Leaking Underground Storage Tank in Idyllic Countryside of Gallatin, Tennessee

Planted just 30 miles northeast of Nashville, sits the town of Gallatin, Tennessee, with its idyllic countryside and historic downtown. Once voted the “The Nicest Place in America” by Reader’s Digest, Gallatin was a pivotal location during the American Civil War while also being the home to the seventh president of the United States.

With all the history running down the streets of Gallatin, PM Environmental, a Pinchin Company (PM) was contracted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to perform high-resolution site characterization (HRSC) for multiple sites in downtown Gallatin.  The overall goal of the investigation was to identify previously unknown contaminant sources and determine the extent, if any, of petroleum free product/LNAPL (Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids) or dissolved petroleum constituents.


The town of Gallatin was established in 1802 on the banks of the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States became one of the first to purchase a lot in the town and founded the first general store. During the American Civil War, Gallatin was viewed as a pivotal location due to the railroad which ran east-west through the state and its location to the Cumberland River, both of which the Union and the Confederate forces tried to control.

Downtown Gallatin

Downtown Gallatin, TN

Fast forwarding to 1970, industrialization and urbanizations had resulted in half the county population being considered urban (including suburbs). Today, Gallatin serves in part as a bedroom commuter suburb to the larger city and state capital of Nashville. Several national companies have facilities or headquarters in Gallatin, including Facebook, Gap Inc., Beretta, and Servpro Industries. Gallatin was the former headquarters of Dot Records, with popular artists such as Pat Boone and Jimmy “C” Newman.

For this project, PM used Induced Potential (IP) and Electro Magnetic (EM) Geophysical studies to aid in the sitting and placement of open borehole bedrock wells. Other factors that went into well location were confirmatory soil samples analysis, prior knowledge of the site from TDEC file review, correlation of Near Surface Geophysics (NSGs) electrical resistivity, ease of accessibility on the site, and coordination from PM and TDEF staff.

The total depth of the wells was advanced to at least five feet below the elevation of the known seeps located along Town Creek. Once the wells were installed, down hold geophysics and camera logging were used to look for fracture zones or preferential pathways.

PM then used down hold packer testing to confirm preferential pathways and conducted pressure testing and sampling of those paths. Dye tracing was then conducted from potential source areas as well as specific injection points to determine if there was a connectivity from a source to any impacted seep.

Overall, this project allowed PM to use several assessment techniques to assess potential petroleum source areas which manifested themselves in ground seeps in a residential area. As for the town of Gallatin, it houses more than 40,000 people with nearly 10,000 families residing in the city and is called home to notable figures such as Sondra Locke (actress), Joe Blanton (pitcher for the LA Dodgers) and John Rogan (second tallest verified human being at 8ft, 9 in). The town provides multiple parks and recreational facilities and is the home to the Volunteer State Community College, a two-year public community college.


Project Details

Gallatin, TN

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