The owner of Conch Harbor Marina in Key West is having soil samples tested for possible diesel fuel contamination.
Construction crews were digging 6 feet down in a 12-by-10 foot area in the corner of the marina property on Wednesday when they unearthed soil that smelled of fuel, marina owner Craig Hunt said.
Crews were digging foundations for the new West Marine superstore being built on the corner of Grinnell and Caroline streets.
A Miami engineering firm has been hired to take a sample of the dark soil and run tests, Hunt said.
H.S.A. Engineers and Scientists will determine what the substance is, he said, noting that the property decades ago was home to a Chevron fuel depot.
"If it's anything, it's probably spilled diesel from the '60s," Hunt said. "We're not even sure it's an issue. We wanted to do the right thing."
If the soil is contaminated, Hunt said it would be taken to the mainland and burned, and he would take other steps to clean up the site. The area is sealed off, but the discovery won't stop construction.
"So far it's isolated to one area," he said. "They took a sample. We will follow their lead."