It was once just another abandoned gas station in Missouri. The roof had caved in, the property needed cleaned. Like many of these sites, it could have sat vacant for many months or years.

Webb City officials saw potential in the building and instead of watching it slowly deteriorate, wanted to get it back to a productive use. But, there were a few hurdles.

The biggest hurdles were hidden from sight: underground water and soil contamination and six underground storage tanks.

Webb City officials contacted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Tanks Section for advice about how to clean up and redevelop the abandoned gas station. The department helped coordinate the site investigation and the removal of petroleum contamination. Work at the site was funded through the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund, provided by an Environmental Protection Agency grant.

During the cleanup approximately 165 gallons of used motor oil, 32 tons of petroleum contaminated soil and more than 4,000 gallons of impacted water were removed from the site. Six underground storage tanks were also removed.

With the site no longer posing an unacceptable health risk, the city was able to move forward with redeveloping the site.

Webb City officials held a grand opening on Nov. 16 at the redeveloped abandoned gas station that is now a Route 66 Information Center. The center will house a memorabilia museum in the former garage bays and the city’s Chamber of Commerce Offices.  The site will also be used for functions such as historic car shows and a fall festival. 

Abandoned underground storage tanks pose environmental threats and economic development barriers for the redevelopment and reuse of properties. Often, these sites sit vacant for many years, not only being an eyesore for the community but continuing to be a possible environmental threat.

Like with Webb City, the department can help remove these environmental threats and economic barriers at abandoned gas stations or other properties that may have actual or perceived contamination.  

More information about underground storage tanks in Missouri and what the department is doing to prevent and clean up leaks from tanks is available on the Tanks Section's webpage.