Oil tanks removed without fanfare or decontamination

By Lorraine Briscoe, LJI 

The two remaining 20,000 gallon fuel oil tanks tucked behind 302 chemin Knowlton (between the post office and Le Relais) were removed December 2, 2022 without notice. The site itself has yet to be decontaminated, much as a gas station would be when it closes. 

“The tanks were sold to a corn farmer from St-Grégoire who said he was going to use them to store liquid nitrogen,” said Paul Lavigne, owner of the lot. Given how much fuss was made when the tanks were first installed in 1986, making them 36 years old at the time of their removal, Mr. Lavigne was surprised that their removal failed to attract any attention. 

At the time they were installed the town manager, Raymond Poitras, thought the tanks, an industrial installation, had no business being in the commercial sector of the village and there were concerns from citizens that the tanks posed a fire hazard. The tanks marred the horizon of the town but townspeople seemed to have gotten used to them and stopped noticing them. Lavigne says it is his hope that the town will pay for the decontamination of the property. 

The tanks hadn’t been used since 2019 when Lavigne sold the fuel oil distribution business of Produits Pétroliers Lavigne to Pétroles Coulombe et Fils. Back in 1986 there were six tanks in all. The four smaller ones were sold for scrap after the business was sold.