Source of Waterloo Gas Leak Identified
Posted: 11/10/2011

The owner of a Waterloo Kum & Go has discovered the source of a fuel leak that recently released up to 4,000 gallons of unleaded gas into soils near the station.

Cleanup activities are ongoing.  The cleanup contractor estimates about 1,900 gallons of the released fuel has already been recovered.

A contractor suspected a new leak in October during ongoing monitoring and cleanup from a prior leak at 117 East San Marnan Road that occurred in the '90s. A sheen on a nearby, unnamed creek showed up Nov. 4, 2011, indicating fuel in the soil and ground water had surfaced in the stream.

The owner and contractor have worked since Nov. 3 to uncover fuel lines and find the source of the leak. Wednesday they traced it to a puncture in an 80-foot long fill line used to fill the regular unleaded gas storage tank.

The DNR is requiring testing of the repaired line and two other fuel lines in the area. The station will also be required to assess and monitor the effectiveness of their cleanup and report progress to the DNR. 

“Once petroleum is released into the environment, it can be quite difficult to recover,” said Ruth Hummel, DNR’s regional coordinator for leaking tank sites. “Petroleum can contaminate ground water and drinking water in wells. 

“The release of a volatile petroleum product such as gasoline can also produce vapors which can enter sewers or basements,” she added. “When the vapor concentrations are highest right after a release, they pose a risk for fire or explosions.  That is why it is important to respond quickly to petroleum releases and to monitor conditions closely during cleanup activities. Longer term risks to public health are associated with breathing the lingering vapors.”

The DNR is asking the operator/owner to provide more information about the cause and source of the release, and will watch the site closely.

For more information contact Ruth Hummel at 515-281-8997 or Ruth.Hummel@dnr.iowa.gov.