Back in the mid 1990s, the Waterville Fire Department laid out reasons it needed to have a new fire station built. The old Central Station was too small, too unsafe and too expensive to remodel.

Waterville city councilors addressed the need for a new station at that time, and one site in particular was of interest to them. It was a gas station next door to the fire department.

Those plans, however, never took shape at that time because many gas stations had steel underground storage tanks. Many were leaking gas into the ground, and new laws were passed making gas stations replace these old tanks. It was very expensive for many to do soil tests and replace these tanks.

Waterville councilors decided that they did not want to take on the liabilities of possibly contaminated grounds and never went through with those plans.

Today, I ride by the relatively new Waterville Fire Station and see that, not only was it built on the old gas station site, which was considered a bad decision in the ’90s, but that the old Central Station building, which then was unsafe, small and too expensive to rebuild, still stands after being rebuilt.

If I wanted to drill a small hole through the apron in front of the Waterville’s Fire Department doors to test for contaminated soil, I wonder if I would be allowed to do so.

Sometimes when I see things, I just scratch my head and wonder if others see these things. Maybe I’ll wander in to City Hall one day and ask to see the soil tests. I’m sure they would be happy to show me those results.

Mark PantermollerFairfield