COVER SIDEBAR- Rusted stuff: Tank farm landmark doomed

Underground oil tanks aren't all that Charlottesville Oil has to scrap. The Department of Environmental Quality has decreed that a battery of empty fuel tanks on Ivy Road must be removed so the petroleum-soaked soil underneath can be cleaned up.

"There's contamination underneath those tanks that needs to be addressed," says David Fitt, senior hydrogeologist at the DEQ. Fitt explains that petroleum has saturated the soil 15 feet down, and he estimates several hundred cubic yards will have to be removed.

The tanks are silent sentries at a mixed-use complex that includes Charlottesville Oil offices, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church/Mission and Bellair Service. Each of the tanks bears a stenciled message: "PERMANETLY CLOSED" [sic].

The oxidizing metal behemoths stand in stark contrast to their environs, which include the leafy golf course of Farmington Country Club and the upscale Ednam Forest neighborhood.

For some, the rusting gas tanks on Ivy Road, also known as Route 250 West, provide welcome relief from the manicured landscape. To others, they're an eyesore. Either way, the DEQ says they have to go.

Mike Jones at Charlottesville Oil confirms that he has received bids to remove the tanks, but he hesitates to say when the removal will happen. "You never know when dealing with contractors," he points out.

The DEQ's Fitt says once he issues an upcoming corrective action order, Charlottesville Oil will have 90 days to get the tanks out of there.

The days of one of Ivy Road's most notable landmarks– the gasoline tanks at Charlottesville Oil– are numbered.