Thirteen hundred tons of contaminated soil are in the process of being removed from the ground in Patten, at the site of the former general store and gas station.It’s a project to help protect the town’s drinking water.”The tanks were on the other side, there was no contamination there. The contamination is where the gasoline pumps were,” says David McCaskill, a senior environmental engineer with the DEP. He says the soil here, contaminated with gasoline, is being dug up and trucked away to a secure landfill to keep it from reaching the town’s drinking water supply.”The risk here and one of the reasons we picked this site is because the town well is not 600 feet that way. And right now, you’re in their mapped wellhead protection area, the whole town is,” McCaskill says.”There’s a very good chance you’re in the cone of influence for a pumping well, which would draw contamination slowly toward the well,” says Kim Schweisberg, an environmental scientist with the US EPA.She says this week-long project uses about 130-thousand dollars in federal economic stimulus money.”It’s the best use of the money. We’re not only protecting the town’s water supply, but hopefully going to stimulate the economy with work and future use of the property,” Schweisberg says.Town officials say once it’s clean, they hope to see the property redeveloped and sold.Also on the jobsite was a representative from the Maine Rural Water Association, Alex Wong — who says they’re working hard on several projects to keep rural water clean.”Working together on projects like this between state, local and nonprofits, it’s a great example of what can happen when the right things come together.”The DEP says three other former gas station sites in Maine are also being addressed this summer, and more than 200 out-of-service tanks remain in the ground.