The large hole being dug next to the BP station on Van Buren Street is related to long-running efforts to clean up fuel that had leached into the ground from a previous gas station, co-owner Steve Payne said.

The property has several “wells” used to check for contamination every three months. This hole is being dug at the location of the only remaining well that has continued to show contamination, he said.

The work is being done through Indiana’s Excess Liability Trust Fund, which the Paynes pay into as operators of underground petroleum storage tanks, Payne said.

He said he does not know if removing dirt from this final section will result in fewer tests in the future, but he hopes this will help settle some of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s concerns about the property.

Dirt that has been removed from the site is being hauled to a landfill under IDEM specifications for remediation, Payne said.

The Paynes wanted to get the final section taken care of this spring before Chocolate Moose opens in the former Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell building, directly west of the excavation site, Payne said.

The work would have been done some time ago if not for inclement weather, he said.

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.