Officials are trying to determine what caused an estimated 3,000 gallons of gasoline to leak out of an underground tank in the southern Iowa town of Centerville. Workers at a Kum-N-Go convenience store discovered the leak during a routine inspection Wednesday afternoon.
Kathy Lee, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the cleanup will likely involve digging a recovery trench or sump pit. “Our regional field office located in Des Moines will be working with the facility and their environmental contractor closely to make sure the release does not impact the environment,” Lee told Radio Iowa. “Two key things will be recovery of the product and removal of contaminated soil.”
So far, none of the spilled gasoline has been discovered in the city’s sewer system. Lee says it appears the product has stayed in place rather than “migrate” elsewhere. Residents near the station are being told to call 9-1-1 if they smell gasoline in their basements.
The Kum-N-Go store remains open, but the gasoline pumps are shut down and the area around the underground tank is blocked off. Lee says the discovery of and response to gasoline spills is much faster today than 10 or 20 years ago.
“This 3,000 gallons may have gone unnoticed for quite some time in the past, but because of the programs that have been implemented by the E.P.A. and D.N.R., we get on these things much faster and stop the environmental contamination from occurring or at least limit it,” Lee said.