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What are those trailers with hoses leading into the ground behind the Forest Hills convenience store?

An air sparge soil vapor extraction system off Market Street near Forest Hills. Photo by Si Cantwell.

Q. What are those small trailers, with hoses leading into the ground, behind the Forest Hills convience store on Market Street and the next property at Market and Kenwood. I am guessing there was some soil contamination at the site and there is some machine cleaning up.

A. The trailers with hoses are called air sparge soil vapor extraction systems, or ASSVEs, according to Liz Berg, a hydrogeologist with the state Division of Water Quality’s underground storage tank division.

“There was a petroleum release years ago at the site, so the groundwater and the soil are contaminated,” Berg said. “These systems are put in place, and there are tubes in the soil and there are also monitoring wells that the tubes go down into. It pushes air into the ground and tries to get the vapors out of the soil, and to pull the gas out of the wells.”

The system, a fairly common mitigation measure, was put in place last summer; Berg said it’s unclear how long it will remain in place.

The petroleum release was first identified in 1993.

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