July 18, 2013
Yadkin County commissioners voted Monday to unanimously to rescind one company’s contract and grant it to another company.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to rescind the contract with Cedar Rock Environmental and instead enter into a contract with Carolina Environmental Specialists of Boonville. The county talked to both companies concerning the contaminated soil around an old oil tank that was underground between the old jail’s kitchen and the EMS station.
“Cedar Rock was the first company we sought out, and the reason we sought them out was because at the old jail we were putting up, we were going to renovate the outside and they started digging around and found an old oil tank. Any time you find an oil tank and someone claims they smell oil you have to test it and remediate it and notify the state, etc.,” County Manager Aaron Church told the board. “So we notified the state shortly after that and I don’t remember them saying a whole lot at that time other than we needed to hire somebody to help us.”
Church said the county contacted Cedar Rock, which said the company would do $18,000 to $19,000 worth of work.
Cedar Rock said the county would only have to pay $3,000 “because their is some fund, “super fund,” at the state level that when you pay fees for having these tanks and you have to remove these tanks they come back and reimburse you,” Church said.
“Because Cedar Rock seemed to be so on top of everything, knew what was going on, this is basically all they did, I asked the board in a meeting or two ago if they would go ahead and approve this contract so we could move forward with getting the oil tank taken up,” Church said.
At the same time as the quote was given from Cedar Rock contact was made with Carolina Environmental, a company the county has dealt with before.
“In the interim Carolina Environmental went out there and tested it, because before we were going to enter into the big contract with Cedar Rock we wanted to see if there was actually oil there,” Church said.
“Well, that’s not the case,” Church said. “It was contaminated with oil, which is not unusual because it’s a big tank and it’s probably been there for 40 or 50 years.”
The oil has been drained and is empty now except a little that may remain, according to Church.
Carolina wanted the contract, but Church told them the county was going to use Cedar Rock instead because dealing with issues like this are the company’s sole practice.
Carolina told Church that Cedar Rock and the state could not refund the county for the tank.
When Church began looking into the issue he found a state regulation that only allows reimbursement for commercial tanks that have paid a fee for that tank to the state prior to the claim.
Church said Yadkin did not register the tank or pay a fee for it, and another tank the county had has not paid its fee since 2005 and was taken out in 2009.
“What that likely means is we’re not going to get reimbursed, which means had we signed that contract with Cedar Rock we would have, in the fine print, had to go back and pay Cedar Rock for the premium charge of them taking on the risk,” Church said.
The board had given Church the authority to sign the contract with Cedar Rock, but he had not signed yet.
Church said the new information coupled with Carolina’s hard work and investigation into the matter caused him to submit the company for the new contract.
Commissioners heard the details of the changes in contract and voted to approve the Carolina Environmental contract instead of entering into a deal with Cedar Rock.
Church said no real punishment is likely to occur because the administration that oversees the fees and registration is not set up to punish governments.
He said the county would still try to pay the outstanding fees in hopes of getting reimbursed.
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