioners to take up the issue in December or January.

Bently has offered to sell 6.2 acres to Douglas County and build a 50,000-square-foot building for $6.7 million. Expanding the historic courthouse is expected to cost $6.2 million.

Last month, commissioners authorized a study of the Bently site, with a recommendation from commissioner Kelly Kite that the building be reduced to 30,000 square feet which could save the county $2.6 million.